MIAMI GARDENS — It is time to decide the BCS 2008 national football champion. Finally, after 33 previous bowl games, the last two 12-1 teams standing — No. 1 Oklahoma of the Big 12 Conference and No. 2 Florida of the Southeastern Conference — are ready to battle for the title Thursday night at Dolphin Stadium. So here’s some information for your use while watching or listening to it and also while staying online with us at Gator County.
BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
FLORIDA GATORS (12-1) vs. OKLAHOMA SOONERS (12-1)
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009.
WHERE: Dolphin Stadium (72,230), Miami Gardens.
KICKOFF: 8:30 p.m. EST. (broadcast begins at 8 p.m.)
WEATHER: A cool front will push through South Florida Wednesday night with rain/thunderstorms. Thursday will have sunny skies in Miami-Fort Lauderdale with a day-time high expected to be 74 degrees. For kickoff, clear skies and winds from the NNW at 5-10 miles per hour will push the temperature at kickoff into the 50s (the low is expected to be 53 degrees in Fort Lauderdale).
IF YOU’RE GOING: The game is a sellout. Be prepared to pay a pretty penny to scalpers for tickets, which have a $175 face value. The Budweiser National Championship Tailgate Party presented by Allstate will be held from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the northwest bus parking lot of Dolphin Stadium.
THE LINES: Depending on who you believe, Florida is favored by 3-4 points and the total points is 70-72.
GATOR COUNTRY.COM PLANS: Buddy Martin, Brady Ackerman, Mark McLeod, John Fineran and guests will be simulcasting a live radio-television show on the internet from 7-10 a.m. Thursday at the Gator Country.com hotel, the Sheraton Yankee Clipper, in Fort Lauderdale. A special pre-game show will be carried on Gator Country TV only from 10-11 a.m. Bulletins and important updates will be posted as the day goes on. Following the game, a short post-game television show is planned. If Florida wins the game, Gator Country will televise Urban Meyer’s press conference live at 10 a.m. from the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale. It will be followed by a TV. All this and much, much more in stories and statistics and updates on http://www.gatorcountry.com.
TV: FOX (Thom Brennaman, play-by-play; Charles Davis, color analyst; Chris Myers, sideline reporter).
RADIO: Gator Radio Network (Mick Hubert, play-by-play; Lee McGriff, color analyst; Steve Babik, sideline reporter/pre-game; Scot Brantley, pre-game; Travis McGriff, pre-game). Flagship station: WFXJ-AM (930) Jacksonville. Affiliate stations: WWBF-AM (1130) Bartow; WPHK-FM (102.3) Blountstown; WWJB-AM (1450) Brooksville; WBGC-AM (1240) Chipley; WAFC-FM (99.5) Clewiston; WXCV-FM (95.3) Crystal River; WDCF-AM (1350) Dade City; WMYR-AM (1600) Fort Myers; WRUF-FM (103.7) Gainesville; WRUF-AM (850) Gainesville; WKWF-AM (1600) Key West; WUCR-FM (107.9) Lake Butler; WNFB-FM (94.3) Lake City; WDSR-AM (1340) Lake City; WONN-AM (1230) Lakeland; WQHL-AM (1250) Live Oak; WMEL-AM (1300) Melbourne; WFTL-AM (850) Miami; WCNZ-AM (1660) Naples; WSBB-AM (1230) New Smyrna Beach; WMOP-AM (900) Ocala; WMOP-FM (100.1) Ocala; WFLF-AM (540) Orlando; WPLK-AM (800) Palatka; WFLF-FM (94.5) Panama City; WDIZ-AM (590) Panama City; WTKE-FM (98.1) Pensacola; WPSL-AM (1590) Port St. Lucie; WLSS-AM (930) Sarasota; WWTK-AM (730) Sebring; WAOC-AM (1420) St. Augustine; WSTU-AM (1450) Stuart; WUTL-FM (106.1) Tallahassee; WDAE-AM (620) Tampa; WEFL-AM (760) West Palm Beach; WZHR-AM (1400) Zephyrhills).
