Deep into Sports: Breaking Down the BCS Championship Jan08

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Deep into Sports: Breaking Down the BCS Championship


A new blogumn by Nate Barlow

Sports for the geeks by a geek geeking out on sports…


The first pseudo major sports championship of the year takes place tonight in Miami as the 12-1 and top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners face off against the 12-1 and second-ranked Florida Gators in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship game. I say pseudo because college football will never have a true national champion until a playoff system is put into place. The money-grubbing and gross inequities inherent to the BCS system will always result in college football’s champion being largely determined by polls, not on the field.

But, like the BCS or not (if you couldn’t already tell, I don’t)‚ it did result in a legitimate matchup for the so-called title game this season. Sure, other teams (Texas, USC and especially undefeated Utah) had strong arguments why they should be in the BCS Championship game, but those same discussions would exist regardless of which teams were playing–that’s the problem. From an outside observers standpoint, the Oklahoma Sooners vs. the Florida Gators is a completely legitimate matchup, though I personally maintain Utah’s undefeated season warranted them the nod.

The game does have it all though: the champion teams from the top two conferences, two high-powered offenses, and the last two Heisman Trophy Winners in quarterbacks Tim Tebow (2007) and Sam Bradford (2008). This game will undoubtedly be a shoot-out*; if you like offensive explosions, this one is for you.

Unfortunately for the Sooners, Oklahoma star running back DeMarco Murray will miss the game with a hamstring injury. But fortunately for their coach Bob Stoops, that injury shouldn’t slow down his team too much. Murray is actually one of two backs for Oklahoma with over 1,000 yards (the other, Chris Brown, leads the Sooners with 1,010 yards). Even with such a running threat, the Sooners’ success will ride on Bradford’s arm. And with perhaps the best offensive line in the country, the Oklahoma quarterback should have all day to throw.

Florida must find a way to slow down Oklahoma’s offense if they want to wrap up their second title in three years. Unfortunately for the Gators, though, their defense is not quite the dominant force as that of their 2006 squad —  although it has improved over the course of the season. On the other hand, the Gators offense is pretty potent in its own right, with the nation’s 11th-ranked running game and Tebow’s big play ability. And considering the injuries suffered by the Sooners’ defense, the Gators’s O should have ample opportunity to score and keep pace with Oklahoma.

In the end, I think this game will probably come down to just one or two plays, with the team making the least mistakes taking the crown. After two straight bowl disappointments, it’s time for the Sooners to achieve some redemption.

That having been said, I hope the Associated Press throws egg on the face of the BCS once again and votes the Utah Utes a split** of the national title in their poll. Unlikely, but not inconceivable.


*Shoot-out just refers to a high-scoring game without much defense.

**Since there has never been a playoff to determine the national champion,college football’s title has always been named as the team atop the weekly rankings.  There are two sets of rankings, the Associated Press and the ESPN / Coaches Poll.  Occasionally, the two polls have had different teams as #1 in the final rankings, resulting in a split national championship.