Let’s first address the recent comments made by OU defensive back Dominique Franks. I am not exactly sure what the motivation was behind these statements, but the Wang is not happy they were made. Don’t get me wrong: I agree that Tim Tebow would be no better than the fourth-best QB in the Big 12. That doesn’t mean it needs to be said to the media four days before the big game.
Injuries, unfortunately, also will play a big role in this championship game. With DeMarco Murray out, Chris Brown will have to be the man again if the OU offense plans to continue its recent dominance. What has made the OU offense so prolific isn’t all Sam Bradford. The exceptional balance between the running and passing games has left defenses on their heels, unable to key on just one player or aspect of the game. In games where the OU run game has faltered (TCU, Texas), the passing game has suffered as well. The Florida pass rush will be much more efficient if OU is unable to run the ball, and much of Bradford’s success relies on his ability to sit comfortably in the pocket. As the Wang has been saying all year though, Chris Brown is one of the most reliable and consistent backs in the country. I wouldn’t be surprised if the OU run game doesn’t miss a beat, much like the Big 12 championship game.
For Florida, utility man Percy Harvin stayed on campus over the holiday break to rehab his ailing ankle. Recent reports have Harvin as a go for the game Thursday. The fact that this statement needs to be made at all says something to the Wild One. While Harvin will undoubtedly play, I can’t imagine he will be at 100 percent. If this is the case, this would be a big blow to Urban Meyer and the Gators. Yet, just as OU didn’t miss Murray against Missouri, Florida looked equally capable of winning big games without its star against Alabama.
The wild card will come in the form of special teams. I hate to concede it, but it is almost inevitable that Florida will break a kickoff return. The key will be for OU to limit the number and damage of long returns. Look for huge momentum swings throughout this game, many of them coming from special teams plays. The Sooners have to be ready to strike back with their own back-breaking plays to counteract any special teams lapses. Oh yeah, let’s also hope the game doesn’t come down to a late OU field goal.
Time to end the myth that Stoops can’t win the big one anymore. Time to show the country that defenses don’t necessarily win championships. Time to prove that the Heisman voting was right on the money. Time to prove Dominique Franks right.
The Pick: Boomer Sooner…. OU, 41-27.