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Game Blog: Oklahoma-Florida

FINAL: Florida 24, Oklahoma 14

Plano, Texas — Trouble for Oklahoma, and on a broader perspective, trouble for the Big 12 Conference. There's virtually no argument right now for the Big 12 being superior to the SEC. Consider these factors:

  • 1. Florida just beat OU in the BCS Championship.
  • 2. Ole Miss beat Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl.
  • 3. SEC postseason bowl record: 6-2.
  • 4. Big 12 postseason bowl record: 4-3.

It was one of the better years in the Big 12's history. Michael Crabtree's amazing touchdown catch in the final second in Lubbock, Texas, on Nov. 1. Five ranked teams for the majority of the year. Oklahoma's offense scoring the most total points in the history of college football. Prime time games with national title implications seemingly every week. Five of the top 10 scoring offenses in the nation. Two of three Heisman finalists.

But one thing became clear tonight: The Big 12 is still not as good as the SEC.

And what's up with the South going 1-3 in bowl games? If it wasn't for the 3-0 showing from the North, it would have been a horrible showing for the conference in the postseason. As it is, you'd have to call it a mediocre showing at absolute best.

Back to the BCS Championship. The Gators really turned up the heat on the ground in the second half. Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin combined for 229 rushing yards, and Florida outgained Oklahoma, 247-106, on the ground.

What are your guys' thoughts? As always, discuss.

End of third quarter: Florida 14, Oklahoma 7

A very even game here. Florida scored once in the third off a 2-yard touchdown run by Percy Harvin, but Oklahoma's driving to begin the fourth quarter. The Sooners held Tim Tebow's ability to run in check for the majority of the first half, but he seemed to get loose on several occasions in the third quarter. He now has 74 yards on the ground.

It raises more questions on why the line for this game moved to Florida being favored by 6 right before the game, after roughly a month of the line being Florida by 3.

My question: What the heck happened in one day to move this line to 6? Simply baffling.

Halftime update: Oklahoma 7, Florida 7

For as good as these offenses have been this season, the first half of the BCS Championship game was all about defense.

As in two OU interceptions on Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who had only thrown two interceptions all year coming into tonight.

Or how about Florida's two defensive stops inside the red zone? One on a 4th-and-1 when the Gators stuffed Chris Brown to prevent a touchdown. Another off an interception of a Sam Bradford pass that bounced off several players. If you're Oklahoma, you have to enjoy the early success of the running game. Brown carried 12 times for 78 yards in the first half.

Should be a heck of a second half. Be sure to discuss in the meantime and I'll be back later. Enjoy, all.

Pregame: Smack talk fuels BCS title game

Nothing like a little smack talk to make tonight's already-riveting BCS Championship well...more riveting.Here's a look at a few jabs from the week leading up to the title game between No. 1 Oklahoma (12-1) and No. 2 Florida (12-1).

Shot No. 1: "I’d say he’d probably be about the fourth-best quarterback in our conference. We’re coming in and facing Tebow, and he wants to run the ball a lot more. He’s predominantly a running quarterback. So to me it’s going to be a lot easier for us to prepare to stop the run than having to face a quarterback that might throw the ball 40 or 50 times a game.”

— OU sophomore cornerback Dominique Franks, on UF quarterback Tim Tebow, who's accounted for 40 total TD's (28 passing, 12 rushing) this season.

Shot No. 2: “You keep hearing they’ve scored all these points in the last five games, but I really feel like they haven’t faced a defense like ours, and Big 12 defenses are a joke. It’s always like a bunch of basketball scores when I watch SportsCenter."

— UF junior linebacker Brandon Spikes on Oklahoma.

Much of the public jabbing stopped after that. But I find it hard to believe OU and UF players won't bring it up behind closed doors.

In Jeremy Fowler's 'Swamp Things' blog (Orlando Sentinel), he noticed an exchange between an unnamed Florida player and UF offensive coordinator Dan Mullen:

The Gator lightly tapped Mullen on the arm and said, "Run it up, they've been talking a lot of (expletive)."

