Key Matchups for the BCS Championship

When the Gators and Sooners match up Thursday night for all the marbles, there will be several spots on the field that will be watched closely. My eyes will be focused early on several areas of the game to see what happens and see if there is a favorable match up significantly one way or the other. In some cases it could be even, in others these match ups could be the deciding factors in the game.

Florida Defensive Line vs. Oklahoma Offensive Line

The Gator defensive line has its work cut out for them in the game, but the jury is still out on whether Oklahoma can handle a quick and fast defensive line like Florida's. OU has struggled against stronger run defenses this season and Florida may be the best run defense they will see all season. Florida's line isn't necessary a play making line, but they do hold the line and not allow rushing yards for the most part. The key may be if Florida can get a pass rush going against a team that prides itself on not giving up sacks. I believe the Gators will be up for the task.

OU Kickoff Coverage vs. UF Kick Return

The Sooners have struggled in covering kickoffs and Brandon James is due for a huge kickoff return. James has scored twice on punt coverage but has yet to return a kickoff that isn't called back by penalty. The Gators need to keep their hands in the right position and let James work his magic.

Gator Secondary vs. OU Receivers

The Sooners have a variety of weapons in the passing game including a 1,000-yard receiver in Juaquin Iglesias and a big time tight end that leads the team in scoring. The Gators counter with a very young but improved and talented secondary. This will be an interesting part of the game with the youth vs. experience and maturity taking center stage. This Florida secondary has quickly become one of the best ever at Florida and has most of the 24 interceptions on the season which are a Florida record. They will give up some points and yards, but this will be the best secondary the Sooners have faced all year. The Sooners receivers are very talented and certainly the deepest group the Gators have faced. This should be where all the eyes are during the game.

Florida Offensive Line vs. Oklahoma Defensive Line

This is my pick for the biggest mismatch in the game. I believe Florida will be the most physical offensive line the Sooners have faced all year. The size of the Gator line is a tremendous advantage. With the size and their exceptional quickness, I think it is more than the Sooners are used to and more than they can handle. OU has a first team All-American DT in Gerald McCoy, but he isn't particularly massive and the Gators have faced much bigger and stronger. Not slighting his talent, but he can't do it all himself.

Brandon Spikes vs. the Oklahoma Running Game

Spikes will have to play at a high level and will have to try and help shut down a running game that produced two – 1,000-yard rushers in 2008. DeMarco Murray is one of those 1,000-yard rushers and will miss the game, but the Sooner rushing attack is very impressive. As much as the defensive line needs to play their gap assignments in the running game, Spikes needs to be there to plug the holes and gaps in the line and not miss tackles. Spikes has done that all season long and there is no reason to believe that it won't happen again in the most important game of his career.


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