Sooner Radio Network (Bob Barry Sr., play-by-play; Merv Johnson, color analyst; Trent Smith, sideline reporter). Flagship stations: KOKC-AM (1520) Oklahoma City; KRXO-FM (107.7) Oklahoma City; KFAQ-AM (1170) Tulsa. Also Sirius satellite channel 122; XM Radio channel 104.
ESPN Radio (Brent Musburger, play-by-play; Kirk Herbstreit, color analyst; Lisa Salters, sideline reporter). Affiliates: WGGG-AM (1230) Gainesville; WHBO-AM (1040) Tampa; WHOO-AM (1080) Pine Hills/Orlando; WJSJ-FM (105.3) Fernandina Beach; WQAM-AM (560) Miami; WWCN-AM (770) Fort Myers; WFFG-AM (1300) Marathon; WINT-AM (1560) Melbourne; W26IBA (101.1) Ocala; WELE-AM (1380) Ormond Beach. Also Sirius satellite channel 120.
TEAM INFORMATION: Oklahoma, No. 1 final BCS rankings, is the home team and will wear its red jerseys and white pants. The Sooners will use the south-side bench. Florida, No. 2, is the visiting team and will wear its white jerseys and blue pants. The Gators will use the north-side bench.
COACHES: Florida is coached by Urban Meyer, who is in his fourth season with the Gators and is 43-9 (.827) with a 41-14 victory over No. 1 Ohio State in the 2006 BCS National Championship at Glendale, Ariz., to his credit. Meyer is 82-17 (.828) in eight seasons as a head coach with previous stops at Bowling Green (2001-02) and Utah (2003-04).
Oklahoma is coached by Bob Stoops, the Gators defensive coordinator on Steve Spurrier’s 1996 Florida national championship team. Stoops is 109-23 (.826) in 10 seasons as a head coach, all at Oklahoma, and won the 2000 BCS National Championship with a 13-2 victory over Florida State at the Orange Bowl. The Sooners also reached the BCS National Championship games in 2003 (Sugar Bowl) and 2004 (Orange Bowl), losing 21-14 to Louisiana State and 55-19 to Southern California, respectively.
SERIES: This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
FLORIDA IN 2008: The Gators finished 12-1 overall and 7-1 in the Southeastern Conference East Division.
Schedule and results: 8-30: HAWAI’I W, 56-1; 9-6: MIAMI, FLA. W, 26-3; 9-20: at Tennessee W, 30-6; 9-27: MISSISSIPPI L, 30-31; 10-4: at Arkansas W, 38-7; 10-11: LOUISIANA STATE W, 51-21; 10-25: KENTUCKY W 63-5; 11-1: Georgia at Jacksonville W, 49-10; 11-8: at Vanderbilt W, 42-14; 11-15: SOUTH CAROLINA W, 56-6; 11-22: THE CITADEL W, 70-19; 11-29: at Florida State W, 45-15; 12-6: Alabama in SEC Championship at Atlanta W, 31-20.
Rankings: No. 1 Associated Press media poll; No. 1 Harris Interactive poll; No. 1 Legend Coaches Association poll; No. 2 USA Today coaches’ poll; No. 2 Bowl Championship Series final rankings.
NCAA team statistics: Rushing offense, 229.77 yards a game (11); Passing offense, 212.62 ypg (62); Pass efficiency offense, 174.36 (4); Total offense, 442.38 ypg (17); Scoring offense, 45.15 points per game (3); Rushing defense, 105.31 ypg (15); Passing defense, 174.00 ypg (15); Pass efficiency defense, 94.17 (2); Total defense, 279.31 ypg (7); Scoring defense, 12.85 ppg (4); Net punting, 37.95 yards (9); Punt returns, 14.41 yards (8); Kickoff returns, 21.83 yards (49); Turnover margin, 1.69 (2); Sacks, 2.46 per game (T30); Tackles for loss, 5.15 per game (87); Sacks allowed, 1.23 (16).