Ah, the drama.We'll see how it plays out at 7 tonight, but there are a few storylines that should make this game fascinating, even without all the smack talk.

History in the making?

With a victory tonight, Oklahoma has the opportunity to tie Notre Dame for the most college football championships in the Modern Era with eight. Florida has won two titles (1996, 2006).

Big 12 vs. SEC: Who's better?

In my blog earlier in the week, I came up with a simple way to determine the nation's best conference.

The SEC already has a leg up on the Big 12 with Ole Miss' Cotton Bowl victory over Texas Tech. The SEC is 5-2 this postseason, while the Big 12 is 4-2. A lot is riding on tonight's game from a conference superiority perspective.

Juggernaut offense vs. juggernaut defense:

Oklahoma ranks first in the nation in scoring offense at 54 points per game. The Sooners, with 702 points on the season, are the only team that's ever scored 700 points in a season and they still have tonight's game to pad those stats. On the other end, Florida ranks fourth in the nation in scoring defense with an average of only 12.8 points given up per game. Who will get the edge on the field tonight?

Head-to-head Heisman battle:

Sam Bradford won the trophy over Colt McCoy of Texas and Tebow, who won the trophy last year. Was this the proper call?

I'd be interested in everyone's score predictions. Post your prediction in the comments section and enjoy tonight's game.

I'll also be updating the blog throughout tonight's game, so feel free to come onto KUSports.com and share your opinions.

Comments

Jesse Newell 5 years, 10 months ago

Eric — Are you as shocked as I am with the line for this game? It went from Florida being a 3-point favorite to a 6-point favorite in about two days. I thought from the start OU would win this game. Why do you think the line is going nuts?

d_prowess 5 years, 10 months ago

I like the speculation between OU's offense against UF defense, but that is only one side of things and the other side is what is leading to the Florida line increasing. UF is #3 in scoring offense (according to Duggie's blog entry today) and OU's defense isn't as ranked as high (don't have the ranking, but know that UF allowed 12.8 ppg and OU allowed 24.5ppg). So with Florida you seem to have a great offense and great defense, and OU has a great offense and just good defense. That said, I think OU might come out really focused and amped up since everyone (major media) seems to feel OU is overmatched tonight.

Jesse Newell 5 years, 10 months ago

d_prowess — Good points. I wonder if the location has something to do with it as well. Miami is in Florida, though I think for any locals there, that might still favor Oklahoma (if KU played the national championship game in Manhattan, Kansas, would the locals cheer for KU? I think not.)I would say Florida has a good offense and a great defense, but I would say OU has an outstanding offense and a good defense. Guess that's why I'm thinking OU will win.

d_prowess 5 years, 10 months ago

I have totally forgotten about the location factor! And Jesse, I think if the game were in Manhattan, all of the KU people would be driving over to attend, so it still would probably favor KU (assuming it was not against KSU!). My head keeps telling me that Florida is going to win, but my gut for some reason keeps telling me that OU is going to come out with everything to prove and win it!

Jesse Newell 5 years, 10 months ago

There should be more Florida fans for sure, but I can't imagine that OU fans won't come out in full force. I'd say 2/3 Florida, 1/3 Oklahoma, which still would make it more a neutral game than a road game, I'd say.Do you think that those people betting on Oklahoma also are betting the over (70)? I would think that the more points are scored, the better chance OU has of winning.OK, I'll bite. OU 42, UF 35

rgreene 5 years, 10 months ago

OU has played against two -- count 'em, two -- good defenses this year. They faced TCU and Texas. In each game, they scored 35 points, which is pretty modest compared to what they've done the last five weeks against teams with nothing that even resembles a defense. Florida's defense, if you haven't seen it, is on another level. Add in OU talking smack and Urban Meyer having a month to prepare for this one? I say Florida wins by two touch downs -- at least. This defense is better than those of TCU and Texas combined.UF 38, OU 21

