BCS Championship Game
Florida Gators vs Oklahoma Sooners
Thursday 8 PM FOX
Line: Florida -4 (open -3)
This will be the last college football game of the 2008 season and it should be a good one. The Florida Gators, champions of the SEC, meet the Oklahoma Sooners, champions of the Big 12 for 2008 BCS Championship. Both schools will be going for their second BCS title and one of these coaches will be the first coach to win two BCS Championships.
I thought about doing keys for each team, but then I realized they are pretty much the same. Yesterday, I proposed three questions for both Florida and Oklahoma to answer if they want to win Thursday night. The two biggest by far I think are how well Sam Bradford plays coming off the Heisman Banquet circuit and how in sync Florida's offense is with OC Dan Mullen having pulled double duty the last month after accepting the Miss State head job.
1. Sam Bradford vs Tim Tebow
The last two Heisman winners square off for the BCS Championship and their play will go a long way to determining their team's sucess. Both offenses revolve around their QBs making plays. The track record for Heisman winners in bowl games is pretty poor as of late though. Last year, Tebow struggled against Michigan in a loss. The year before Troy Smith was swallowed up by the Gators defense. In 2003 Jason White of Oklahoma succomb to the LSU Tigers and 2001 winner Eric Crouch was pummelled by Miami. Also, in general the team with the better QB play has won like LSU vs Ohio State last year and Vince Young's triumph for the 2005 title.
2. Pass Rush
Both of these teams have prolific offenses, especially the Sooners with six straight games scoring 58 points or more. But as we saw in the Ole Miss/Texas Tech and Utah/Alabama games, pressure on the QB disrupts even the best offenses. The defense that can dial up the blitz and get pressure on the QB has a significant advantage. On the season, Oklahoma ranked 3rd nationally with 40 sacks while the Gators were 25th with 32 sacks. Florida sacks opponent QBs once every 13 passes while Oklahoma does it every 12.5 passes.
These teams rank one and two in turnover margin. With such an even matchup of talent and coaching, the team that can get turnovers and turn them into points gains a huge advantage.
We will just bypass this section for this bowl game. No need to discuss any motivation edge because there is none.
I think this one could be a classic on the order of USC-Texas back in 2005 with two top QBs going head to head. Florida should have a home field advantage playing in Miami, but I don't expect it to have a factor like LSU last year in New Orleans. So far in the bowl games, high powered offenses have had trouble in bowl games most likely due to the long layoff and defenses have dominated. The Gators have the better defense of the two teams.
However, not having their offensive coordinator's full attention during the bowl preparation could be a hindrance for Florida. But mostly, I really do not like how Heisman Trophy winners have performed in their bowl games as of late. I think Tebow has completely backed up his words after the Ole Miss loss and will finish off a late Florida drive for the go ahead score.
Florida 33 Oklahoma 28
Florida Covers -4
Bowls: 7-8 ATS, 6-9 SU
Season: 38-38-3 ATS, 47-32 SU
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