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Daily Whimsy (1/5) - Why Florida Will Beat OU
Florida CB Joe Haden
From Joe Haden and the defense, to the suddenly overrated Big 12, to the lag time between the end of the season and now, here are 10 Reasons Why Florida Will Win The National Title in the January 5th Daily Whimsy.
Fiu's Daily Cavalcade of
10 Reasons Why Florida Will Win ... Jan. 5
Frank Costanza's Festivus Airing of the Grievances ... or the obvious attempt to keep readers coming to the site on a
regular basis during the off-season.
What's your beef? ... Fire
Past Whimsies: Tuesday -
The Andre Smith suspension
NFL Mock Draft (top 10
Holiday Wish List For All
Chizik, Gill, & the Race
Why Paterno isn't too old
10 Reasons Why Oklahoma
If today's blurb sucks, it’s not my fault
... I have no chance to win because now Tebow is allegedly even more
motivated because he came in third in the Heisman voting.
The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
Ten reasons why Florida will win the national title.
10. The time off ... part one
There's a long, long, looooong time between the end of the
regular season and the BCS Championship Game. It's been over a month
since Florida and Oklahoma each won their respective conference title
games, and while that allows time for some players to heal, and overall
the time off is normally a positive, it can also cool off the hot team.
Florida beat Alabama in a war, while Oklahoma coasted over the second
half of its season and rolled over Missouri. If this game was played on
December 13th, a week after the conference title games, then Oklahoma
would still have all the pistons firing. However, the practice time
still doesn't take the place of live action, and while the Sooners are
taking a different attitude for this year's bowl, it's impossible to
replicate the timing. If OU's timing is just a wee bit off, it could
9. The time off ... part two
Which coaching staff would you rather have with a month to prepare?
Oklahoma's offense isn't a gimmick in any way; it's really that good.
However, it's one thing to have a week to try to figure out what the
Sooners are doing, and it's another to have a whole month to come up
with new wrinkles to confuse and confound. Few offenses were hotter than
Georgia Tech's at the end of the regular season, but the rushing attack
wasn't nearly as precise against LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, with the
Tigers having a lot to do with that. Ole Miss had a month to prepare for
Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl, and its defense came through fine. A
month off allows the Florida coaches to come up with a few extra
wrinkles and allows time to find more trends and tendencies. Just ask
the Ohio State team that got shut down cold by the Gators in the 2007
BCS Championship Game.
8. The Big 12
The SEC has had its big-time down moments this bowl season (South
Carolina vs. Iowa and Alabama vs. Utah), and the Texas showdown against
Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl is tonight, but for the most part, the Big
12 has had a rough post-season. As it turns out, the South really might
not play any defense as Texas Tech couldn't handle Ole Miss in the
Cotton and Oklahoma State got rolled over by Oregon in the Holiday.
Considering how poor Missouri looked in the Alamo Bowl against a
Northwestern team with far less talent, the Big 12 might not be quite
what everyone thought it was. Of course, Nebraska was strong against
Clemson in the Gator and Kansas blew out Minnesota in the Insight, and
OU had no problems beating either of those two, so there's no reason to
dog the Big 12 too much, but it's just possible that the league really
can't play any defense.
7. Heisman winners and the No. 1 team
Never mess with a streak. For whatever reason, be it the extra
motivation, the extra distractions, getting fat and lazy on the rubber
chicken circuit, etc., Heisman winners struggle in bowl games and the
No. 1 team usually has a big problem. Don't forget that Ohio State, not
LSU, was No. 1 going into last year's title game. Ohio State was No. 2
and Miami No. 1 in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. No. 2 LSU beat No. 1 Oklahoma
in the 2004 Sugar. No. 2 Texas won the 2006 Rose, No. 2 Florida won the
2007 BCS Championship, and LSU won last year. The lone aberration in
recent years was USC's blowout over Oklahoma in the 2005 Orange. The
Heisman winners have also had issues in the bowls. Tebow's Florida team
lost to Michigan last year, Troy Smith and Ohio State got blown out by
Florida, Reggie Bush, Jason White, Eric Crouch, and Chris Weinke all won
the Heisman and all lost their bowl games since 2000. The two exceptions
were the USC quarterbacks, Carson Palmer vs. Iowa and Matt Leinart vs.
6. The 2008 Fiesta Bowl, the 2007 Fiesta Bowl ...
There was a time when Oklahoma was the biggest bad boy on the block;
there's a reason Bob Stoops was called Big Game Bob. But as soon as Mike
Stoops left the coaching staff to take over at Arizona, the team has had
a problem with the late season big non-regular season games, starting
with the stunning 35-7 loss to Kansas State in the 2003 Big 12
Championship. OU went on to lose to LSU in the national title. The
following year came the big clunker, a 55-19 loss to USC in the Orange
Bowl. The 17-14 win over Oregon in the 2005 Holiday was solid, but two
years ago came the loss to Boise State after an inexplicable start, and
then, supposedly fully focused, West Virginia won in a walk in last
years, Fiesta Bowl. Oklahoma has to prove it can handle the biggest and
brightest of spotlights.
