Monday, January 08, 2007

BCS National Title Game:
Yes, I'm Picking Florida to Win

Monday A.M. Quickie below (or linked here).

At the risk of delivering the most painful Quickie jinx of all time, I honestly think that Florida will beat Ohio State in the BCS title game tonight. That puts me in a very small minority that believes the Gators will actually beat the Buckeyes. I also happen to be a huge Florida fan, which both bolsters and erodes the value of my pick.

As a Florida fan, here are the Top 3 things that I worry will impede a win:

(1) UF's kicking game, obviously.
(2) Dumb, frequent penalties.
(3) Troy Smith late in a close game.

And here are the Top 3 things that should worry people who think Ohio State is going to win:

(1) Tim Tebow in short yardage.
(2) UF PR/KR Brandon James.
(3) Florida has nothing to lose.

I'm very surprised that pundits and fans (particularly Ohio State fans) have forgotten the lessons of Ohio State and Miami in the title game following the 2002 season. I have leaned on the comparison – however flimsy – since this FLA-OSU pairing was set.

But there's no getting around it: Miami was considered an unbeatable juggernaut; Ohio State was unbeaten, yes, but had won a seemingly endless and improbable series of nail-biters to get there.

I run through tonight's matchups, and I have a hard time figuring out why Ohio State is given such a decisive advantage (aside from the kicking game). For both teams, this is the best offense either has seen. Both teams' offenses have played against at least one team with as good or better defense (OSU: Michigan, UF: LSU). Player for player, Florida seems even.

Am I crazy to think that an "even" matchup favors the Gators? After all, everyone seems to think that Ohio State is going to blow the doors off this Florida team (or, at least, win by more than a touchdown). I'm wondering what will happen when Ohio State delivers its haymakers and the Gators not only stand pat, but hit back? How long does it take for an aura of invincibility to be eroded -- or shattered?

If there's one X-factor I think of more than others, it's this: Ohio State has played one meaningful game this season -- Michigan. (I discount the Texas game; it was too early in the season, Texas was playing with an inexperienced QB, and Texas turned out to be merely good, not great.) Even the Michigan game wasn't nearly as close as the score indicated. This is where Ohio State's average margin of victory comes back to haunt them: Where is Ohio State's grit?

Florida, on the other hand, has endured grit this season. Frankly, too much grit. Too many close calls. Too many "must-have" moments. Too many threats to obliterate its season. But the residual effect of all that grit is a hardened winner's mindset of "earn it" -- not entitlement or coronation, like I feel from Ohio State and its proponents.

Ryan Ferguson of has a great post about the game (caveat: From a Florida fan's perspective) on AOL's Fanhouse. Here's the link.

When that grit is combined with an underdog mentality, a coach who knows how to push those buttons and enough talent to offset Ohio State's talent, the formula is there for a Florida upset. I'm not going to predict a score, but I really believe that Florida will win. (Ugh: Curse!)

OK, here's your must-read of the day, related to the game tonight: SundayMorningQB's four-part breakdown. It's the best, most detailed you'll find. Worth your time.

Comments Question: We've had an unbelievably awesome season of Commenter analysis of college football, so let's end with a huge effort. How do you break down the game? What are the biggest storylines? The biggest X-factors? What will be the difference in the game, and – finally – how do you see it playing out?

-- D.S.


Anonymous said...

Ohio State will win easily, 34-17

Natsfan74 said...

I think Ohio State will win this, but in a much closer game than many people expect.

But my greatest knock on Florida is the same as it has been all year, the "strength" of its schedule. The SEC has only one win all year against a ranked non-conference opponent, and that was the Sugar Bowl over a vastly overrated ND team. Conferences can claim supremecy by beating eachother week in and week out and saying that results in being the toughest conference in the nation. But until someone from that conference steps up and beats a top non-conference opponent, it has the same weight in my mind as the WAC. Sure, Boise State can keep up with just about anyone -- but no one believed it until their bowl game win because their biggest previous win was an early season match-up with Oregon State.

Until the SEC starts winning big match-ups against ranked non-conference opponents, I will not believe they are the best conference or that Florida is a national championship type of team. Just ask Wisconsin and USC and Nebraska and Penn State about the best that the SEC has to offer.

CMFost said...

I am sticking with my predicition from Day One when this match up was announced Florida will win and win easier then people think.

I think the X-Factor are the coaches and I think you give Urban Meyers enough time and he will come up with a solid game plan to work against Ohio State. Ohio State has been the best team all season but they have yet to impress me in terms of being head and shoulders above everyone else they have played.

