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BCS Championship Preview

January 08, 2007

BCS Championship - Ohio State Buckeyes (-7, 46) vs. Florida Gators 8:30 PM EST

When Ohio State has the ball

The Ohio State offense starts with quarterback Troy Smith, but certainly does not end there. The running game is 18th in the country (36th in passing) and features two solid backs in Antonio Pittman and Chris Wells.

If Florida's defense is forced to play more nickel coverage to match-up with wide receivers Ted Ginn and Anthony Gonzalez, then I expect OSU to pound both of their backs up the middle and test the interior of the Gators' defense.

One more note about Ohio State is they are 6th in the country in scoring offense, which means they are very efficient with their scoring opportunities.

When Florida has the ball

For Florida to win this game, they will need a monster effort from quarterback Chris Leak. Leak was a Heisman Trophy candidate earlier in the season, but he has not always stepped up in the big games this year, unlike the Heisman winning Smith. One positive note is that Florida is deep and talented at wide-out.

The Florida rushing attack is far less potent than OSU, with the second leading rusher on the team being backup quarterback, Tim Tebow. Tebow had no pass attempts in the SEC championship game against Arkansas, but he should be good for a half a dozen rush attempts, where he really stands out.

Game Summary

This is the third match-up this Bowl season between Big 10 and SEC teams. Wisconsin beat Arkansas 17-14, and Penn State beat Tennessee 20-10.

The lesson to be learned is that even if the SEC has better athletes than the Big 10, the Big 10 can still compete and win. While Florida does have an advantage in speed over OSU, it is not that significant.

The biggest advantage in this contest is Troy Smith over Chris Leak. Look for Leak to make some costly mistakes in this game, and the Buckeyes will prove their worth in the second half.

Prediction: Ohio State 30, Florida 20

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