Dan: Florida -3
Florida -3? Seriously? Am I missing something? I don’t care what Okahoma’s offense has looked liked against the inept defenses of the Big 10. No way this game is within a touchdown. Florida is dominant this year.
Florida 38 Oklahoma 27
Matt: Florida -3
I think this a great matchup. But I must preface by saying that as far as I’m concerned this is NOT the National Championship game. USC – Florida would have been. I don’t know how USC did not get the benefit of the doubt from pollsters this year. Literally every player on their starting defense will be playing on Sundays. But I digress…
It’s possible that this is the last game of the Tim Tebow era. I’ve been a huge fan and hope he sticks around for another year, but honestly, what else is he going to prove. Urban isn’t going to change to a dropback passing offense just so that Tebow can show he is an NFL QB. Seriously, in 50 years are we going to be looking back at Tim Tebow like we do with Roger Staubach and all the other legends of the game? It’s possible.
I really think that Florida’s defense will show a dimension of speed that Oklahoma hasn’t seen all year. Watching them against Georgia and Alabama, and it’s ridiculous how fast guys like Brandon Spikes and Major Wright are. (By the way, if you want your son to be a great football player, just name him Major. Has there ever been a Major who was a chess player or chemist or something. No. They are all football players). And I don’t think that Oklahoma’s defense is up to the task of slowing down Tebow, Harvin and Rainey.
I would pay $50 pay per view to see USC-Florida on January 17th.
Florida 41 Oklahoma 24
Mike: Florida –3
An underrated factor in this game could be the “Heisman effect.” Sam Bradford will be inundated with media opportunities and appearances on the dinner circuit during the time period leading up to the bowl, which could have a deleterious effect on his performance. In any event, Florida has a much stronger defense than Oklahoma and an equally capable offense. Moreover, Oklahoma should be very afraid about the prospect of facing a focused and fired up Tim Tebow.
Finally, can someone at the Downtown Athletic Club please tell Billy Sims that he is no longer welcome at future Heisman ceremonies (or, if you prefer, can someone play Hootie Johnson to Billy Sims’s Doug Ford)? Sims ruined Jason White’s ceremony with his obnoxious “Boomer Sooner” chants and he was at his misbehaving worst again this year. Sims basically uses the Heisman as his one opportunity to be back in the spotlight (aside from when he makes the news for beating his wife) and it’s unfortunate that he can’t let the actual award candidates enjoy their moment in the sun. Memo to Billy: you’re over 50 years old now. Grow up.
Florida 41 Oklahoma 21
Doug: Florida -3
This game just seems too easy for me to pick, and that makes me upset. The two best programs in the country with the most talent are Florida and USC, and we had a perfect scenario that could have led to that dream matchup this year. Instead, everyone decided to ignore USC until it was too late, and now we are stuck with an overrated Big 12 team against Florida. That really bothers me as a college football fan. I love all the "wait, USC should be #1!!" discussion from the media hacks and Mike Lupica types after the Rose Bowl. Where were any of you BEFORE the Rose Bowl when it actually mattered?? Why was there no one standing on a mountaintop before the Rose Bowl saying USC was the best team in the country?? Anyone who has watched college football this year knew that USC was probably the best team in the country, and yet these hacks voted in OU instead to the national title game. What a load of garbage. We go through this every year. USC gets jobbed and left out of the title game, and then they annhilate some Big 10 team so badly in the Rose Bowl that everyone scratches their head and says "man, maybe USC is the best team in America." When are the people of college football going to wake up and realize that USC deserves to be playing for the national title EVERY YEAR??
For that reason, I am rooting for Florida to drill Oklahoma like 50-17 or something like that. I would love to see OU get so badly beaten that everyone shakes their head and says "what were we thinking by leaving USC out of this game?? No wonder the title game always stinks." The Big 12 has been overrated all year, but unfortunately America didn't seem to realize it until bowl season started.
The thing about these Big 12 teams that puts them at a disadvantage in a game like this one is that there are no championship-caliber defenses in the Big 12. Sam Bradford and the OU o-line have been playing borderline touch football for the last few months, so we won't really know what they look like when they go up against a fast and physical defense. Look at what happened to Texas on Monday. They were an offensive juggernaut all year, but they had problems with Ohio State's defense. I just don't think you can win games like this one if your defense is mediocre and your offense hasn't been tested against a physical defense. Florida is going to smack OU in the mouth and try to dominate them up front. Because OU hasn't faced that all year, we have no idea how they will react. History tells us that they will not react well to that type of pressure from Florida.
Florida is a complete team. They have a great offense that has been tested in the SEC, they have a great defense, a great head coach, and great special teams. They have played against fast teams, physical teams, and great defenses. Nothing that OU does will be new for them. But for Oklahoma, EVERYTHING that Florida does will be a new experience for them. It's hard to prepare for it if you haven't faced it. I just think the matchups are incredibly favorable to the Gators.
OU's offensive line is being touted as a juggernaut, but people said that about Ohio State's o-line prior to the LSU game last year. Ohio State hadn't seen anything like LSU's d-line, and they were completely overmatched in the game. Same for the Ohio State defense against LSU. LSU was running and throwing all over them, and I think Florida will do the same against OU.
One caveat on this game for you Florida bettors out there though. As we have seen, bowl games are straight up wacky, and sometimes you never know what a team's mindset will be like heading into a game. Florida has a great coach and a great team, but maybe they don't come out ready to play for whatever reason. Maybe OU plays with a chip on their shoulder that Florida can't match. You never really know in these types of games. My read of this game is that Florida is going to win BIG, but we probably won't be able to tell how this game is going to turn out until we see these teams match up on the field. I thought Utah wouldn't be able to match up physically with Bama, but they proved to be more than capable of doing so (more on that down the road).
Maybe this game will end up turning out a lot different than I thought it would, but I'm rooting for the Gators to win big and expect that to show on the field.
One final subplot. The coach who wins this game will officially go into a different strata in the coaching world. If Stoops wins this game, he will have two national titles to go with about 10 Big 12 championships. He'd be in the category among the all-time greats if that happens (probably even above a guy like Lou Holtz). As for Urban Meyer, he would suddenly have two national titles in three years and probably would be in position to win a 3rd if Tebow comes back next year. The sky would be the limit for Urban Meyer at Florida. Isn't it conceivable that he could win like 5-6 titles there or something like that?? At what point would Urban Meyer start to look for a new challenge?? He doesn't seem like a career Florida guy. Could get interesting if he wins this game on Thursday.
Florida 41 Oklahoma 17