Let’s put Oklahoma and Florida in the BCS championship game

Dec 2, 2008 5:05 PM

Burnt Offerings by Stan Bergstein |

It is put up or shut up time, and we’ll put up.

Nothing last week changed our mind that both Florida and Oklahoma are better football teams than undefeated Alabama, and this coming Saturday we get to find out if we’re even half right.

Like you, we watched all three of the top teams in action, piling up points in the hope of bolstering their BCS ratings. Oklahoma succeeded, with its fourth straight game in which it scored more than 60 points, routing Oklahoma State 61-41. Florida racked up 45 in beating arch rival Florida State, the Gators eighth straight victory, all of them by 28 or more points. Alabama won its 12th game without a loss, tallying 36 points while holding hapless Auburn scoreless.

So Saturday, Florida takes on Alabama, in the neutral Georgia Dome in Atlanta, in a battle only slightly less heated than when Sherman marched through, setting the whole city on fire.

If Florida wins, as we expect, and Oklahoma beats Missouri, also likely, we all would be treated to Florida against Oklahoma for the national championship, a pleasant prospect. It really would be a pro game, something brought home forcefully while reading about Oklahoma’s redshirt sophomore Gerald McCoy and his white Cadillac Escalade. They retail around $68,000. I wonder what quarterback Sam Bradford drives.

Of the remaining top 10 BCS ranked teams, Southern Cal and Utah are the most interesting, unless you still are fascinated by Colt McCoy and his Texas shoot’em up compatriots.

Which leads us to the much ballyhooed Heisman trophy, where quarterbacks McCoy and Florida’s defending Heisman winner Tim Tebow and Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford are battling it out.

Ironically, one losing play may win it for Bradford. His spectacular somersault dive trying for a touchdown last Saturday against Oklahoma State, in which he was knocked literally head over heels in a full body flying half gainer and full twist, will be played over and over between now and Heisman time – actually between now and season’s end, and next season’s start – and the effort will be hard for Tebow and McCoy to match.

Graham Harrell, the Texas Tech quarterback who was so brilliant against Texas, where he threw for 474 yards and two touchdowns, had another great day last Saturday against Baylor, completing 41 of 50 passes for two touchdowns and 301 yards. He also completed 40 of 50 against Oklahoma State, tossing for 456 yards. His memorable pass and more memorable catch by teammate Michael Crabtree in the final second of play to beat Texas will remain a season highlight, regardless of Heisman votes for either or both.

Moving on to the pros, the New York Giants are playing like the defending Super Bowl champions they are, and at 11-1 they are the dominant team in the NFL. Their remaining schedule, against Philadelphia, Dallas, Carolina and Minnesota, seems only to offer Carolina, as a barrier, but in making that assessment one will recall that it was Cleveland that handed the Giants their only loss, beating them soundly 35-14 back on the fateful 13th of October.

Finally, the bizarre matter of Plaxico Burress, the hugely talented but also hugely troubled 6-foot-5 pass catcher of the New York Giants.

Reportedly fined 40 or 50 times during his four years with the team, he has been out of action recently with a hamstring injury.

He was healthy enough last Friday night, however, to go out on the town in Manhattan with his buddy, Giant linebacker Antonio Pierce, and with another buddy, a .40 caliber Glock automatic pistol for which Burress had no license, either in New York or in New Jersey, where he owns a palatial mansion.

Somehow, in the early morning fog in the famed Latin Quarter, Burress got to messing with the gun, and shot himself in his already damaged leg. Someone drove him to Cornell Medical Center, where he was treated and released, and Pierce reportedly got himself in trouble by reportedly removing the gun from the nightclub.

All of this, in a city other than New York, probably would wind up as one of those celebrity moments, where a big name athlete gets in trouble and the trouble disappears in thin smoke after an initial cloud of publicity.

Two years ago, however, at the urging of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York passed one of the nation’s tougher gun control laws. It provides for lengthy imprisonment for conviction for illegal possession of a firearm, and penalties for obstruction of justice, like removing a weapon involved in an incident.

The New York press has jumped on this one, without sympathy or tears for Burress. One writer said he "always was a loose cannon, now he is a loose pistol," and urged the Giants to cut him loose.

The Giants may not have a choice this time. This is not likely to be one of those "boys will be boys" events. This one is about very big boys with very dangerous toys.