Sugar Bowl 2013: Breaking Down Potential Florida vs. Oklahoma Matchup

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIDecember 1, 2012

Could Landry Jones stand up to the vaunted Florida defense in a potential Sugar Bowl matchup?
Could Landry Jones stand up to the vaunted Florida defense in a potential Sugar Bowl matchup?Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Bob Stoops' 11th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners appear destined for a Sugar Bowl BCS showdown with the gritty No. 4 Florida Gators—a rematch of the 2009 national title game.

Even if the Sooners weren't able to finagle their way to a road victory at TCU on Saturday, it would still take a Kansas State loss later in the evening to win the Big 12 outright. But assuming that doesn't happen, a trip to the Superdome to square off against their SEC foe seems imminent.

As far as how the game breaks down, something will ultimately have to give between the stout Florida defense and the Sooners' explosive passing game, led by senior QB and four-year starter Landry Jones.

In fact, Jones had an historic day against the Horned Frogs on Saturday, as ESPN Stats & Info noted on Twitter:

With 2 TD passes in the 1st half, Landry Jones passed Ty Detmer for 5th most in FBS history (122). Colt Brennan next with 131. #OUvsTCU

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 1, 2012

It's difficult to put a finger on just how good this Oklahoma team is, though. It has been somewhat of a down year for the Big 12 conference, especially with the shocking blowout loss by former No. 1 Kansas State to Baylor.

But only a five-point loss to the Wildcats and a home letdown to the top-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish have put blemishes on the Sooners' record this year.

Making this matchup more intriguing is how enigmatic the Gators themselves have been over the past month. Really awful-looking home victories over lowly Missouri and the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns followed a crushing loss to Georgia.

Even a 23-0 win over FCS opponent Jacksonville State wasn't resounding. But Will Muschamp—whose team has responded to the coach's urging to overcome adversity (h/t Yahoo! Sports)—rallied his physically punishing team for last week's game against a much more notorious in-state opponent.

The Gators went to Tallahassee and took down archrival Florida State convincingly, 37-26, which included a 24-6 fourth quarter and five forced turnovers.

One thing is for sure: Florida can run the ball and stop the run with the best in the country. That's a typical trademark of a championship-caliber football team.

Unfortunately for Oklahoma fans, the Sooners defense is 86th in the nation against the run. And it could have trouble stopping dual-threat Gators QB Jeff Driskel and senior running back Mike Gillislee. Even the Seminoles' statistically stellar defense couldn't prevent Florida from racking up 244 yards on the ground.

Damien Williams will need to give a big effort to help Jones balance the offense, and powerful running backup quarterback Blake Bell could provide a nice change of pace, taking some snaps in the shotgun.

It's really hard to go against the SEC in this situation, though, given the criticism that Stoops has justifiably endured for not winning big games. Since winning the 2000 national championship, the Sooners are just 2-5 in BCS bowls.

This is uncharted territory for Muschamp, who is in his second year at the helm in Gainesville. That said, expect his bunch to continue overcoming adversity—something the Sooners haven't done very well all year—and emerge victorious should this matchup take place.