Wednesday, January 07, 2009

College Football Pick'em: We're Talking BCS Championship

Alright after what felt like three years, we have finally reached the BCS Championship game. Unfortunately the amount of time between the conclusion of the regular season, and the actual playing of the championship tends to put a damper on the whole thing. Especially when you consider that historically the BCS Championship game had ended up being a blowout the majority of the time. Nonetheless, we are ignoring all of that, and this year’s BCS Championship game will be something special.

The 2009 BCS Championship is one of the best match ups we have seen all season, while remaining one of the most controversial games we have seen in some time. This will definitely go down as one of the years where the BCS did not get it right. Nonetheless, the Oklahoma Sooners, are poised to take on the Florida Gators for all the marbles, and if your teams was not invited to the dance, tough.

Florida Gators fans have taken a liking to calling Gainesville title town for several years now. And with the way the Gators have performed on the football field as of late, Title town is an accurate description for what they have accomplished. It was only two years ago, that Florida traveled across the country with a senior quarterback and a freshmen sensation, and blew out Ohio State, to win a National Championship. Now two years later, the Florida Gators are itching to get their hands back on the National Championship.

Everyone is aware of Florida’s big weapon Tim Tebow. If you don’t know who Tebow is by this time, then you obviously have not watched any college football over the past two years. There is no doubt in my mind that Tim Tebow is one of if not the best college football player that I have ever watched during my lifetime. He may not be the most polished quarterback of all time, but he has enough of the right tools to get the job done. Tebow stands 6’6 and weighs in at about 260 pounds this means he will match up size wise with many of the Oklahoma defenders. This makes him a threat when he takes off to run, which is something Tebow is very prone to do. Florida Gators coach Urban Myers likes to use multiple sets, and looks to create the matchups that favor his team the best. Tim Tebow has come a long way since his first appearance in a national title game when he was a freshman. The biggest changes have come in Tebow’s development as a passing quarterback. Urban Myers realizes that, and this is why Myers’ will put Tebow on the move, and give him plenty of opportunities to choose between the run and the pass. The Florida Gators will have another dangerous weapon at their disposal come game time in receiver Percy Harvins. The All-American wide out has missed time this season with injuries, including missing the SEC Championship game with a hurt ankle. Reports are indicating that Harvin’s is feeling like he is at 90% which is pretty damn good. Percy Harvin gives Florida a boost in their passing game with his obvious talent as a receiver. In addition, he is an amazing threat in the running game, with the efficiency that Florida runs the receiver option with. Finally Harvin’s is also a threat in the return game where he is a very dangerous kick returner.

With all the offensive numbers the Gators put up, what is often over looked is their stellar defense. The Florida Gators are only giving up 12.8 points a ball game this year. The only team that has shown any measure of success against the Gators defense was Alabama during the SEC Championship. Alabama was able to use their massive offensive line to push the Gators back. However, Florida was able to adjust to what Alabama was doing, and in the fourth quarter when it mattered the Gators were able to make the key stops to halt the Crimson Tide. The Gators defense will have their hands full when they take on the Oklahoma Sooners. They have never seen an offense quite like this one. However, the Gators defense does have one thing going for them, since they have watched Tim Tebow and company in practice every day this season; they have become accustomed to playing at a high tempo, and facing a unit that can hurt you both on the ground and in the air. This will play in Florida’s favor when they match up against Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Sooners seemingly find their way to the national title game every two to three years. However, they have only gone home the winners once, and that victory feels like a lifetime ago (hell I was in high school then). Since that time Oklahoma and head coach Bob Stoops have garnered a reputation for being choking artiest in the big game.

The Oklahoma Sooners offense has been devastating this season. Sam Bradford and company set a NCAA record by putting up over 700 points this season. Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy this year, and while some say he did not deserve the award, there is no doubt that the numbers Bradford put up just crazy numbers. He topped the 300 yard mark in all but two games this season. The two times he failed to reach to the 300 yard mark was when Sam Bradford was pulled from the game early when Oklahoma was up by 50 points at halftime. In addition, the Oklahoma office has been very balanced this year. The Sooners were able to chew up yardage on the ground this season by utilizing a powerful rushing attack. Granted that ground attack has taken a major setback with the injury to DeMarco Murray, but the Sooners still have an arsenal of running backs that can step in and provide a life on offense. What they are missing with Murray out is the one universal back that can block, run, and catch. This will tip the Sooners hand a bit more when they are on offense.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Sooners appear to be a very good team. They played extremely well against Texas Tech and against Missouri in the Big 12 Championship game. The problem however is it is difficult to gage how good a defense is when they are playing in the offense happy Big 12. The Sooners will have their hands full against the Gators. The only offense they have faced all season that is even close to what they will face on Thursday is the Texas offense. But even Texas does not have the speed at the skill positions those Florida posses. The key for the Sooners will be their defensive line. The Oklahoma front line will need to control the line of scrimmage; this will keep Tebow in check. They cannot allow Tebow to move around in the pocket and create time. The Oklahoma Sooners cannot keep pace with the Florida wide outs for long periods of time.

The spread on this game is actually moving against the sooners and growing quickly. The spread was sitting at three points on Monday and it has grown to four and a half points since by Wednesday, and by Thursday evening it reached 6 points in Florida's favor. I find this pretty surprising, and it definitely will affect how I pick this game. As a fan, my heart wants to see the Oklahoma Sooners get over the hump and come up with a victory. However, the Florida defense is telling me, that chances are, that will not happen. Florida is too fast adn too strong in their front seven to allow Oklahoma to put up the big stats they are accustomed to. This is why I am saying Florida wins the game, but I am going out on a limb and picking Oklahoma to cover the now six point spread.


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