My Final Score Prediction is
Florida 34 Ohio State 17

jhawkjjm said...

Who knows...Troy Smith might blow out his knee like McGhee did.

As a college football fan, some of the above people (and from other threads) are right... this game is being played too late. I have zero rooting interest in this game outside of hoping its an enjoyable game to watch.

Don't care who wins. I don't want to listen to either set of fans after this one.

Anonymous said...

how is Meyer better than Tressel again? Tressel has 4 1-AA NC's and 1 BCS NC. Meyer has...a Master's Degree from OSU.

kway34 said...

I'll tell you where Ohio State has a decisive advantage in two names: Tressel and Smith. Meyer and Leak are good, Tressel and Smith are great.

Anonymous said...

I think it will come down to the freaking football game - not "I played a close game three months ago so that will help me tackle Ted Ginn better." Its about talent and coaching.

I'm not buying any of this crap about Florida played a tougher schedule so they will win a close game. And its not like Tressel isn't an excellent coach in tight situations either.

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

daddy rosee...umm, can you elaborate? urban has had way too much time to plan for this? and jim tressel, the best big game coach in college footbal, hasn't? don't make stupid remarks.

Jon said...

I could really care less about tonight's game. The 2 month lay off killed my interest....though I do hope the Buckeyes win, so that this blog is bearable. You're getting to be just like Vitale is with Duke now.

Anonymous said...

And daddy rosee...

I recall a million people saying the exact same thing about Charlie Weis last year before the Fiesta Bowl. He's an offensive genius. He's had a month to prepare.

Ask Charlie how that game turned out...

Big D said...

It doesn't matter what happens in this game, there's no way the winner gets past Boise State in the Finals with all the time they've had to game plan lots of trick plays.

Wait, wha...?

In all seriousness, there's two ways to look at this:

1) tOSU is an Unstoppable Force that will roll through this game, amass a 28 point lead by the 4th quarter, and let Florida grab a couple garbage TDs to make it look closer in the final box.

2) Florida has absolutely nothing to lose in this game and will be able to pull out all the stops.

And as much as I despise Ohio State, I cannot see them coughing this game up (even if the eight NFL teams playing this weekend have played eight games eash since the Buckeyes last played a game).

tOSU by 13.

Roge said...

I don't see how people think Florida will match up well with Ohio State. And what is this talk about Florida having more speed? Sorry people in SEC land, but Ohio State has MORE speed than Florida does this year.

Ohio State's defense is better than Florida's offense. Ohio State's offense is better than Florida's defense. Ohio State's special teams are so much better than Florida's special teams.

Ohio State wins in a blowout reminiscent of the USC/OU game a few years ago. OSU:41 UF: 10

BLUE said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BLUE said...

Well if Ohio State wins this game then they'll have proven that in this non-salary cap era, money still can win championships. The only problem I see is the letdown that Troy Smith might have by realizing he'll have to take a paycut to play in the NFL.

TJ said...

Florida will beat Ohio State


TJ said...

On second thought, I like how you think Dan. Telling OSU to worry about Tim Tebow and Brandon James. I hope to God those are the two players they're most worried about. Because the key to this game for UF will be getting the ball to Percy Harvin and Bubba Caldwell in situations where they can make a few moves to break open big gains. Things like screen passes and end arounds, if done properly, could be the biggest plays (for UF) of the game.

Tebow on short yardage will be huge, but only in 4th-and-short situations. Percy and Bubba are threats on most snaps, and are the key to opening up the game. Some longish completions to Dallas Baker the Touchdown Maker would be nice too.

I honestly have no idea about this game. OSU winning in a blowout wouldnt surprise me. A close game wouldnt surprise me. UF winning in a blowout wouldn't surprise me. I'm much more terrified after watching the Citrus Bowl, but the Rose Bowl gives me a little hope that maybe the Mich-ND game was something of a fluke and Michigan isn't as great as we thought they were. But really... I have no idea.

dawg gone round the world said...

for the poster commenting on SEC's wins over ranked opponents, LSU spanked ND, UGA beat the top ranked ACC team in VT, Auburn beat Nebraska.

TJ said...

as OSU realizes Florida can't run the ball

I don't think OSU is stupid enough to not know this in advance. Only, I also don't think you understand what you mean when you say "Florida can't run the ball." We don't have a RB to whom we can hand the ball off and let go about his business. But we do have WRs (and backup QBs) who have been very effective running the ball when the right plays are called. I think the key for OSU is stopping the plays that Urban will have designed to get Percy Harvin, Bubba Caldwell, and Tim Tebow the ball on running plays.

