Let the game begin
Published: Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 11:24 p.m.
FORT LAUDERDALE - Florida and Oklahoma players did their share of talking leading up to tonight's FedEx BCS title showdown at Dolphin Stadium.
Now, it's time to determine which team will back up its words.
Will Oklahoma make Florida quarterback Tim Tebow look like the fourth-best quarterback in the Big 12, as Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks suggested last weekend? Or will Florida's offense render Oklahoma's defense as another in a line of Big 12 defenses that middle linebacker Brandon Spikes referred to as a "joke" earlier this week.
The subplots - Big 12 vs. Southeastern Conference, two high-powered offenses and two coaches vying for their second BCS titles - are intriguing. Ultimately, though, both coaches agreed that it will come down to the team that plays the most physical and makes the fewest mistakes.
"We're facing great athletes and the minute you face great athletes and miss a tackle, you have a problem," Florida coach Urban Meyer said.
"We have worked as hard in the kicking game the last three weeks as we have for a bowl game.
"I don't know how to say this other than I really believe for us to win the game we have to be dominant as far as field position and return yards.
"If we don't do that, then I don't know if Florida can win this game."
Both coaches have championship pedigree. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, the defensive coordinator at Florida from 1996-98, led the Sooners to a BCS title in his second season in 2000. Likewise, Meyer led Florida to a BCS championship in his second season in 2006.
"It's exciting, always chasing them, always pursuing it," Stoops said. "We've got another opportunity."
Meyer downplayed the impact of Florida's previous BCS title experience in 2006. The Gators, as heavy underdogs, routed Ohio State 41-14 to claim the second national title in school history. Left tackle Phil Trautwein is the only returning starter from the group, though both Tebow and junior receiver Percy Harvin contributed to the win.
"We're talking about the plan to win," Meyer said. "We're talking about how we're going to execute and how we're going to win this game."
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