Updated through National Championship game.
Rumors and Rants National Collegiate Football Championship presentation will be Monday.
The fuck are you reading this for? Go vote for us. Then read.
Now, go watch this video from TWWL. The greatest and most surreal discussion of the national championship you’ll ever see. Even weirder: Lil’ Wayne actually makes some good points. Plus, Skip Bayless is supporting OU, so I might as well not write any more because that horrible-ass karma alone is going to destroy OU all by itself.
This is it. My last picks post of the 08/09 football season. To celebrate in the most self-serving way possible, I’ve linked to every week’s picks from the year at the bottom of this post. So feel free to go read each, write down all the times I was wrong (and there were quite a few) and then mercilessly tell me how full of shit I was in 2008.
Otherwise, it’s time for the BCS to pick its national champion. In the coming days, we at Rumors and Rants will poll ourselves and close friends and family and award our own more legitimate, sponsor-free national championship. I’m voting for Utah. So there.
Record: 18-15, 15-18 ATS
Thursday, January 8, 2009
FedEx BCS National Championship Game
(1) Florida (12-1) at (2) Oklahoma (12-1) (+3.5)
Wins: Hawai’i, Miami (FL), Tennessee, Arkansas, LSU, Kentucky, Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, The Citadel, Florida State, Alabama (SEC Championship)
Wins: Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Washington, TCU, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Missouri (Big XII Championship)
Take a look at Oklahoma’s wins again and you’ll find four things: two respectable defenses out of twelve teams, a 1-AA team, and a winless 1-A team. Not exactly a murderer’s row of strong teams on there. And Cincinnati’s defense is barely respectable on the field, though their statistics aren’t bad. Against the one really legit defense they faced (TCU) the Sooners managed a season low in points. Sam Bradford completed only 19 passes but threw for 400 yards and 4 TD’s. It’s what I call a fake-good game. He didn’t actually play well, but they hit some deep passes and scored a bunch. And the Sooners only ran for 25 yards against the Horned Frogs. And that was against a Mountain West team. Then again, if 35 points is your season low, your offense is in pretty damn good shape.
Every one of Oklahoma’s big games was at home too, except Oklahoma State, but that wasn’t really a big game. I’m not counting the Texas loss and the Missouri win because they were at neutral sites, though OU was technically the home team.
The real scary thing for Oklahoma is their defense. They don’t have one. Any team that gives up 66 combined points to the two state schools from Kansas isn’t allowed to say they play defense. They even allowed 28 points to Texas A&M. The big-school state high school football champion from Texas would only allow 17 to Texas A&M, and their coach would be fucking pissed afterwards about it. Some schools ranked ahead of OU in scoring defense: Temple, Duke, San Jose State, Navy, UConn, and Northern Illinois. Some teams ahead of OU in yards per game: Purdue, Army, Ohio, Troy, Memphis, and Arkansas State. Enough said.
You’ll also notice both of these teams only have one truly balanced offensive and defensive team on their schedules combined: TCU. Again. Every other team on their schedules is horribly flawed in some way. South Carolina, Missouri, Washington, Cincinnati, Florida State, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Arkansas all had laughably bad offenses. LSU, Georgia, Washington, Baylor, Kansas, Kansast State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Missouri also couldn’t play defense for shit.
In other words: the most overrated teams from the most overhyped conferences get to play for an overhyped national championship that doesn’t actually exist. Perfect. I guess it’s a little like complaining about fake boobs in Playboy, but still.
Here’s the thing: Oklahoma owns all the spread offense teams (except Texas) they faced this season. Why? OU’s offense kept the ball away from the other team’s O, which means they can’t get the possessions they need to be effective. They also ran the ball down their throats and you’ll notice most spread offense teams have baby-soft defenses and OU has a ginormous offensive line. Combine all that and of course OU rolls through the Big XII (except Texas).
There’s one more reason OU scored all those points: Bob Stoops runs the score up. Oklahoma was up huge in all those games, but he allowed the offense to keep scoring points and was unapologetic about it. Pete Carroll proved you can slow your O down if you want to, but Stoopsy never wants to. This taints (heh, taint) virtually every one of OU’s recent 58+ point affairs.
Florida is not your average spread offense team. Yes, their primary weapon is speed, but they want to physically dominate the line play AND run the ball more than throw it. The only other team that tried to do that against OU was an infinitely shittier Oklahoma State. Florida’s defense ranked fifth (TCU’s ended up second), which means a) OU won’t be able to run the score up and b) OU’s gameplan from all season won’t work as well. Don’t forget what West Virginia did to OU last January, and WVU’s offense is remarkably similar to Florida’s.
Finally, there’s Oklahoma’s track record in January bowls. They choke like they pissed off Darth Vader (sorry, I’m watching Episode III as I write this). This happens for two reasons. OU is constantly overrated by everyone because they get fat against inferior competition, a little like USC. The other reason is Oklahoma finally has to prove they’re good and play four solid quarters. They haven’t had to do that all season except for one time, and they lost. It’s going to happen again against a team that plays defense better than OU does and can play keep-away/big-play with the offense too.
Now, OU is in the press talking shit about Tim Tebow (thanks, Lil’ Wayne!) and are every bit as desperate and scared as they seem. This is a team waiting to get beaten again, and Florida is the team to do it. Say what you want about Urban Meyer (he’s evil, he cheats, he’s dirty, he looks like the guy from the Talking Heads..okay I’m done), but he knows about beating teams exactly like Oklahoma. Who did UF beat for their title? Ohio State. A team that had been getting fat off inferior competition, ran over everyone, and talked shit heading into the season finale. OU is gonna catch a beating.
Update: Florida 24 Oklahoma 14.
I have to give OU’s defense some credit for holding Florida to 24 points. They did a good job catching Tebow’s two INT’s that were thrown directly to defenders. They also perfectly executed the “let Florida drive to our 45 yard line before getting the punt” defense. For how shitty they have been, OU’s defense played well and took advantage of the gifts they were given by the Florida offense.
There are some sneaky stats that show Florida’s offense dominated more than it seemed. The Gators converted 12 of 17 third downs and averaged two full yards per rush (5.7) more than OU (3.7). Tebow was also never sacked.
OU’s offense, on the other hand, forgot to get off the bus. I’m not counting Sam Bradford’s interceptions because those weren’t even remotely his fault. Bradford’s overall numbers were even pretty good, though not up to the standard he set for himself during the regular season. Chris Brown ran well and even the receivers caught a fair amount of balls. It’s just the OU offense wasn’t nearly as productive as it usually is. Plus their punting kind of sucked. They only averaged 38.7 yards while Florida averaged 51.7 yards. That’s a major field position advantage. Throw in the goal-line stand by Florida and this game was all but destined for the Gators, though they didn’t pull ahead until the fourth quarter. OU’s offense was completely shut down.
Why? Florida’s defense. Any D that holds the highest-scoring team in history to 363 total yards and 3.7 yards per rush deserves most of the credit. You knew UF’s O would move the ball on OU’s D, but Florida’s defensive and special teams effort is what won them the game. Like I (and most everyone else) predicted.
Post-Season Record: 19-15, 16-18 ATS
Record after regular season: 172-69, 118-118-7 ATS
…and I’m spent. See you at the Rumors and Rants National Collegiate Football Championship presentation later this week. and the NFL Draft previews in March. Peace.