Alabama SI Cover Tournament: Derrick Henry vs. Too Much Bama

Christopher Walsh

In a way, it's a very fitting matchup in the second of four regional finals in the Alabama SI Cover Tournament.

Heisman trophy winning running back Derrick Henry against the 2011 national champions, led by one of the best defenses in college football history. 

Although Henry had a spectacular collegiate career, he never graced a regular weekly cover of Sports Illustrated, only being on the displayed on the front of the 2015 college football preview.

BamaCentral is holding a 48-field single-elimination tournament to determine the best Alabama Sports Illustrated cover.

Vote on Twitter (@BamaCentral) or Facebook (@AlabamaonSI). The voting goes 24 hours for each matchup and the result added to the original post on BamaCentral.

Joe Namath Regional Final

Game 41: Derrick Henry vs. Too Much Bama 

Power Broker: Derrick Henry Will Run You Over

Sports Illustrated cover Derrick Henry, 2015 college football playoff, Dec. 24, 2015

Story headline: Maximum Impact

Subhead: No back gets more mileage out of brute force than Alabama junior Derrick Henry, who hits the hole like a freight train as he reduces some of the most hallowed rushing records to dust

Excerpt (by Andy Staples): Bobby Ramsey saw the look every day at practice for four seasons. The Yulee (Fla.) High coach also saw it on Friday nights in the fall. Now he sees it when he watches Alabama play. The look, Ramsay says, mixes a hint of fear with heaps of resignation and a trace of dread. No matter whether the player is bound for the NFL or the LSAT, would-be tacklers all appear the same when 6'3", 242-pound junior Derrick Henry takes a handoff and hits the hole: Their shoulders slump, faces sag and bodies tense in anticipation of the collision to come.

"It's more like thrusting yourself into something you know is going to be unpleasant, but you do it anyway," says Ramsay, who coached Henry from 2009 to '12. "Then you're hanging on for dear life. Then you're going back to the huddle thinking, I have to do that again?"

Ramsay knows this look well because three years before Henry broke Herschel Walker's 34-year-old SEC single-season rushing record with 1,986 yards—and counting—to become a Heisman Trophy finalist, he finished his Yulee career with 12,212, crushing Ken (the Sugar Land Express) Hall's 59-year-old national high school mark. Ramsay also knows how a Henry run feels because he stood directly behind the linebackers when the Hornets did full-contact running drills. "The only thing I can equate it to," Ramsay says, "is standing on the sidewalk and a jeep goes by doing 40."

Too Much Bama

Alabama vs. LSU Sports Illustrated cover, Jan. 16, 2012, Too Much Bama

Story headline: Absolutely Alabama

Subhead: In a defensive tour de force that featured just enough offensive punch (a touchdown, at last!), the Crimson Tide shut down LSU and left no doubt as to whom should be crowned national champion

Excerpt (by Austin Murphy): Alabama's 14th national championship, its second in three years, did more than remove the sting of that home loss to the Tigers on Nov. 5. The title was a balm and a gift to the thousands of residents of Alabama who lost property and loved ones in the tornadoes that ripped through the state on April 27. "This isn't a win just for us, but this is a win for Tuscaloosa and all of Alabama," said a teary Carson Tinker, the team's long snapper, who was with his girlfriend, Ashley Harrison, when she was swept up by a twister and thrown roughly 100 yards. Harrison died, her neck broken. "We've been through so much this year, and I'm at a loss for words to describe what I feel. Just happy."

BCS to the U.S.A.: You're welcome!

This, after all, was the matchup the entire nation clamored to see—with the exception of the roughly 80% of Americans who don't live in a state with an SEC school and don't affix, for instance, Bulldogs or Gators or Razorbacks magnets to their car doors. We've seen this movie before, went the thinking among non-SEC types, who pointed out that Alabama already had a crack at the Tigers and lost in the so-called Game of the Century, which was renamed upon its conclusion Field Goal Fest '11.

Among those eager for the rematch was SEC commissioner Mike Slive, who could rest assured, once the title game pairing was announced, that his conference was guaranteed its sixth straight national championship. (The bad news: An SEC team was now sure to lose in the title game for the first time in the 14-year history of the BCS.)

Result

Too Much Bama def. Derrick Henry, 72.1-27.9 percent

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