5. Florida can score, too
Everyone knows all about the Oklahoma offense and how potent it is, but
it's not like Florida has been struggling for points, finishing third in
the nation averaging over 45 per outing. While there was a 70-point
performance against Citadel to pad the stat sheet, in the last eight
games since the Ole Miss loss the offense has gotten better and better
averaging 51 points per game. Florida's O is almost perfectly balanced
averaging 230 yards rushing and 213 passing per game, and it's
ultra-efficient finishing just behind OU and Texas and Tulsa in passing
efficiency. While the game plan vs. Alabama was Tebow, Tebow, Tebow,
Percy Harvin is back in the mix now to go along with the other weapons
and the coaching staff's disposal that went unused in the SEC title
game. In other words, Florida has the talent to keep up in a shootout.
4. Special teams
The loss of OU star RB DeMarco Murray is hardly a killer for the running
game that's still loaded with talent, but losing his skills as a kickoff
returner, averaging close to 28 yards per return. Juaquin Iglesias and
Mossis Madu should be fine, but the rest of the OU special teams have
been a problem. The kickoff coverage team has been lousy, there hasn't
been a lot of pop on punt returns, and the punting game has hardly been
special. On the flip side, Florida might have the best special teams in
America with PK Jonathan Phillips turning in a great year, hitting
11-of-12 field goals, and with Brandon James averaging 14.14 yards per
punt return and 23.69 yards per kickoff return. Overall, Florida is 8th
in the nation in punting and 7th in punt returns.
3. Don't poke the bear ... don't poke the bear
If you need every motivation for the national championship, you're in
trouble. However, at the collegiate level, having a rallying point seems
to matter more when it comes to momentum than it does in most other
sports, and Florida has one. If Oklahoma CB Dominique Franks wasn't
going to be picked on before, he will be now after saying Tim Tebow
wouldn't be among the top three quarterbacks from the Big 12 South.
Franks went on to gab about how the best receivers and tight ends come
from the Big 12. Forgetting that he might actually be right on all
fronts, when players start to squawk before game of this magnitude, they
tend to face ultra-motivated players intending on beating the offender.
Florida might not be any more fired up to beat OU because of Franks
comments, but Gators might want to do more to beat Franks. The Gators
have their focal point on defense to pick on.
2. The offensive line factor
Tebow has a lot to do with making the offensive line looks decent, he
doesn't go down easily and he helps out the rushing stats, but the Gator
front five really is good. It's not as good as Oklahoma's offensive
line, but it paved the way for the SEC's best rushing offense and
allowed a mere 16 sacks on the year. The Gator defensive front has
already had to deal with some elite offensive lines, with LSU's full of
future NFL starters and Alabama's, when it had Andre Smith at left
tackle, as good as any in America. While the Tide line dominated on a
key second half drive in the SEC title game, the suspect (at least at
the time) Gator defensive front, with concerns about the depth at
defensive tackle, held up well. Now the line has had time to heal and
get the spring back in its step, and it should give the OU front all it
can handle. The Sooners have faced two teams with elite defensive lines:
TCU and Texas. Brian Orakpo came up with two of UT's three sacks in the
win, while the Horned Frogs got four sacks and eight tackles for loss,
meaning the two teams came up with seven of the 11 sacks allowed by the
Sooners. While TCU lost, the 35 points allowed tied Texas for the fewest
given up to OU. Florida doesn't have an elite pass rush, but it got
better as the year went on with four in each of the final three regular
season games. The Gators should be able to generate consistent pressure
on Bradford, even if they don't come up with a slew of sacks.
1. De-fense (clap, clap), De-fense (clap, clap)
The Florida defense might be young, but it's extremely athletic and it's
very, very good. The secondary hasn't allowed more than two touchdowns
in any game this year and it hasn't given up a 300-yard passing day
despite facing the new Arkansas passing attack, Georgia's Matthew
Stafford, South Carolina's passing game, and the efficient John Parker
Wilson of Alabama. No, it's not like getting through the Big 12 South,
but this secondary really is good. Brandon Spikes leads a lightning-fast
linebacking corps that has helped allow just 105 rushing yards per game.
TCU has the best defense the Sooners have seen all season long, but it
didn't have the support of the offense. Florida does. The Gators
finished the year eighth in the nation in total defense, fourth in
scoring defense, 16th in pass defense, 15th in run defense, and second
in pass efficiency defense. If Oklahoma wins this game, it'll have