- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2008

Florida will meet Oklahoma on Jan. 8 in Miami in a title game likely to resemble a track meet.

Confirming the worst fears of Texas fans everywhere, college football’s oft-abused formula spit out a matchup between the Gators (12-1) and Sooners (12-1) after the pair posted victories in their conference title games Saturday.

Florida entered the fourth quarter trailing top-ranked and unbeaten Alabama 20-17 but rallied to a 31-20 victory behind a flawless final quarter from quarterback Tim Tebow. He finished with 216 passing yards and three touchdowns to go with 57 yards on the ground to give the Gators the SEC title and the top spot in the AP poll.

“Every time they needed to make a play, Tim Tebow made the plays that made the difference in the game,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “They have a lot of confidence he’s going to make plays, and they play that way.”

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford then made his final Heisman Trophy pitch as the Sooners destroyed Missouri 62-21 in the Big 12 title game, effectively slamming the door on the Longhorns’ title hopes. Texas beat Oklahoma 45-35 on a neutral field Oct. 7 but finished in a tie atop the Big 12 South standings with Oklahoma and Texas Tech (11-1).

Calculated using two sets of human rankings and six sets of computer rankings, the BCS standings were used to break the tie and determine the division’s representative in Kansas City, Mo. The Sooners strengthened their case by throttling the Tigers (9-4) to become the first team since Tulsa in 1919 to score 60 points or more in five consecutive games.

Not only did the Sooners boast a far stronger nonconference schedule - which included victories against TCU and Cincinnati - than Texas, Oklahoma also reinvented the concept of style points down the stretch. The Sooners led the nation in scoring (54.0 points) - Florida ranks third at 45.2 - and rank behind only the 1944 Army squad (56.0 points) as the most explosive team in NCAA history.

Beyond their Heisman-worthy quarterbacks and electric offenses, the pair also boast an eerily similar dominance in turnover margin. Oklahoma leads the nation in the category (plus-23), and Florida ranks second (plus-22). Given the SEC’s recent run of supremacy in title-game matchups, Florida’s superior defense and the dubious status of Oklahoma tailback DeMarco Murray, expect the Gators to open as a favorite by somewhere in the neighborhood of six points.

Who deserves the Heisman? Strong cases can be made for Bradford, Tebow and Texas’ Colt McCoy. Perhaps Bradford has a slight edge after shattering the NCAA’s single-season record for passing efficiency (186.3), courtesy of his absurd 48-6 touchdown-interception ratio and 4,464 passing yards.

For the second time in four seasons, logic dictates that voting for college football’s most prestigious individual award should be postponed until after the title game. That change should have been adopted after Vince Young made a mockery of Reggie Bush’s Heisman victory in the 2006 Rose Bowl.

Game balls and gassers - Kudos to Rutgers and quarterback Mike Teel. The senior put an exclamation point on the Scarlet Knights’ six-game winning streak by passing for a career-best 447 yards and seven touchdowns in Rutgers’ 63-14 rout of Louisville on Thursday night.

The gasser goes to Texas fans who can’t seem to deal with their BCS lot. A particularly amusing message trailed a plane that buzzed the Big 12 title-game introductions at Arrowhead Stadium: “Enjoy the BeatByTexas.com Bowl.”

Auburn fans handled their disappointment with far more aplomb in 2005 - and that was a 13-0 team from the SEC getting snubbed by the system.

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