But then, this is just when UF has the ball. I don't know nearly enough about OSU to even begin to guess what OSU has to do on offense. Though I doubt they have 5 WRs who could start for UF--Bubba, Percy (even though he cant catch too well), and Dallas Baker are all legitimate stars at the WR position.

Anonymous said...

If OSU doesn't turn it over, Florida won't win.

That's as simple as I'll go.

Jared said...

I don't know what gives you the impression that Florida is close to OSU in talent, or that this game resembles OSU/UM from a few years ago. Troy Smith is much better (especially in big games) than Ken Dorsey, and Jim Tressel is a much better coach than Larry Coker. If Florida pulls off the miracle I don't think i'll be able to read your blog anymore, it'll be too biased/annoying.

Anonymous said...

Nah, Dan is convinced Smith is just like Dorsey.

Natsfan74 said...

I did mention the LSU win over a highly overrated ND team. As soon as I posted, I remembered UGA beat Tech. But I wouldn't call the Auburn win over Nebraska a win over a ranked team -- first Nebraska will not be in the final top 25. Second, that sorry game was a far cry from what Oklahoma and USC did to that same Nebraska team. I woulnd't use the Cotton Bowl as my defense of the strength of the SEC. For every Cotton Bowl, there's also an Outback Bowl and CapitalOne Bowl.

TJ said...

I think Smith is smart enough to exploit those matchups the become avaiable to him with the talent at the WR position allowing him to do so.

Yeah, that scares the shit out of me. Our defense has done a great job all year of not giving up the big play. WE give up quite a bit of passing yards each game, but it all comes on 8-yard out patterns and that sort of thing, and the other team can rarely keep it up over an entire drive.

The one game where we did give up big passing plays was the SEC championship game against Arkansas--a team without a passing game! So yes, OSU's passing game is ridiculously scary, but if we can get back into our groove of not giving up the big play, we have enough playmakers on defense that over the course of a sustained drive we have a chance to make some stops/turnovers happen.

TJ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TJ said...

Second, that sorry game was a far cry from what Oklahoma and USC did to that same Nebraska team.

I think the point of bringing up Auburn-Nebraska is that, sure, Auburn didn't beat them as bad as OK and USC did, but then OK and USC are each conference champions, while Auburn is the 4th (or maybe 5th or 6th) best team in the SEC.

The heroin sheik said...

First off when it comes to speed I would love to see who is actually the fastest player on the field. My money is on harvin being the fastest player in Div I ball, but honestly the speed is about the same. I think that at this point past records this season really don't count. Clearly the gators have had to go through a lot more adversity this year and had to play entirely too many close games but it has helped them bond as a team. OSU is probably better on paper and we all have our own biases. Dan's, mine and countless others are convinced the gators will win. The problem is that most people are biased towards the region in the country they live in. The midwest will always pick the Big 11 and the southerners will typically go with the SEC or ACC. I have to agree with troy in gville that in that I could see the game being either really close or a blowout either way. My one fear is this just like with the last OSU championship and just like when UF lost to Nebraska what might happen if a key player gets hurt early. I honestly thought the gators had a chance against the huskers but when they mangled quez green's hip in the first quarter it was like the wind went out of our sails similar to what I thought happened with Miami in 02. You never want to see anyone get hurt but what happens if OSu has to bring in zwick as their QB does their supposedly superior talent still matter? What if god forbid something happened to leak and tebow had to be the qb the rest of the way. Maybe the biggest x factor is who gets injured. All I know is that I am jealous as hell of my dad and brothers who are already knee deep in a bottle of gin in glendale whereas my PO wouldn't let me go to the game even though I had a ticket. This is going to be a great game. I still think the gators win by a chris hetland fieldgoal. As much luck as we have had this year that would be the most improbable thing ever.

pv845 said...


Jen said...

@ crumbum~

"If Florida pulls off the miracle I don't think i'll be able to read your blog anymore, it'll be too biased/annoying."

I second that!


Anonymous said...

I think I speak for all of us when I say...


Are you kidding? I thought we all agreed that you fell off the edge of the earth when Michigan got ROCKED by tOSU.

Apparently we were wrong.

But showing up after they got DRIVEN INTO THE GROUND LIKE A RAILROAD SPIKE againsts the Mighty Trojans? How strange.

You are like that celebrity that nobody hears from until one day someone mentions in passing and your response is "Oh him? I thought he was dead."

You know, without the celebrity thing.

Kevin said...

