Breaking it down: Oklahoma vs. Florida

Wednesday, January 7th 2009, 6:34 pm
By: News 9

Florida offense
Big factor for the Gator offense is how close to 100 percent Percy Harvin's bum ankle is. They run it 63 percent of the time, and want it in number 1's hands as a receiver, running back or in the Wild Gator formation where he and Tebow switch places. But this is Tebow's team and he has a terrific offensive line, blazing fast backs and receivers, a versatile attack, great leadership and decision-making, is a powerful runner himself and an efficient passer.

OU offense
To me it's simple. OU's offensive line must live up to its hype. OU must run the ball to have a semblance of balance, meaning Mosis Madu must help take up the slack with Murray out. If they can't run it some, Bradford will have to throw it 50 times and Florida will tee off on him showing him the most pressure he's ever faced. Florida will give up a deep ball occasionally and big plays are a must. Bradford will need to add to his incredible numbers of completing 50 passes of 25 yards or more.

Call it a push. Both teams come out of the gate fast and are capable of an early knockout. Sooners don't want to fall behind against this bunch and play catch up.
Florida defense
Number 51 Brandon Spikes is the heart and soul of this defense which is one of the nation's finest. Speed and athleticism is everywhere. The Gators are very good up front and are the best in the SEC in the back end. Extra preparation time definitely helped them prepare for OU's fast tempo.

OU defense
Sooners are iffy at Mike Linebacker with untested Mike Balogun and injured Austin Box. They must do two things: Control the line of scrimmage helping them stop the power run game. That will go a long way in reaching their goal of making Tebow beat them with the pass. Two, tackle well in space. Florida will look for speed mismatches, especially with Percy Harvin.

Bradford must find ways to score at least 30-35 points because the Gators will get their share. I like OU's front four especially with a healthy Austin English back in the defensive end rotation.
Urban Meyer and Bob Stoops want to be the first coach to take home his second BCS crystal.
Meyer is a cocksure fourth year strictly business coach who emphasizes speed, offensive diversity and aggressive defense. He has an excellent staff and leaves no stone unturned.

Stoops is fairly confident as well. He knows this is the biggest game he's ever coached. Lose, and his reputation takes a hit because of the BCS failures. But a win makes him 2 for 4 in national title games, re-establishes himself as an elite coach and ensures a big pay day and contract extension will be on his desk when he returns to Norman.

We'll see if Meyer can win as a favorite...or if Stoops takes a huge step toward legendary status alongside Wilkinson and Switzer.
Florida special teams are tremendous. Meyer believes kick coverage will determine field position which will be critical in this one. The Gators have blocked five punts-eight kicks and do most of the damage in the first quarter.

5-foot-7-inch Brandon James is probably the best return man in the college game. He's said OU's kickoff coverage is undisciplined and he will make a difference. The Gator specialists are outstanding.

Stoops says his team has never worked harder on special teams than the past two weeks. Losing Murray is a killer in the return game and with Florida's defense will force more field goal attempts from untested freshman Jimmy Stevens.

Sooners must avoid bad decisions, poor execution or choking against a team that is already favored to beat them.

For the third time in four BCS title games, OU is playing a road game. Florida will have at least a 2 to 1 home crowd advantage. But I call this a push because Stoops teams are best when they play with a chip on their shoulders. They are playing with an EDGE because all they've heard from the coaches is that NO ONE thinks they should even be here, much less win.