Sunday, April 01, 2007

Deja Vu: Another Ohio State/Florida Title Game Breakdown

April 2 will be just like January 8, as Ohio State and Florida once again square off for a national championship. There are some differences this time. The Gators are favored, Michigan fans aren’t screaming that they should be involved, and the Buckeyes won’t be 51 days removed from their last game. Therefore, I can’t simply repost my December article, Ohio State vs. Florida: An Early Breakdown, and have that serve as my title game preview.

But go ahead and read that article before proceeding. It’s okay, I’ll wait here. Since I was woefully wrong on picking Ohio State that time, clearly I needed to do a better job on my analysis this time around. I started fresh and came up with new angles for Monday’s showdown. Here’s the breakdown.

Greens: Ohio State just eliminated Jeff Green, so the Buckeyes will be ready for Taurean Green. Or even Brian Austin Green. Advantage: Ohio State

Georgia Dome: The Gators are used to celebrating in this venue recently, having won the SEC championships in both football and basketball there. In response, the Buckeyes unsuccessfully lobbied to move Monday’s game to The Horseshoe. Advantage: Florida

1995 World Series: The Cleveland Indians were 0-3 against the Braves on the road. So it’s tough for Ohio teams to win championships in Atlanta. Advantage: Florida

The Masters: On the other hand, OSU’s Jack Nicklaus won six times in Augusta, so Buckeyes can triumph in Georgia in early April. If they do on Monday, expect Greg Oden to put on a very large green jacket. Advantage: Ohio State

#1 Seeds: Florida hopes to replace Duke as the last repeat champion. This is the fifth time two #1 seeds have met in the title game. The previous four resulted in three UNC championships and a UConn victory over Duke – consistent disaster for Blue Devil fans. Advantage: Florida

2000 NCAA Championship Game: Florida lost to Michigan State, a Big Ten school it had played in a bowl game that January. With that in mind, expect Mike Conley Jr. to limp onto the court like Mateen Cleaves. Advantage: Ohio State

Literary Figures: (Joakim) Noah survived, but Othello (Hunter) did not. Advantage: Florida

Heisman Trophy: Only once has an athletic program won the Heisman and the NCAA basketball title in the same school year. UCLA quarterback Gary Beban and the Bruins accomplished the feat in 1967-68. After Troy Smith’s victory, the Buckeyes hope to follow suit. But they don’t have Kareem. Advantage: Florida

Hoopeston-East Lynn High School: Thad Matta went there, and the teams were known as the Cornjerkers. Therefore, the Gators shouldn’t intimidate the OSU coach. If you can succeed when you’re named Thad and called a Cornjerker, no obstacle is too large. Advantage: Ohio State

Super Bowl XLI: The hometown of Oden and Conley triumphed, while Gator Rex Grossman was the goat. Advantage: Ohio State

1987-88 Oklahoma Sooners: Before this year, OU was the last school to play for the football and basketball national titles in the same school year. Like OSU, they lost the bowl game. They fell again in hoops, so the Buckeyes are in trouble - especially if Danny Manning is in the arena. Advantage: Florida

Office Cinema: As Office Space’s Milton, UF’s Stephen Root gets no respect at Initech. But as J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man, OSU’s J.K. Simmons is completely in charge at The Daily Bugle. No one would dare take his red Swingline stapler. Advantage: Ohio State

Rick Pitino: Billy Donovan’s mentor also coached in consecutive national championship games. After winning in 1996, his Kentucky Wildcats lost in their bid to repeat. The consolation for Gator fans: he wasn’t in Lexington the next year. Advantage: Ohio State

Sweet 16: In that round, Florida was too much for Butler. Therefore, OSU is vulnerable with Jamar Butler. Advantage: Florida

BCS Title Matchups: The schools in the previous BCS championship game, USC and Texas, also met in this year’s tournament. The football loser came out on top in hoops. As Buckeye fans can relate, the Trojans were thrilled not to see Vince Young. Advantage: Ohio State

NHL Standings: Although both teams will miss the playoffs, Florida is better than the team from Columbus. For those who are unaware, the NHL is a hockey league. Advantage: Florida

Current Major Leaguers: Florida’s David Eckstein is the reigning World Series MVP, while Ohio State’s Nick Swisher has a name that can’t fool basketball fans. The words “Knick” and “Swish” don’t belong together. Advantage: Florida

This time around, it’s Florida 9, Ohio State 8. So expect a championship celebration in Gainesville. They definitely know the drill by now.