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SEC and Big 12 Championship Game Reax

Posted: Dec 09, 2008

The college football regular season ended by giving us the matchup that made the most sense--the SEC Champion vs. the Big 12 Champion. The BCS title game should be a high-scoring, exciting affair and one that all of the fans in our Swampland footprint will appreciate. Florida will look to win its second National crown in three years while Oklahoma tries to erase past BCS frustration and win their second title this decade.

Florida earned their berth to the Title game with a hard-fought 31-20 victory over previously unbeaten Alabama. It was a very well-played contest where the Gators took over in the 4th quarter and willed their way to a win. In the end, the difference in the game was simply the quarterback position. The ability to make big plays and to get first downs when needed was paramount in this rugged Championship battle, and Tim Tebow was much more effective than counterpart John Parker Wilson. The Heisman trophy signal caller had a magical last quarter and led the Gators, without super-weapon Percy Harvin, to another conference crown in Atlanta. Both teams are extremely well-coached, and they proved why they are sitting atop the SEC pecking order and probably will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

Oklahoma continued their assault on Big 12 defenses with a resounding 62-21 thrashing of Missouri in the Big 12 Title tilt. Sam Bradford and the Sooners set an NCAA record with their 5th straight 60-point game and set up a much anticipated clash of a Big 12 offense and SEC defense in the Title game vs. Florida. Obviously, Oklahoma fans are thrilled to be headed to Miami to play for it all, but there will be a lot of pressure on Coach Bob Stoops because of the Sooners’ recent BCS failures. Fan expectations are at an all-time high in our Swampland footprint, but a National Title is a definite cure-all.

In other Championship news, Virginia Tech, who had lost to Boston College in two straight regular seasons, beat the Eagles for the second straight year in the ACC Championship Game. The Hokies’ 30-12 victory capped an up and down season for Frank Beamer’s club as well as America’s most “even” conference. ACC fans will say the parity shows the conference’s strength while others will say it’s just simply a weak league. When a four-loss team takes the crown, it shows that there is much room for improvement, and it becomes much tougher to shed the label of a “basketball” conference.

The team who opened the season by beating Virginia Tech, East Carolina, capped a great year with an impressive 27-24 win over high-flying Tulsa in the home stadium of the Golden Hurricane. The Pirates played mistake-free football while causing seven Tulsa turnovers as they captured their first Conference USA Championship. When a C-USA team plays well, there are the inevitable rumors of a coach leaving for a “higher profile” job. That is now the case for ECU head man Skip Holtz as many reports have him leaving East Carolina for Syracuse. I never thought I would ask the question “How much better is the ‘Cuse job than East Carolina?”, but you have to wonder, outside of the obvious increase in salary. I understand that all coaches like moving up to BCS leagues, but here’s to hoping Coach Holtz considers all factors before taking on a major rebuilding project in western New York.

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