NCAA individual statistics: Pass Efficiency, Tim Tebow (3) 176.74; Total offense, Tim Tebow (41) 236.85 yards per game; Interceptions, Ahmad Black (T10) 0.46 per game and Brandon Spikes (T40) 0.33 per game; Punt returns, Brandon James (13) 14.14 yards; Kickoff returns, Brandon James (58) 23.69 yards; Field goals, Jonathan Phillips (T72) 0.85 per game; Scoring, Percy Harvin (18) 8.73 ppg and Jonathan Phillips (T24) 8.31 ppg; All-purpose runners, Brandon James (87) 103.15 yards per game and Percy Harvin (88) 103.00 ypg; Tackles for loss, Carlos Dunlap (T99) 0.92 per game.
2009 schedule: (Subject to change) 4-18: ORANGE AND BLUE, 1 p.m.; 9-5: CHARLESTON SOUTHERN; 9-12: TROY; 9-19: TENNESSEE; 9-26: at Kentucky; 10-10: at Louisiana State; 10-17: ARKANSAS (homecoming); 10-24: at Mississippi State; 10-31: Georgia at Jacksonville; 11-7: VANDERBILT; 11-14: at South Carolina; 11-21: FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL; 11-28: FLORIDA STATE; 12-5: SEC Championship Game at Atlanta.
OKLAHOMA IN 2008: The Sooners finished 12-1 overall and 7-1 in the Big 12 South Division (tied with Texas).
Schedule and results: 8-30: CHATTANOOGA W, 57-2; 9-6: CINCINNATI W, 52-26; 9-13: at Washington W, 55-14; 9-27: TEXAS CHRISTIAN W, 35-10; 10-4: at Baylor W, 49-17; 10-11: Texas at Dallas L, 35-45; 10-18: KANSAS W, 45-31; 10-25: at Kansas State W, 58-35; 11-1: NEBRASKA W, 62-28; 11-8: at Texas A&M W, 66-28; 11-22: TEXAS TECH W, 65-21; 11-29: at Oklahoma State W, 61-41; 12-6: Missouri in Big 12 Championship at Kansas City W, 62-21.
Rankings: No. 1 in USA Today coaches’ poll; No. 1 in Bowl Championship Series final rankings; No. 2 in Associated Press media poll; No. 2 in Harris Interactive poll; No. 2 in Legends Coaches Association poll.
NCAA team statistics: Rushing offense, 205.54 yards per game (18); Passing offense, 356.54 ypg (3); Pass efficiency offense, 180.92 (1); Total offense, 562.08 (3); Scoring offense, 54.00 points per game (1); Rushing defense, 106.00 ypg (16); Passing defense, 253.08 ypg (99); Pass efficiency defense, 117.14 (43); Total defense, 359.08 ypg (62); Scoring defense, 24.54 ppg (58); Net punting, 33.84 yards (82); Punt returns, 8.29 yards (71); Kickoff returns, 25.17 (5); Turnover margin, 1.77 per game (1); Sacks, 3.23 per game (3); Tackles for loss, 7.77 per game (8); Sacks allowed, 0.85 per game (3).
NCAA individual statistics: Rushing, Chris Brown (47) 85.38 and DeMarco Murray (T55) 77.08; Pass efficiency rating, Sam Bradford (1) 186.28; Total offense, Sam Bradford (4) 348.38 ypg; Receptions per game, Juaquin Iglesias (48) 5.31 per game and Jermaine Gresham (T82) 4.46; Receiving yards per game, Juaquin Iglesias (27) 84.00, Jermain Gresham (54) 68.31 and Manuel Johynson (97) 57.08; Interceptions, Lendy Holmes (T28) 0.38 per game, Dominique Franks (T54) 0.31 and Travis Lewis (T54) 0.31; Punting average, Mike Knall (98) 36.37 yards per kick; Punt returns, Ryan Broyles (39) 9.70 yards; Kickoff returns, DeMarco Murray (10) 27.64 yards; Scoring, Chris Brown (T2) 9.69 points per game, Jimmy Stevens (14) 8.92 and DeMarco Murray (T24) 8.31; All-purpose runners, DeMarco Murray (8) 167.00 yards per game and Juaquin Iglesias (68) 111.92; Sacks, Jeremy Beal (36) 0.65 per game, Gerald McCoy (T67) 0.50 per game and Auston English (95) 0.45 per game; Tackles, Travis Lewis (T10) 10.54 per game; Tackles for loss, Jeremy Beal (T61) 1.08 per game and Travis Lewis (T99) 0.92 per game.
