Thursday, January 4, 2007

Florida and Ohio State for the BCS Championship

BCS Championship Glendale, Arizona Jan 8PM FOX

#2 Florida vs #1 Ohio State
Line: -7.5, 46
8:00 PM ETW/LATSHAAFAAO/U
Florida 12-1-04-8-09-03-128.813.54-8-0
Ohio State 12-0-09-3-07-05-036.310.43-9-0

Quick Hits:
Florida Gators are 1-5 ATS in last 6
Florida Gators as Dog: 0-0

Ohio State Buckeyes 4-2 ATS in last 6
Ohio State Buckeyes are 2-5 O/U in last 7
Ohio State as Fav: 8-3 ATS, 3-8 O/U

Season Recap Florida Gators:
Best Wins: @Tenn 21-20, vLSU 23-10, vArk 38-28
Losses: @Aub 17-27
Record vs Bowl Teams: 8-1
Avg Score vs Bowl Teams: 26.5-13.9

Season Recap Ohio State:
Best Wins: @Texas 24-7, vMich 42-39
Losses: None
Record vs Bowl Teams: 7-0
Avg Score vs Bowl Teams: 35.4-12.6

Florida Gators Offense vs Ohio State Buckeyes Defense
21st in Total Offense vs 13th in Total Defense
26th in Passing Offense vs 29th in Passing Defense
36th in Rushing Offense vs 16th in Rushing Offense
32th in Points Per Game vs 2nd in Points Per Game Allowed

Key Matchups:
Florida O-line vs Ohio State Pass Rush
Chris Leak is having his best season in his four years quarterbacking the Gators and is one of the best pure passers in the nation. However, Leak's achilles heal like many QBs is that he does not do well when under constant pressure from defensive blitzes. The Gators will need to take care of the ball and have to limit their turnovers. The Florida O-Line must be able to protect Leak well.

Percy Harvin
Harvin is a game changer who can line up all over the field. The Buckeyes will need to know where he is at all times - RB, slot WR, H-back.

Tim Tebow Recognition
Tebow brings a dimension to the game that the Buckeyes have not seen much this year. The true freshman has not seen as much action down the stretch of the season, but I feel Meyer will have some sets for his future QB.

Ohio State Buckeyes Offense vs Florida Gators Defense
15th in Total Offense vs 10th in Total Defense
33rd in Passing Offense vs 51st in Passing Defense
18th in Rushing Offense vs 6th in Rushing Defense
7th in Points Per Game vs 6th in Points Per Game Allowed

Key Matchups:
Florida Front Four vs Ohio State O-Line
The Gator defensive line is one of the best in the nation and allows their linebackers to roam free and make tackles. The Buckeye line almost gave away the game against Michigan with some poor snaps and protection at times. If the Gators have to use linebackers to get pressure, this could open the gates for Troy Smith scrambling out of the pocket.

Ohio State Spread vs Florida DBs
The Buckeyes unveiled a new wrinkle against rival Michigan by using four and five WR sets a lot to spread the Wolverines out. I expect the Big 10 champs to do the same in Glendale and try to negate some of that speed Florida has on defense. The Gators have given up some yards through the air this season as they are only average against the pass nationally.

Special Teams
Neither team has faced returners this good during the season. Ted Ginn has been kept under wraps most of the year on the return game. The Gators needed their return game in a close call with Vanderbilt. However, Ohio State will have a decided advantage in the field goal kicking department as the Gators have struggled mightily with even the easiest of kicks.

Prediction:
Many are saying this game is a role reversal of the 2002 Fiesta Bowl where Miami came in as the big favorite and everybody thought Ohio State did not have a chance because of all the close games they had won. The problem with that theory is that Jim Tressell is still coaching the Buckeyes and there is nobody better in college football in a big game than Jim Tressell. Heisman QBs have also not fared very well in National Championship Games, but Troy Smith is maybe the most unassuming Heisman winner in the last 10 years. Florida's defense will keep them in this game, but Troy Smith will have one last magical play that will lift the Buckeyes to the BCS Championship.

Ohio State Wins, Florida Covers, Over

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