2009 BCS Championship Game Preview and Picks – Florida Gators vs. Oklahoma Sooners

2009 BCS Championship Game

Florida Gators (12-1) -3, 70 O/U versus Oklahoma Sooners (12-1) +3,
70 O/U, Dolphins Stadium, Miami, Fla., 8:15 PM Eastern, Thursday,
January 8th, FOX

by Badger of Predictem.com

You can say all you want about the BCS and their system for deciding who plays in the title game, fair or unfair, it is what it is. But at
least it, their game, looks like it will be captivating as the 12-1
Florida Gators and All-American quarterback Tim Tebow take on Heisman
trophy winner Sam Bradford and his 12-1 Oklahoma Sooners for the
crystal ball in Dolphins Stadium in Miami January 8th.

Both teams survived an early season loss in the regular season to reach the title game.

Florida comes into the game with a little more momentum than the
Sooners. After losing to a surprising Ole Miss team at home in the
Swamp, 31-30, back in late September, the Gators ran the table the
rest of the way winning nine straight including a 31-20 victory over
Alabama in the SEC Championship game.

The Sooners suffered their lone setback versus rival Texas in early
October, 45-35, on a neutral field in the Cotton Bowl. They also ran
the table the rest of the way, winning seven straight, then needed
help from the BCS system to leapfrog Texas into the Big 12
Championship game where they quickly disposed of Missouri, 62-21.

Oddsmakers opened the title game with the Florida Gators as early 3-
point favorites. That number has held firm for over a month during
the early action at the window, although a few sportsbooks have raised it up a hook to Florida minus 3.5-points.

The over/under total is a different story. The total opened at 72
back in early December, and although some books still list it
at 72, for the most part the number has dropped to 71.5, 70.5 or even
70 at most offshore sportsbooks on the Internet. Shop around and
youre sure to get a total youll like, whether you want the 70 or
the 72.

On the moneyline, the Gators are currently listed as -165 favorites,
with the Sooners as +145 underdogs.

With two of the top signal callers in the nation, and a plethora of speed and skill athletes surrounding both of them, this game will surely feature plenty of offense.

Oklahoma finished the regular season ranked 3rd in total offense at
562.3 yards per game, with most of that total coming from the arm of
Bradford via the passing game (356.5 ypg 3rd). The Sooners also led
the entire NCAA in scoring with a 54.0 points per game average. They
will be without starting running back DeMarco Murray in the game due
to a knee injury he suffered in the Big 12 title game, but the
Sooners have Chris Brown (1,110 yds., 18 TD) to fill in his place so
dont shed a tear for Bob Stoops.

Florida also put up impressive numbers on offense this season, tallying 442.4 yards per game (18th) with a more balanced attack
(212.6 passing 61st; 229.8 running 11th) than the Sooners chuck-n-
duck attack. They also put up numbers in bunches, scoring 45.2 points
per game to finish 3rd in the country in that category. The Gators
also have a question mark at running back, as Percy Harvin missed the
Alabama game with a bad ankle, but reports from Florida say Harvin is
a go for the BCS game so expect him to be near 100 percent by game time.

Defensively is where this game will be made, and both teams have had
their successes and failures throughout the season.

Statistically, Florida is the stronger unit as they only allow 279.3
yards per game compared to Oklahomas 359.1 yards per game allowed
average. But the Oklahoma total was skewed due to the overall
strength of the Big 12 and its pass-happy offenses, as the Sooners
gave up 253.1 yards through the air every game to Floridas 174-ypg
average. On the scoreboard, where it ultimately counts the most, the
Gators allow just 12.8 points per game (5th), where as the Sooners
allow 24.5 points per game (57th).

Betting trends are all over the board in this game, but one thing
seems to jump out at you the over. Florida went over in eight of
their 12 games this year, while the Sooners did it in 11 of their 12.
Plus, the Sooners and their high-caliber offense have gone over the
total in 10 of their last 12 non-conference games, so its not just
Big 12 shootouts that are pushing the Sooners over the number.

Florida seems to play its best when the competition is tough, as they
are a rock-solid 15-3 ATS in their last 18 games versus teams with
winning records. Both teams finished the year with 10-2 ATS records,
so covering the spread is something both team do well.

Badgers Pick: So much emphasis will be placed on the offenses, and specifically the
quarterbacks, in this game that Im going the other way in this one.
Both defenses are filled with athletes and speed, and I expect both
defensive coordinators to throw everything AND the kitchen sink at
both QBs to disrupt timing and bring pressure. That said, I like
Tebows escapability to be the difference. Florida wins a close one,
with less scoring than most people predict. Florida 28 Oklahoma 24.

Jay Hornes Pick: The National Championship game will be an exciting game to watch as two electrifying offenses take the field. I can promise there will be
a lot of points scored in this game. The difference will be turnovers
and defense. The SEC has proved in recent years that their defenses
can control the big games. While I do not think the Florida defense
will shut down Oklahoma, I do believe they will be effective enough.
The Gators are as strong and dangerous offensively as Oklahoma, but
the Florida defense holds a big advantage over the Sooners defense.
Once again the SEC will claim the crown, the conference that breeds
National Champions. Florida 41 Oklahoma 31.

Wilsons Pick:
I think this game has all the hype and publicity as the USC vs. Texas
game of 2006. Both teams are probably from the toughest conferences
in college football, and they each have a Heisman winner behind center.

Tebow may be more mobile than Bradford, and perhaps feels less
pressure after he has already been through the whole media/talk show
circuit of the Heisman glory story, but I believe it will be Bradford
who gets the job done.

I like Bradford’s quick reactions and timely decision making. He is no “twinkle-toes Flintstone” but he has proven he can lead his team
to big wins. The Sooners no-huddle offense and hurried style has
worked all season outside of the Texas loss. Oklahoma has been on a 7-
game winning streak and should be fast enough on defense to slow down
the Gators and the Tebow show. Sooners win 35-31.