Matt Tait 5 years, 10 months ago

I like the comment about OU having everything to prove. Florida's had a month but so has OU, and OU's offense is a machine like we've never seen. One tailback goes down, two tailbacks go down, BOOM!!!, slide in a third and don't miss a beat. It has all the makings of a GREAT game. I know people hate the BCS and I'm right there with them, but this is a pretty fantastic finale. I originally liked OU three weeks ago but then liked Florida this week. This morning, I had a change of heart. OU will be up to the challenge. And the Big 12 South WILL NOT go 1-3. Boomer Sooner, 38-33

Matt Tait 5 years, 10 months ago

jnewell, the line is blowing my mind. I don't know why Florida opened as the favorite in the first place. That thing held at 3 for weeks but then moved like crazy once everyone started drinking the Florida Kool-Aid --- I guess that would be called Gator-Aid. Anyway, throw that into the bag of reasons I like OU.... They're getting absolutely no respect. Time to earn some. And, for the record, I just can't see Stoops losing a FIFTH STRAIGHT BCS game. Play ball!!!!

Eric Sorrentino 5 years, 10 months ago

Hey guys, sorry for lagging in my response. Had to hit up Plano's world-famous (OK, not really) Willowbend Mall for a while. Jesse, I can't believe the line is at 6. Interesting line when you consider the Sooners have put up at least 60 points in their last five games. 6-0 OU before the game starts? I like Oklahoma straight up and with the line. Enjoy! Haven't been this excited to watch a BCS title game since the 2005 season.

Jesse Newell 5 years, 10 months ago

Wasted opportunities for OU. I have a bad feeling those two lost possessions inside the 10 will cost the Sooners a championship...

Matt Tait 5 years, 10 months ago

Tough to get two Tebow INTs and not score on either of them. Should be 13-7 OU right now at least. I'll take 7-7, though. Heck of a game. On a side note, the line moved in the final hour leading up to the game from Florida -6 to Florida -4.5 and then back up to Florida -5 right before kick. One of the craziest lines I've ever seen. Second half is on.

Joe Joseph 5 years, 10 months ago

I cannot stand Tim Tebow. Even more so, I cannot stand the members of the media who can't seem to SHUT UP about him.1:30 left in the 3rd... OU is in big-time trouble.

Jesse Newell 5 years, 10 months ago

Why do the Sooners keep going conservative on 3rd and 4th down? Why not keep throwing it?

Eric Sorrentino 5 years, 10 months ago

valid point, particularly on 3rd-4th and short situations...Florida's guessing run and they've been correct these last few times...

Jesse Newell 5 years, 10 months ago

If the Sooners win, how many OU fans will take credit for sneaking in whistles to the championship game?

Joe Joseph 5 years, 10 months ago

OU has no answer for the Florida run attack 2nd half

Joe Joseph 5 years, 10 months ago

Great. Now we get to hear even more of how great Tim Tebow is.Shoot me now.

Jesse Newell 5 years, 10 months ago

He's so great he picks up 15-yard penalties.

Joe Joseph 5 years, 10 months ago

If you were playing a drinking game where you had to drink every time one of the announcers said the phrase, 'Tim Tebow is great', you would have been dead at halftime.

darnett 5 years, 10 months ago

Oh, did Florida end up winning this one? Weird.

irish2255 5 years, 10 months ago

Thank God for the Big 12 North in bowl games (south 1-3, WTF). Next year they should let OU and O(ohio)SU play in a BCS game so one of them can actually win one.

Sparko 5 years, 10 months ago

Quarterback play and decision-making was underwhelming on both sides. Coaching too; though Stoops' conservative game plan looks ridiculous too. This game shows you just how great a competitor Reesing is. Kansas, with its limited talent compared to OU, had a much better chance in the 4th quarter than OU did when trailing. Good defenses made both Heisman winners look pretty average.

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