Punch, Counterpunch: DeMarco Murray Out, Dan Mullen in for the BCS Championship

Michael OleszekAnalyst IDecember 17, 2008

Earlier this month, the SEC Championship game was compared to one of the legendary Ali-Frazier fights. The BCS Championship hasn't quite hit that hype level yet, but it is starting to get there.

First, it was whether or not Oklahoma deserved to play in the Big 12 Championship. Then, it was whether or not Florida deserved to play for the BCS Championship. Awards season hit, and then it was Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow competing for various awards, with Bradford taking the Heisman Trophy.

Now, it will be the absence of Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray countered by the presence of Miss. State head coach/Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen. Both of these guys will add another X-factor to a football game already full of them.

There is no doubt that Murray will be missed. He is the Sooners' second-leading rusher and was a sufficient weapon in the passing game as well. With Murray out, most likely Mossis Madu will slide into the No. 2 running back slot behind Chris Brown.

Madu isn't the type of playmaker that Murray is, but he should provide enough of a relief whenever Brown comes out of the game. Oklahoma has a number of other playmakers that will pick up any slack, should there be any.

The absence of Murray should also be a wake-up call for the Florida defense. They cannot afford to slack now that they only have to deal with one 1,000-yard running back. Madu is good enough to start at most schools. Florida's defense should still prepare to face an outstanding offense.

Plus, Murray missed most of the Big 12 Championship, and both Brown and Madu gutted Missouri by going over 100 yards with three touchdowns apiece.