January 09, 2009

Gator Bait!

-Not a bad game last night. Neither team played their best game, but it turned out much better than I thought it would be. I was actually fairly impressed with OU last night. They certainly exceeded my expectations. I'll admit that I was not a believer in Oklahoma, especially up front. I figured they were going to be a typical slow, methodical Midwestern line that couldn't deal with Florida's speed and intensity. Couldn't have been more wrong. OU pretty much controlled the game physically. Their line was physical, quick, and explosive. They just couldn't come through with the big plays when it counted.

That game came down to four huge plays that went against OU:

--The goal line stand on back to back plays
--The interception at the goal line
--The holding penalty in the first quarter that negated that long pass down the sideline
--The interception at the end of the game that went right through Iglesias' hands and got picked

If a couple of those plays had gone their way, OU could have won that game.

I am not really convinced at all that those two teams were the best two teams in America, but OU didn't embarrass themselves at all. After watching them last night and Texas on Monday, I don't know how OU lost to them.

-As for the Gators, their offense is fun to watch at times, but it's such a strange offense to watch. There is no rhythm to their offense, but they just sort of make plays to win games. That offense would never work in the NFL, but it does make sense on the college level. In college football, you just need to find ways to get the ball to your playmakers in space, and that's exactly what Florida's offense is designed to do. They are looking to get screens and shovel passes and draws and slant passes that get the ball to their best players with room to run. They aren't going to methodically march down the field with steady gains, but somehow it works. Why take 8 plays to go 50 yards when you can hit one screen pass that goes for 50??

Florida just seems to find a way to win. All these SEC teams are so battle-tested by the time that they get to the title game that they just know what it takes to come through in that type of game. Florida stepped up big time in the second half. Between Urban and Tebow and Harvin, the Gators have the guys that know how to win and make the plays they gotta make to get it done.

--If any OU fan is going to criticize Bob Stoops for losing that game, they are out of their minds. He had them ready to play, and they certainly weren't outclassed in that game. He's had them in four title games in nine years, and they've dominated Texas throughout his tenure. I don't know what else you could ask for if you are an OU fan. OU will win another title in the Bob Stoops era.

One thing that I thought was interesting about this game is that Urban was genuinely upset about his team's play at halftime, and it showed in the second half when thye stepped up. Stoops seemed pretty happy with how his team was playing. Maybe that was the best they could play. Florida obviously had another gear that OU couldn't match.

--Some quick NFL thoughts:

Sam Bradford - He didn't play a perfect game or anything, but I was really impressed with Sam Bradford last night. With his size and arm and accuracy, he has all the tools that you would want in a top NFL prospect. It didn't seem like there were any throws that he couldn't make on the field. That throw he made on the sideline early in the game that got called back on the holding penalty was one of the best throws I've seen all year on any level. Just a perfect pass that landed right in the guy's hands. Even his second interception was right on the money. Iglesias just wasn't strong with the ball and lost it.

I still am not sure if the Lions should be taking a QB in this draft with all the other needs that they have, but I don't think Bradford would be a bad choice. He's kind of like a Troy Aikman type. The Big Fundamental. At the end of the day, playing QB in the NFL is all about accuracy and decision-making. You have to be able to get rid of the ball in a hurry and get it where it needs to go. Bradford showed both those things last night.

The only thing about Bradford is going to be how he functions in the pocket if his line isn't superb. OU's line usually gave him a ton of time to throw. If he ends up on the Lions and has guys in his face all day, is he going to be able to make all those throws?? Guess we'll have to see.

--Tim Tebow - I know everyone is starting to talk themselves into Tim Tebow as the next Steve Young or something like that, but come on. He's not an NFL QB. With that windup, he'd be getting picked off left and right if he had to throw anything to the sideline. You can't just throw over the middle in the NFL. You have to be able to work the sidelines and get rid of the ball quickly. Tebow just doesn't have it, and he's not going to be able to run the ball like that in the NFL. He'll probably get drafted in the 4th round or something and then try to become an H-back, but I can't see him as a starting QB in the NFL. I wouldn't mind seeing the Bengals take a chance on him in the fourth round as an H-back/Wildcat player just to have his presence and leadership on the roster.

I'd rather just appreciate Tebow for what he is. One of the all-time great college football players and the best winnner in college sports. Maybe the best of the last 25 years, especially if he comes back next year. Tebow is a warrior, and I love him watching him play.

