Wednesday, January 14, 2009
(From the NFF and other sources)
· National Football Champions: Florida (NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision); Richmond (NCAA Football Championship Subdivision); Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA Division II); Mount Union (NCAA Division III); University of Sioux Falls (NAIA)
· The Florida-Oklahoma national championship game attracted 26.8 million viewers to Fox Sports, and the four BCS bowls drew an average of more than 16 million viewers (the highest ratings in the three years Fox has televised the games).
· Viewership for the 23 bowls televised by ESPN and ESPN2 was up more than 8% from last season’s figures (if you wonder why ESPN wanted the BCS games there you go).
· Conference records in bowls (sorted by alpha): ACC (4-6); Big 12 (4-3); Big East (4-2); Big Ten (1-6); C-USA (4-2); MAC (0-5); Mountain West (3-2); PAC 10 (5-0); SEC (6-2); Sun Belt (1-1); WAC (1-4); Independents (1-1).
· 2010 BCS Schedule (2009 season): Rose Bowl ABC (Jan. 1); Sugar FOX (Jan. 1); Fiesta FOX (Jan. 4); Orange FOX (Jan. 5); BCS Title Game FOX (Pasadena Jan. 7).
(From the SEC and other sources)
· The SEC paced the nation in attendance by drawing an overall total of 6.4 million fans in 2008. In 83 home dates, the SEC averaged 76,832 fans per game (the highest average in NCAA history). SEC games averaged 98.41% capacity (highest since 1999).
· Florida won the BCS national championship for the second time in three seasons by defeating Oklahoma 24-14 on Jan. 8 in Miami. The title gives the SEC its third consecutive national championship, its fifth title in the eleven years of the BCS and its seventh crown since 1992 (when the league expanded to twelve teams and added a conference championship game).
· Heading into 2009, the SEC is the only conference to have four coaches who have won a national championship as a head coach (Urban Meyer 2006 and 2008 at Florida; Les Miles 2007 at LSU; Nick Saban 2003 at LSU; Steve Spurrier in 1996 at Florida). Last year the league had five such coaches (including Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee).
· For much of the season, the common perception lingered that the SEC was down in 2008, but in the final polls the league placed four teams (Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss) in the top 15 of the final AP and USA Today coaches polls (the most of any conference).
· The conference finished the 2008-09 bowl season with a mark of 6-2, making the SEC 19-7 in the past three seasons (no other conference has won more than 12 bowl games in that span).
· The SEC posted a 43-13 non-conference mark in 2008, a percentage of .767 – tops in the nation among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams (FBS). That is the third straight season the SEC topped that category.
· A fact I found interesting was that every SEC team has reached the 7-win mark at least once in the past two seasons.
· The conference will welcome three new coaches in 2009: Gene Chizik at Auburn; Lane Kiffin at Tennessee, Dan Mullen at Mississippi State.
Friday, January 9, 2009
2008 National Champions: Florida Gators
The Florida Gators wrapped up the 2008-09 bowl season with a 24-14 BCS Championship Game victory over Oklahoma.
As always, quarterback Tim Tebow served as the primary catalyst for the Gators, rushing for 109 yards, passing for 231 and two touchdowns, and providing the throw-back toughness and leadership that no longer seems unusual only because we expect it from him. Many commercial sites have thorough reviews of the game ... my favorite is probably Pat Forde's profile of Tebow on ESPN.com. Whether you are a Florida fan or not, the young man is impressive on and off the field.
Congratulations to Florida.
Bowl Season Wrapup
Professor's Picks finished the bowl season with a 21-13 record.
That middling W-L mark does not compare so well with last year's 24-8 run, but does include a correct prediction in the BCS title game for the sixth straight season (LSU over Oklahoma, USC over Oklahoma, Texas over USC, Florida over Ohio State, LSU over Ohio State, Florida over Oklahoma).
The regular season Prof's Pick predictions finished at 68-24 this year as compared to 73-21 and 78-17 the previous two campaigns.
Also, particular congratulations on prognostication should go the staff at Game Day Weekly (especially Stan Hall and Max Howell) for correctly predicting Florida over OU in the title game at the start of our preseason rankings. We at GDW had Florida #1 at the start of the season at a time when many did not pick the Gators to win the East Division of the SEC.
Two posts should be forthcoming in the next week or so. First will be a look back at the 2008 college football season with national and SEC reviews.
Then, a question that has been on my mind a while: Is Tim Tebow the greatest college football player ever? I've put some thought into this (and as a Georgia and Notre Dame fan it is a bit painful at times) but that has become a legitimate question. His legacy is secure no matter what, but if he comes back in 2009 Tebow might well be remembered as the very best.
Check back soon at The Campus Game for an analysis of the Gator great's place in posterity.
