Monday, January 5, 2009

BCS Championship Game: 3 Questions For Oklahoma

As we inch closer to the BCS Championship Game on Thursday night, I take a look at the three biggest questions facing Oklahoma in their quest for the BCS Championship. (Florida Questions Link)

1. How does Heisman Winner Sam Bradford Perform?

The track record for Heisman trophy winners in bowl games and especially national championship games is not good as of late. The Heisman winner has so many banquets to attend and media commitments, the time away from football seems to be a hindrance on their preparation for the biggest game of their life.

Last year, Tim Tebow looked slow against a perceived unathletic Michigan defense. 2006 winner Troy Smith got bullrushed by Florida in Tempe. Reggie Bush had a sub par game against Texas for the 2005 title, including one huge mental blunder on the failed lateral attempt. The last Heisman trophy winner to have a good bowl game was Matt
Leinart in 2004. And Sooner fans don’t need reminding of 2003 winner Jason White’s performance in the Sugar Bowl that year.

2. Will Oklahoma Press On Offense If They Start Out Slow?

The Sooners have five straight games scoring 60 points or more and six games scoring at least 58 points. They are used to scoring a lot of points. What happens if the Sooners have just 7 points mid way through the 2nd quarter? It is not that far fetched since Oklahoma will be playing the 4th best scoring defense in the nation at 13 ppg.

If the Gators defense can hold Oklahoma like they have other opponents, how does Oklahoma react? Do they start pressing? Do they get out of the comfort zone on offense? The last time Oklahoma was out of their comfort zone on offense was against Texas back in mid October.

3. What Is The Impact of Losing DeMarco Murray?

The starting Sooner running back is out for the BCS Championship game due to a hamstring injury. Backups Chris Brown and Mossis Madu will likely share the running duties in Murray's absence. The Sooners still had 243 yards rushing against Missouri with two backups, but Florida's rush defense allows just 103 ypg on the ground. The best rush defense the Sooners faced all year was Texas' and Bob Stoops club gained just 48 yards rushing in the loss.

Let me say something on the “bulletin board material” provided by Oklahoma DB Dominique Franks this week. It should have no effect on the game. The only way I think it affects the game is if Franks backs off the comments. I think that would put him in a retreat mode heading into the game which isn’t good for a player playing on defense where aggression is necessary.

But if Florida needs this to get motivated to beat Oklahoma in this game then the Gators don’t have a chance. Once you get knocked to the ground one time then all that motivation and emotion from “bulletin board material” goes out the window.

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