Oklahoma-Florida: Fascinating Facts Heading into the BCS National Title Game

Jeff WilliamsAnalyst IJanuary 8, 2009

With kickoff of the BCS Championship Game less than 17 hours away, we thought we’d share one more compendium of fascinating facts, stats, and nuggets for the season finale. Most of this info was provided courtesy of the fine folks at Sooners Gameday.

* Expect Florida to have the home field advantage tonight. According to the Miami Herald, only four percent of BCS tickets from StubHub were shipped to Oklahomans, compared with 57 percent sold to Florida residents. (link)

* The Detroit News confirms that Oklahoma will be at a distinct disadvantage at Dolphin Stadium tonight in terms of fan support. After all, the Gators have 13 players from the Miami area. (link)

* Oklahoma has the most victories and highest winning percentage of any major program since World War II. Florida’s not in the top 10 in either category, with most of its success coming in the last two decades. (Palm Beach Post)

* According to Jeff Sagarin, Oklahoma had the eighth-toughest schedule in the country, while Florida faced the 19th-toughest. (link)

* The Sooners stand alone nationally in producing four 100-win coaches: Bob Stoops, Barry Switzer, Bud Wilkinson, and Bennie Owen. The Gators can only boast one with that many wins at Florida (Steve Spurrier), though Urban Meyer is off to a pretty good start. (link)

* Dick Weiss of the NY Daily News traces the origin of Oklahoma’s motto for this season, "Win the Last Game," to a post-bowl game comment by West Virginia quarterback Pat White in January 2008, after his team manhandled Oklahoma.

It is possible to rationalize three of Oklahoma’s four BCS defeats. It’s no disgrace to lose to LSU in a game played just 60 miles from the Tigers’ Baton Rouge campus and with quarterback Jason White injured. In the other ones, USC was simply better and in the Boise State game, the Broncos won by scoring a two-point conversion on a trick play. The end came when quarterback Jared Zabransky faked a pass to the right side while holding the ball behind his back with his left hand. When the OU defense shifted, running back Ian Johnson took the ball from behind Zabransky and ran untouched into the end zone.

But there was no excuse for the meltdown against West Virginia, a Big East team that should have been in disarray after coach Rich Rodriguez abandoned it for Michigan. The Mountaineers savaged the Sooners’ defense, rushing for 349 yards, even though star running back Steve Slaton did not play.

"We were a little more hungry than they were," West Virginia quarterback Pat White said. There were whispers of too much partying on the part of the Sooners. Stoops pasted White’s telling words on a banner in the OU locker room before this season.

Oklahoma senior All-American safety Nic Harris went one step further, declaring the Sooners’ motto for this year would be "WTLG: Win the Last Game." (link)

* The best argument I found to bet on Oklahoma tonight came from the "Upon Further Review" blog on KansasCity.com. They are picking the Sooners to win by three points.

Here’s their logic: Oklahoma has played six BCS ranked teams and Florida has played three BCS ranked teams. Oklahoma’s six opponents are ranked No. 3, No. 7, No. 11, No. 12, No. 13, and No. 21. Florida’s three opponents are ranked No. 4, No. 15, and No. 25. Not only has OU been tested more often against stronger competition, but they have fared better. Oklahoma is +24 ppg against their six BCS ranked opponents, while Florida is +16 ppg against theirs. That’s the ultimate bottom line. OU by 3. (link)

* When it comes to "settling matters on the field," it doesn’t matter who wins the BCS Title game tonight. It’s already been settled on the field. Your real national champion is Tulane, according to King Kauffman of Salon.com. Kauffman postulates that, "there’s a direct line of losing from both teams in the BCS Championship Game to Tulane. That’s what makes Tulane, last seen losing 45-6 to Memphis, your 2008 national champion."

Tulane only won two games all season, and finished the year with a 2-10 record. However, Tulane beat Louisiana-Monroe, which beat Troy, which beat Middle Tennessee, which beat Maryland, which beat Wake Forest, which beat Ole Miss, which not only beat Florida but also beat Texas Tech, which beat Texas, which beat Oklahoma. (link)