Thanks to all of you who take the time to visit the site and read about America's most exciting sport- college football - The Campus Game!
Monday, January 5, 2009
A Southern Thing
Florida vs. Oklahoma
BCS Championship Game
Dolphin Stadium, Miami
Jan. 8 at 7:30 ET on Fox
Pass the gravy and biscuits.
Hope that tea you had on New Year's Day to wash down the black-eyed peas, turnip greens, and buttered cornbread was iced cold and plenty sweet.
Learn to say yes sir (to your daddy), no ma’am (to your mama), and y’all (about a group - never just one person).
Hey this BCS business is getting to be a regular southern thing, so everybody might as well get in the spirit.
The Oklahoma Sooners and Florida Gators meet in the BCS national championship game on January 8th, and if the Gators swamp the Sooner Schooner you might as well just whistle Dixie.
The SEC wins more than the Harlem Globetrotters. More than Lance Armstrong. More than Michael Phelps. OK, maybe not more than him.
Still, a Florida victory in the title game would mark the third consecutive national championship for a team from the Southeastern Conference (LSU in 2007 and Florida in 2006), only the second time in the history of national polling that has happened.
The first? Big surprise, it was the you-know-who when Alabama won the AP in 1978 and 1979, followed by Georgia in 1980. Gee, these teams are greedier than Blago. Only the coaches have better hair than he does.
Heading into this holiday slate, the SEC was 9-2 in BCS bowls since the 2000 regular season. In addition to those past two national titles, the league had won its last four BCS games before Utah upset Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. By way of contrast, the ACC was 0 for its last 8 in the Big Cha-ching Series until Virginia Tech beat prestigious Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl ... or maybe that was in a basketball game.
Finally, the SEC is undefeated in BCS title games this millennium (LSU in 2003 joining the 2006 Florida and 2007 LSU teams). Putting these teams in the championship game is like watching Tiger Woods play in your Saturday morning foursome ... fun, in a scary, intimidating, I hope he's in a good mood way.
The conference not only plays well on the field, they tend to be closer than Al Franken and voter fraud off it.
Call it provincialism or regional pride, but my guess is a vast majority of fans from the other SEC schools will be pulling for the Gators to win Thursday night. They may be the Hatfields and McCoys against each other, but these SEC boosters turn into Butch and Sundance taking on the Bolivian Federales when them durn outsiders get involved.
Think Oklahoma will get many Texas Longhorns or Texas Tech Red Raiders aboard the Sooner Schooner? Heck, I half expect Mack Brown to wear a Gator head on the sideline in tonight's Fiesta Bowl.
All that said, to repeat the SEC threepeat Florida will have to overcome a significant obstacle in Oklahoma.
The Sooners boast the most prolific scoring offense since Elvis was still skinny. OU averaged 54 points per game, a full ten points higher than the second best team in the scoring-happy Big 12. QB Sam Bradford, winner of this season’s Heisman Trophy, threw for 48 TDs with only 6 interceptions, while completing over 68% of his passes.
Oklahoma’s offense is not one-dimensional.
Tailbacks Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray (now injured) each rushed for over 1000 yards and they combined for 34 rushing touchdowns. The Sooner offensive line, anchored on the left side by All-Americans Phil Loadholt (tackle) and Duke Robinson (guard), is widely considered to be the nation’s best.
The Oklahoma defense did not perform to the typical standards of head coach Bob Stoops this season, giving up nearly a full touchdown more than conference rival Texas, but the Sooners still ranked in the Big 12’s top two in total defense and scoring defense.
The Sooners face a Florida team on a mission.
The only hiccup in the Gator season happened when Ole Miss overcame a ten-point deficit in the second half to beat Florida in Gainesville on September 27. Since that loss, and an emotional outburst by QB Tim Tebow after the game, the Gators have played with the intensity of a wolf tracking down a deer.
Florida led the SEC in scoring by averaging 46 points per game, a whopping 14 points better than runners-up Alabama and Georgia. Defensively, UF was in the conference top three in virtually every major category.
Statistics aside, make no mistake that this team belongs to Tebow.
In an SEC championship game for the ages against top-ranked Alabama, Tebow willed his team to overcome a fourth-quarter deficit against the rawhide tough Crimson Tide.
One minute he was throwing lasers to a bevy of Florida receivers, the next he was bull-rushing in short-yardage situations, and then he was hollering at defensive leader Brandon Spikes or busting into the huddle of the kick coverage team to fire them up. I think he also vaccinated some children in southeast Asia at halftime.
For all the intangibles of Tebow and the Gators, the Oklahoma Sooners are not another Ohio State, and this showdown should be the best national championship game since Texas and USC after the 2005 season.
Maybe it’s a southern thing, but until an SEC team loses a title game … all together now ... look away, look away, look away Dixie Land.
Bowl Ball: Florida