Why is nobody talking about the fact that Jim Tressel never comes up short in a big game? Isn't that one of the most important things here?

Jen said...

manningham...Get real. OSU played on the same turf, asshat. Why the heck would you think they messed it up on purpose? Thank goodness we are all smart enough to realize that you do NOT represent all Michigan fans when you talk.

EPorvaznik said...

>>Where is Ohio State's grit?>>

Hopefully, transplanted from the Horseshoe, where they stepped up against a Penn State defense that decided to find its way from Happy Valley after failing to show up in South Bend. Revenge game that -- dammit -- saw Troy Smith dig deep when he need to, in a game that was far closer than the final score indicated (Anthony Morelli, your head in your ass...ass, Morelli'd head).

Wow, defended Ohio State twice now and have not felt the need to take a shower. If I'd have know it was this painless, I would have dumped siding with the (usually) condescending U of M fans years ago.

That said, I still think it's gonna be a far closer game tonight than any Buckeye fans think it'll be.

Anonymous said...



Did you come back for a second helping of "Get the hell out of here"?

OSU Cheated? The Helmet-to-Helmet play was one of the most blantantly unnessesary, stupidest, dirtiest things I've ever seen.

I can't believe this blog has reverted backwards all the way down to the level of you speaking.

Jen said...

mannigham...Please tell me that you a student at Ann Arbor Community College and are just dreaming of being a Michigan student.

That is the second dumbest thing you have said in the past 25 minutes. I guess you are trying to make up for lost time.

Chaddogg said...

Calvin Johson declared for the NFL draft.....and in related news, Matt Millen has put Johnson's agent on his #1 speed dial setting.

In all seriousness, the Lions could actually use a WR....I'd just like to hear the laughs if they pick one. You know Matt has an itch to pick Johnson....

Anonymous said...

We lost to SC....but not to OSU

L @ OSU 39-42
L (Bowl) USC 18-32

I guess everyone else lost that memo.

Anonymous said...

Oakland and Detroit picking #1 & #2 were the biggest things that I hoped would keep CJ in school.

This will be the only time I wish Manningham was better than Johnson and could declare for the draft.

Anonymous said...

I'm perfectly willing to start a petition to Mr. Dan Shanoff himself to have all Manningham posts deleted.

Maningham Deletion of Posts Petition:


Anonymous said...


although I disagree very much with your username you are very astute

I mean all 3 of them could have posted within 55 seconds and be 3 different people....

EPorvaznik said...

(shaking head) And that helmet to helmet sack that sent Hart out of the PSU game was legal on what level? Lemme guess, he forgot to pack the right size cleats and he just slipped?

Horseshoes and hand grenades acknowledged, but still almost beat y'all with a third stringer.

EPorvaznik said...

On a lighter note, and for God's sake, people, be careful out there if you're playing drinking games involving when this commercial airs...

BLOOMINGTON, IN -- In a year in which Dwyane Wade single handedly carried the Miami Heat to their first NBA title, Ryan Howard bashed 58 home runs for the Phillies, and Roger Federer and Tiger Woods made history in their respective sports, there was no shortage of candidates for the title of Sportsman of the Year.

But the most influential figure in the sports world was not an athlete at all, but a man, armed with an acoustic guitar and a simple melody, who provided the rugged American soundtrack to the games we love. That man was recording artist John Mellencamp, the Brushback's 2006 Sportsman of the Year.

Mellencamp's inspirational anthem, "Our Country," has become synonymous with football, just as his corporate sponsor, Chevrolet, is synonymous with American values.

"The song 'Our Country' is like a modern version of 'America the Beautiful,' but better, because 'America the Beautiful' didn't sell Chevys," said Gary Pascoe, executive creative director of Campbell-Ewald, the agency that created the ads. "We really wanted to illustrate the parallel between the history of our great nation and the history of Chevrolet vehicles. Remember 9/11? We do. Remember Katrina? We were there. Chevy trucks helped carry aid and shit to the black people. And of course, John Mellencamp is the perfect spokesman for us, because he embodies the same values as Chevrolet, and because his career shit the bed about ten years ago."

Pascoe said the song resonates loudly with football fans because football fans are patriotic and patriotic people enjoy trucks.

"Most football viewers can no longer think about their favorite sport without humming 'Our Country,'" said Pascoe. "That's because it airs nearly a dozen times during each broadcast. We want to hammer home the point that buying Chevy trucks means supporting America, our troops, puppies, and work boots, whereas buying a different kind of truck means supporting terrorists. Also, people who own Chevy trucks like to haul things through the mud, while people who own, say, Fords, like to sit on their asses and collect welfare checks. Go back to Mexico, freaks. This is Our Country."

