Its all come down to this. Ok, I know that sounds cliche, but isn't it the ultimate truth. This is the only game that the average College Football fan thinks has any merit at all. And this year, some don't even believe that. Their are some (like one Matt Suldano) who believe that this game should be for third place. Their are tons of things wrong with both the theories, but that's for another column. One that I will write in the coming days. Sure, their are problems. Even I, a staunch and rigid defender of the BCS system, don't love the match up. If you've read my columns in the last week, I've made it pretty evident that I think USC would whip both these team. However, I am also willing to accept the match up that the system in place gave us. Would a playoff be awesome? Absolutely. Would it give us different results? Probably. But here's the real question when considering the BCS and its validity. Is it the best non-playoff system? Is it leaps and bounds better then the system that was in place? I think the answer to both questions is a resounding yes. So I am willing to consider whoever wins tonight the national champion. I am willing to believe that the team that wins it is the one who deserves to hold up the trophy with pride. If I was a voter (and I hope one day I will be), I would notch my reed (kudos to all who got that reference) for tonight's winner. I am a college football lover. Could it be better? Yes. But I am willing to go along with the premise. Especially because I don't believe it to be an outlandish one. Hey, you can argue with me about this till dawn, but for now its about one final game. One big game.
FedEx BCS National Championship Game- #1 Oklahoma v. #2 Florida- For the record, I don't think a lot of teams could beat Florida. I really could care less what Dominique Franks thinks, Tim Tebow is one of the top two quarterbacks in the nation. However, number one is Sam Bradford and Oklahoma is one of the few teams that can beat Florida. Tebow came off a Heisman trophy winning season and arguably improved himself. The knock on Tebow was his ability to play the traditional role of quarterback and not the hybrid he had previously been used as. He answered all the critics within the first few weeks of the season. Tebow threw for 28 touchdown passes and was only picked off twice. His completion percentage hovered around the 65 percent mark. In 2007, Tebow threw for more touchdowns, but also threw four more interceptions. Ironically, his touchdown to interception ratio was identical, but he still looked way more comfortable in the pocket and made smarter decisions. Again, few college quarterbacks could outplay Tebow. Bradford just happens to be one of them. Bradford threw for 48 touchdowns and over 4,000 yards. He may have thrown six interceptions to Tebows two, but that may also be because Oklahoma throws the ball more. Also, interceptions aren't always the quarterbacks fault, and given Bradford's accuracy, its easy to infer that the guy doesn't make a ton of mistakes. He has a completion percentage nearing 69 percent. That is almost unreal considering the ball left his hand over 440 times. The quote floating around is that Bradford could "win a lot of teddy bears at the fair". While this quote may not strike me as utterly hilarious as it does other college football writers, it does ring true. He gets protected, too. Oklahoma boosts one of the best offensive lines in the entire country. Bradford has only hit the dirt nine times. The o-line has also made 1,000 yard rushers out of both DeMarco Murry and Chris Brown. Murry has found the end zone twenty times. Murry is out tonight, but I trust that Brown and the passing attack can pick up the slack.
I know the old saying goes "Defense wins championships", and I think that's the truth 95% of the time. But here's a saying for ya, "Legendary Offenses win championships." Often times we hear nicknames and the moniker of a "legend" attached to defenses, but seldom do we hear that term connected with offense. That's about to change. The 2008 Oklahoma Sooner offense will be talked about for years. Oklahoma is the first team ever to score over 700 points. Sure, Florida is by far the best defense they have faced, but the Sooners managed to put up 35 points against two other pretty good units, Texas and TCU. I know, I know. They didn't beat Texas. But can you fault an offense for scoring thirty five points and loosing. I don't think so, even in the high flying, high scoring world of Big 12 football. They will not score 60 in this one, but their not going to need 60. The Oklahoma defense may not be the "stuff of legends", but its nowhere near putrid. They gave up less then 25 points a game, and even those numbers are skewed. The Sooner special teams unit let up four touchdowns and the back up unit let up eight. I'm sorry if I can't take poor defensive numbers seriously when you're up by 40. Find me a coach or scout who does and I'll show you a guy who thinks way too hard about the flow of a game. The defense produced 42 sacks and 32 turnovers. They also held opponents to a 33 percent third down conversion rate.
Oklahoma is a more complete team. I can see the Florida defense containing the Oklahoma offense for a bit, but it won't be enough. The offense is too good to be shut down. If Florida scores thirty points, Oklahoma wins by 10. I think the Sooner defense will do enough to prevent Tim Tebow and Florida from keeping up with Bradford and Oklahoma. It'll be a shootout and in the end, I can't see Tim Tebow going throw for throw with Sam Bradford
The Pick: Oklahoma
The Score: 44-28
Bowl Mania Record: 17-16