2009 schedule: (Subject to change) 9-5: Brigham Young at Arlington, Texas (New Cowboy Stadium opener); 9-12: at Miami, Fla.; 9-19: TBA; 9-26: TBA; 10-10: BAYLOR; 10-17: Texas at Dallas; 10-24: at Kansas; 10-31: KANSAS STATE; 11-7: at Nebraska; 11-14: TEXAS A&M; 11-21: at Texas Tech; 11-28: OKLAHOMA STATE; 12-5: Big 12 Championship Game at Kansas City.
GATOR CHOMPS: Florida is looking to become only the fourth team in history to win two national championships in three years. The others are Oklahoma (1955-56), Miami (1987, ’89) and Nebraska (1994, ’95). … Tim Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, is looking to become only the second Heisman winner to win a national championship since the origin of the BCS in 2000. He would join Matt Leinart who won his Heisman in 2004 and then led Southern California to a 55-19 victory over Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game at Dolphin Stadium following the 2004 season. … This is only the second time two Heisman Trophy winners will pair off in the game. Before Sam Bradford (the 2008 winner) and Tebow there was Leinart (2004) and Oklahoma’s Jason White (2003). … Urban Meyer is trying to become only the second coach to win two BCS National Championships and Florida is looking to join SEC rival Louisiana State with its second BCS national title (The Tigers won the 2003 BCS national title with Nick Saban as coach and won the 2007 title with Les Miles as coach). … Florida enters the game with a 16-19 (.457) record in bowl games and is 1-4 against teams from the Big 12 Conference. The Gators have not faced a Big 12 foe since losing 62-24 to Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl following the 2005 season. … Florida has the current SEC record bowl streak at 18, which is second only to Florida State’s 26. … This is Florida’s 15th January bowl game in the past 16 seasons. … Meyer is 4-1 as a head coach in bowl games (2-0 at Utah and 2-1 at Florida). … The Gators are 3-1 in BCS games, their only loss a 37-20 setback to No. 3 Miami in the 2000 Sugar Bowl. … The Gators will be seeking their third national title to go with the ones they won in 2006 and 1996.
SOONERS AND LATERS: Bob Stoops has actually been a coach of two national champions. He was the defensive coordinator on Steve Spurrier’s 1996 national championship team at Florida and then he directed Oklahoma to the 2000 national title with a 13-2 victory over Florida State in the Orange Bowl. … Stoops’ quarterback that night was Josh Heupel, the 2000 Heisman runner-up to FSU’s Chris Weinke and now the quarterbacks coach for the Sooners. … Whichever team wins will make its coach a two-time BCS national champion. Stoops was asked what it would mean to him? “Well, nothing unless we’re the one that wins it.” … Stoops isn’t the only Sooner with ties to Florida. Jerry Schmidt, the team’s director of sports enhancement (weight-training coach) was at Florida from 1995-99. And the only player from Florida on the team is Brett Bowers, a junior defensive back who played at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville. … Stoops not only paid respect to Spurrier for influencing him (along with Kansas State’s Bill Snyder and Iowa’s Hayden Fry) but he also said he learned from assistant coaches he work with, including Florida’s current defensive line coach Dan McCarney, the former head coach at Iowa State, current Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz and former Wisconsin head coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez, who will be here Thursday night working with the FOX Sports pre- and post-game crew. … Oklahoma has won seven national titles (1950, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1985 and 2000) and made 42 bowl appearancdes, winning 24 games. … With a victory Thursday night, Stoops would be 110-23 with two national championships, the same totals that legendary Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer (who is also working with FOX Sports) had after 10 seasons.