Mellencamp agreed to donate his song to Chevrolet, an American institution, in an effort to help the company navigate its way through a difficult transition period. The 55-year-old singer said he came up with the lyrics while driving through the cornfields of Indiana in his pickup truck.

"I was just thinking about this country and all the hard working men and women who make it so great, then I came up with the line 'I still believe there's a dream for everyone,'" said Mellencamp. "Now don't get me wrong, I don't actually believe that. I'm not that naive. But the idea is nice. Then I came up with the line 'Let the voice of freedom sing out through this land,' because I wanted something really generic and vague that sounded cool but didn't mean anything."

Mellencamp also said that he was honored and surprised to be named Sportsman of the Year.

"I can't say I ever expected to be named Sportsman of the Year. But I understand that I've been such a ubiquitous presence in the world of sports this year that I might as well be Brett Favre or Shaquille O'Neal. I'm really just a regular guy, though. I'm a Folk. 'Folks' are people who live in the Midwest, do manual labor, eat corn and own Golden Retrievers. America belongs to Folks. The rest of you can eat shit."

In response to the wild popularity of the "Our Country" ads, Chevy is planning another advertising blitz to coincide with the Super Bowl. Terry Radigan, spokesman for Chevrolet, said the ads will feature a football theme.

"Football is very American, and Super Bowl Sunday is the most American day of all because it brings us all together to celebrate America," Radigan said. "Our new ad will feature scenes of people playing football and will be aired three dozen times during the game. Then, when the game is over, the Super Bowl MVP will say 'From the east coast to the west coast down that Dixie highway back home. This is our country' instead of 'I'm going to Disney World.' Then we're going to debut a new, 10-minute version of the song. Then I'm going to blow my brains out."

Chevy is also working on a Spanish version of "Our Country" so Latino immigrants can hear it and be frightened into going back to their own countries where they belong.

From TheBrushback. com, Special to

Mikepcfl said...

If Florida does pull the upset, I think Leak should turn towards the Florida student section and give them a big "Fuck You" for the way the fans and local press have treated him the past few seasons. He seems to be a good kid and deserved much better.

TJ said...

I think Leak should turn towards the Florida student section and give them a big "Fuck You" for the way the fans and local press have treated him the past few seasons.

Leak's been treated pretty fairly by the fans, all things considered. There's a reason a huge "If you boo Chris Leak I will punch you in the face" group popped up on facebook the day after he was booed at the Swamp. It was to show all the stupid underclassmen (who were mostly responsible for the booing) that you don't do that shit.

TJ said...

I think everyone here finally agrees that it's a good thing UF was picked for the Title Game over Michigan--if only to spare us all from Manningham's BS over the past month.

Mega said...

OSU 24, FL 17.

Anonymous said...

Manningham Deletion of Posts Petition:

Sports on the Moon

I came to read wisdom about the game I am about to watch. I have not seen either OSU or Florida much this year, and I don't really have strong feelings toward either, but I am looking forward to it even though it should have been played a week ago.

Anonymous said...

While OSU didn't cheat (would you feel comfortable handicapping the opposition if it also hurt your own team?), the turf did have an effect on the OSU-UM game. Those were two of the top defenses in college football, and they allowed what, a combined 80+?

Anyway, I see a defining moment in this game where it's 3rd and 2, Tebow goes in, and he either slips past the OSU line or they smack him down for a loss. Tomorrow's articles on the game will include a photo of this. The other momentum shifter will be turnovers, like always.

But, for my money, I don't see how Chris Leak can win this game. Seems nice, but he's just not big game material. And Tebow is too young to outsmart an elite defense like OSU.

An aside: remember that time when Jake Plummer lobbed it out of his own end zone, trading a safety for a pick six? Even THINKING of doing something as stupid as blindly tossing it up, in-play, disqualifies you as a great QB. Actually doing it disqualifies you as a good one. For life. I'll call it the Jake Plummer Rule.

Well, Leak has broken that rule many times in his career. Will he do it again? We'll see.

Anonymous said...

A little clarification: the Jake Plummer Rule applies to all moronic decisions, not just the specific one relating to Plummer. Example: shovel pass into the other team's interior lineman, who hasn't touched a ball since pee wee football.

Anonymous said...

Who has the special teams advantage?

pv845 said...

These announcers are the worst. You would have figured they would have brought in another crew for this game.

Anonymous said...

wow wild game 7-7 already!!

Anonymous said...