Monday, December 04, 2006

Ohio State vs. Florida: An Early Breakdown

Two weeks after Ohio State ended a perfect regular season, speculation was rampant over who would take on the Buckeyes in the BCS national championship game. Michigan will not get a second chance at its arch-rivals, as the Wolverines were edged by Florida in the final BCS standings. How do the Gators match up with Ohio State? Here is an early analysis.

Nicknames: Gators are lethal animals with a fearsome bite. The Buckeye is the state tree of Ohio, and no one is scared of being eaten by a tree. Unless you’re Charlie Brown’s kite. Advantage: Florida

Legendary Coaches: A high level of excitement can result in a Woody. But guys never talk about getting a Spurrier. Advantage: Ohio State

Current Coaches: Florida’s Urban Meyer earned a master’s degree from Ohio State and was a graduate assistant there. So he has inside information on his opponent, unlike OSU’s Jim Tressel, whose failure to infiltrate the University of Florida shows a lack of preparation. Advantage: Florida

Cities: Gainesville was named after General Edmund P. Gaines, commander of U.S. Army troops in Florida during the Second Seminole War. So both Columbus and Gainesville were named for men with a habit of slaughtering Native Americans. But government offices don’t close for Gaines Day. Advantage: Ohio State

Leading Rushers: DeShawn Wynn leads the Gators, while Antonio Pittman carries the load for the Buckeyes. “Wynn” reminds you of victory, but “Pitt Man” makes you think of a mediocre Big East team. Advantage: Florida

Quarterback Names: After Ohio State’s Troy Smith wins the Heisman Trophy, Troy University and the Men of Troy will participate in bowl games. No bowl invitations went out to Chris Tech or Leak A&M. Advantage: Ohio State

ESPN Football Personalities: OSU’s Kirk Herbstreit is a fixture on the College GameDay crew, while UF’s Erin Andrews reports from the sidelines. Hint on this one: I’m a dude. Advantage: Florida

Jesses: While winning four gold medals in front of Hitler, Ohio State’s Jesse Owens inspired freedom-loving sports fans. As The Bachelor, Florida’s Jesse Palmer inspired reality-TV junkies. Advantage: Ohio State

Griffins: The Gators’ home field is named for benefactor Ben Hill Griffin. But OSU’s Archie Griffin could have asked him, “Hey rich guy, did all that cash get you two Heismans? Didn’t think so!” Advantage: Ohio State

Late-Night Political Satire: The Daily Show shot its “Midwest Midterm Midtacular” on the Ohio State campus, but that was only for four days. Florida’s Darrell Hammond has done his impressions on Saturday Night Live for much longer. I think he joined the show with Joe Piscopo. Advantage: Florida

2006 Championships: The Buckeyes won Big Ten titles in numerous sports this year. However, the Gators took the national championship in basketball, David Eckstein was the World Series MVP, and Emmitt Smith reigned supreme on Dancing With the Stars. Advantage: Florida

Golden Effect: Florida routed the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, while Ohio State did the same to the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Florida may be home to The Golden Girls, but OSU’s Jack Nicklaus is the Golden Bear. Advantage: Ohio State

Weekend Campus Debuts: On Saturday, Greg Oden made his initial appearance as a Buckeye in a 78-58 victory over Valparaiso. Whatever firsts took place in Gainesville this weekend, I’m sure none of them involved the top pick in the next NBA draft. Advantage: Ohio State

Award-Winning Actresses: OSU’s Patricia Heaton won two Emmys for Everybody Loves Raymond, but Florida’s Faye Dunaway trumps her with an Oscar for Network. And in Mommie Dearest, she was much scarier than the vaunted Buckeye defense. Advantage: Florida

Inventions: Florida professor Robert Cade invented Gatorade. Roy Plunkett invented Teflon after getting a Ph.D. from Ohio State. Winners don’t get Teflon dumped on their head. Advantage: Florida

The Apprentice: Florida grad Kendra Todd won season 3 of Donald Trump’s competition. However, being an apprentice means that you’re not the top dog. Advantage: Ohio State

2003 Fiesta Bowl: The last time the BCS national championship game was played in Arizona, Ohio State defeated a team from Florida with a second-year coach. Gator fans, watch out for those pass interference flags. Advantage: Ohio State

Tallying up the results, it’s Ohio State 9, Florida 8. Assuming that will be the final score, you can expect a late Buckeye field goal to overcome an 8-6 deficit and bring home the championship.