I think Tebow should come back to college next year and then go on to a career as the next Billy Graham-esque televangelist superstar. Couldn't he make a great living in that type of career?? Certainly more than if he was an H-back/3rd string QB in the NFL. Is there any doubt that Tebow will someday be involved in politics in the state of Florida (presumably for the GOP)?? I would almost guarantee that he'll be in the House of Representatives someday. Every right win fundy Christian would vote for him.

I love Tebow, but is there any doubt that there will be a Tebow backlash next year if he comes back?? Thom Brennaman was practically asking Tebow to marry him on the telecast last night. What an embarrassment. The love for Tebow will eventually grow stale, and I'm predicting a major backlash. It's really a shame because Tebow seems like a genuinely great guy. But now that the media has jumped on the "Tebow is such a great guy" bandwagon, people are going to get sick of it.

--Percy Harvin -- I love Percy Harvin as a college player, but is he going to be durable enough to last in the NFL?? I don't think he has the body for the NFL. I saw it with Peter Warrick with the Bengals. You need to have a position and an NFL body to make it in the league. Is he going to be able to run 40-50 pass patterns a game with precision?? We've never seen it out of him. His whole job with Florida's offense is to get the ball in space and go. He can have some success in the league, but that alone will not cut it in the NFL.

He'll probably try to be a Reggie Bush type player who can do a lot of different things for a team, but those guys always get hurt in the NFL. Harvin is already getting banged up a lot in college. What is he going to be like in the NFL if he can't stay healthy in college?

I think he should come out since he has nothing else to prove and might as well start earning a paycheck, but I think it would be a mistake to take him in the first round. Then again, DeSean Jackson is doing some nice things with Philly, so maybe the league is changing.

--I would be remiss if I didn't mention the absolute abomination that has been Fox's coverage of the BCS. Just when I thought it couldn't get worse after that abysmal performance by Fox in the Texas-Ohio State game, they somehow topped themselves last night with that god awful broadcast. Everything about the Fox production is shoddy from the announcers down to the camera people. Maybe they just have really bad producers or something. They could not keep the action straight last night, and Brennaman was unbelievably bad. I love Thom Brennaman as one of the voices of the Cincinnati Reds, but he should not be anywhere near the premier game in college football. He had no business announcing a game of that magnitude, and it showed last night. Not only was he botching calls left and right, his gushing about Tebow in the last five minutes was just annoying.

I think Fox has done a terrible job all year, and it's obvious that they do not have the resources to do a quality job with these games. Fox brings an NFL mentality to college football, and it doesn't work. No one cares about the graphics and camera angles if the announcers are horrible and you can't come out of a tv break without missing a play.

The BCS can't get back to ESPN soon enough. Hopefully by the time ESPN takes over the BCS, it won't even be the BCS. Get us a legitimate playoff. If I was Barack Obama, I'd be throwing that into his stimulus package. What else would stimulate America like a legit postseason for college football??

--Finally, while Florida has nothing to be ashamed of and got the job done, I still can't shake the feeling that USC would have rolled either of those teams last night. USC has the best combination of size, depth, and speed in the country, and Pete Carroll is the best big game coach in America. Watching Florida is fun, but they I don't come away with the same "WOW" feeling that I do when I watch USC play. USC just dominates you in every phase of the game and demoralizes teams. Florida didn't quite get to that level although they were admittedly playing better competition.

I would love to see USC-Florida next week. It's a shame that we won't get to see it.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Couldn't agree more with you about USC. Was not impressed at all last night with either of those teams. OK, Florida's defense played really well, and Oklahoma played a great defensive first half, but noone will convince me that USC wouldn't have pummelled both of those teams.

Also agree about Tebow. The guy is a great player and apparently even better person. But he's going to get the Favre treatment from ESPN next season if he comes back, and that will cause a lot of resentment among the fans, and that will be a shame.

I've learned not to doubt Tebow. I'm skeptical that he can play QB in the NFL (that first pick he threw might as well have been Johnny Damon aka Noodle Arm at QB). He didn't really take over the game until the 4th quarter when he went into 'F it' mode and just tucked the ball and plowed people. That stuff won't work in the NFL. But I think he'll at least get a chance, and he's such a hard worker and competitor that I'm not going to write him off yet.

Urban, please come to ND. You've done all you can do at Florida.