#2-West Oklahoma (14-2) vs. #6-East Florida (13-3)
Wednesday, Jan. 2, 8:15 ET
I get to see what Matt, Dan and the Joker say about each game before I compile my write-up. The advantages of being the owner of a site and creator of the greatest postseason in all of sports.
Unfortunately, after reading whom the three analysts selected, I discovered my pick was worthless. I cried for hours. Seriously.
I do agree with what Matt said though; Oklahoma's defensive speed can actually somewhat neutralize Tim Tebow. And as the Joker pointed out, Florida's stop unit isn't as good as the Sooners'. I like the Sooners to win the real national championship.
And for future reference, I'm going to refer to Oklahoma as the 2007 national champions on this site.
Oklahoma 31, Florida 17.
The Joker's Take:
(The Joker's work speaks for itself. Check out The Joker Report
to read some great college football analysis.)
Coming from a fan of defensive backs, I think this matchup is where the game is decided.
Everybody knows Florida has the Heisman winner Tim Tebow and Bubba Caldwell and Percy Harvin, but ask your SEC friends who they have on defense. They might be able to name Derrick Harvey or Tony Joiner, but after that it's a crapshoot.
On the other hand, ask a Big XII fan who Oklahoma has on defense, and they'll name Curtis Lofton, OU's linebacker whom I believe won Big XII defensive player of the year, and then immediately spout off names in their secondary like Reggie Smith, DJ Wolfe, Nic Harris, Lendy Holmes, etc.
Where am I going with this? Well, Oklahoma has a pass defense and Florida doesn't. And that's where, like I said above, this game will be decided. Granted, Oklahoma's 67th-ranked pass defense isn't something to brag about; they do have playmakers and Bob Stoops uses his safeties better than anyone in the game (not to mention Florida hasn't played many Texas Techs lately). Florida's pass defense is awful considering they're among the SEC "elite," ranking 87th. Not only are they mostly young, the veterans like Joiner aren't exactly a pool of talent Urban Meyer is used to having. And with Sam Bradford setting freshman records for passing touchdowns, that spells trouble. Stoops will push and pull his safeties in and out of zone and man coverage, in and out of run stopping or pass defense, blitz one side or pull them all back, and for once, Tebow will have no answer.
I see Oklahoma winning by at least 10, jumping out to a comfortable lead and ramming the ball down the Gators' throats with Patrick, Brown, and Murray in the 4th quarter, leading coach Meyer and his Heisman winner down the path of humility and focusing more on getting better talent on defense in the coming years. Coach Stoops has been in the big games more often than Meyer, and will remain the big dog of coaches - at least for the time being. And once again, the old maxim holds true: defense wins championships.
Oklahoma 42, Florida 24.
Matt McGuire's Take:
(Matt McGuire is a University of Kentucky student and a contributor to this Web site. His knowledge in college football, the NFL and the draft is very extensive.)
It really doesn't shock me to see Florida voted into the title game because Tim Tebow won the Heisman. But you look at their defense which is a model for the word "consistency," and there is no way they would be here. Oklahoma's defense has been consistent. Their offense has been consistent. They are a very talented team on both sides of the ball and they are hard to stop. They have the speed on defense to neutralize the spread option.
Oklahoma 27, Florida 20.
NCAA Dan's Take:
(NCAA Dan is a Boston native and a geographer for the U.S. Census Bureau, who wrote for this Web site back in 2001 and 2002, when it was in its infancy.)
Everyone knows how good Florida's offense is. We know the Gators can rack up yardage and score touchdowns through the air with the combination of offensive guru Urban Meyer and his Heisman Trophy-winning signal caller Tim Tebow. In fact, Florida averaged 43 points per game this season, and did this against some of the better defenses in college football in the SEC.
The college-football world knows that Bob Stoops is a brilliant defensive mind, and has built championship-caliber teams with defense and a great running game in the past. But what most people may not realize is that Oklahoma averaged more points per game than Florida did this year (43.4 to 43.1), and nearly matched Florida's offensive output in yardage for 2007.
Despite losing three conference games this year, we know that Florida is battle tested from playing a difficult SEC schedule and from a national title run last season. But the Sooners have equally as impressive a resume, knocking off Texas and beating Missouri twice this season. Oklahoma was anxious to show the world that beating Missouri the first time was not a fluke when they whipped the Tigers in the Big 12 Championship. I expect the Sooners to bring the same intensity to this game that they showed against Mizzou, and their offensive firepower will prove too much for Florida's defense to handle. Look for a pretty entertaining and high-scoring game, but in the end I like Oklahoma to capture the title here.
Oklahoma 34, Florida 27.
The tool I use to run polls is currently malfunctioning. Luckily, the poll wouldn't have mattered this week.
Oklahoma 34, Florida 22 (average score of the four analysts)