Surprise! Oklahoma, Georgia Tech Will Shock College Football, Play for BCS Title
Simply put, not picking the Florida Gators to repeat as National Champions in 2009 is stupid.
Fresh off their third national championship in a 13-1, truly dominating 2008 season, they're already poised for another national title run with Mr. Tim "Superman" Tebow under center leading, orchestrating, and encouraging the offense.
The Gators' schedule this year is easier than 2008, with the only tests being an Oct. 10 matchup at LSU, an Oct. 31 showdown versus Georgia in Jacksonville, and the intrastate rivalry game against Florida State in "The Swamp" to end the regular season.
LSU is not as dominant now as they have been in recent years, Georgia is Matthew Stafford-less, and the Seminoles are still a year away from being a true threat in the national title scene.
SEC matchups against Tennessee, Arkansas, and South Carolina should not pose much of a threat either.
Of course, Florida's only loss against Mississippi last season did come as a surprise, but it obviously did not keep them from playing for the heralded trophy come January.
So, if they're running through the regular season unscathed, how do they miss the national title game?
There is nothing quite like a late-season loss in your conference championship game to ruin a season. A stunning last-second defeat to Alabama or Mississippi in the SEC Championship this season will keep the Gators on the outside looking in.
Not to worry, Gator Nation, you'll still easily make a BCS bowl berth and will probably even get the opportunity to pick on the Buckeyes from Ohio State once again.
But who will take Florida's place in the BCS National Championship Game?
That answer may surprise you.
Although the Oklahoma Sooners start off the season ranked third in both the Associated Press and USA Today polls, the Florida versus Texas pick for the national title game seems to be the popular prediction.
Not so fast my friends.
It's dangerous to pick against a Sooners team led by head coach Bob Stoops and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Sam Bradford, especially when they're seeking to avenge not only their 10-point defeat to the national champion Gators, but also their other 10-point loss last season against their Red River Rivalry buddy in the Texas Longhorns.
How many times this decade alone has Oklahoma been the team to beat all year long, only to fall short at season's end?
That fire has been ignited and burning for several years now, and last season only stoked it more, finally making it ready for this season's feast.
Yes, Oklahoma controversially beat out Colt McCoy and the Longhorns to play in the BCS title game last season, sparking Texas' own desire for revenge this year. However, Texas will join the likes of Florida and Ohio State come season's end, finding out what other BCS bowl they will play in.
As for the Sooners' regular season, tough matchups versus Brigham Young in the season opener, at Kansas in October, at Nebraska, at Texas Tech, and versus Oklahoma State in November will prove tough competition, but they will not knock down "Boomer Sooner" this year.
That will lead the way to a dominant Big 12 title game victory and a win against their surprise competitor in the BCS Championship.
As for that unseen, unpopular pick to play the Sooners, where on Earth will they be coming from?
Although Lou Holtz's recent biased pick for Notre Dame to find total resurgence and play for the national title game in 2009 raised eyebrows all across the nation, mine may do much of the same, especially since my pick calls the ACC home.
No team from the ACC has played for the national title since Florida State defeated Michael Vick's Virginia Tech Hokies 46-29 in 1999.
Remember that when the Miami Hurricanes played in consecutive title games in 2001 and 2002, winning against Nebraska and then losing to Ohio State, they were still part of the Big East Conference.
This year, finally, the ACC will proudly display one of their 12 universities in the very last game of the college football season.
But it will still lose.
When Paul Johnson took over at Georgia Tech last season after leaving the Navy Midshipmen, he brought the spread-option offense with him, leading the Yellow Jackets to a surprising 9-4 record and a Chick-fil-A Bowl appearance.
With his starters returning, Georgia Tech is set to run through their schedule without much trouble. Tougher matchups versus North Carolina in late September, at Florida State and versus Virginia Tech in October, and at home against intrastate rival Georgia to end the regular season will not down the Jackets this season.
Instead, it will take them to a victory in the ACC Championship Game, setting up two undefeated programs for the BCS National Championship Game as other one-loss teams fall just short.
Final Prediction: Oklahoma beats Georgia Tech 44-24.
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