I’ve spent the last three weeks torturing myself. Absolutely driving myself nuts.
I don’t know if you’re like me but for some reason, I’m obsessed with sports history predicting the future. I always look for recurring themes and trends and history being a guide to clue us in to what will happen in an upcoming game. Especially when a team I have interest in is playing.
And that’s why I’ve basically run a marathon in my mind with all the occurrences showing why Oklahoma will lose to Florida January 8th. Here’s how bad it’s gotten for me: I was taking a shower yesterday thinking about the game. I started thinking about Sam Bradford and how his hair is long and how Jason White always grew his hair out throughout the season. But then I thought, but Jason White was 0-2 in National Title games! But then I thought, well Matt Leinart grew his hair out during the 2004 season and won the Heisman and won the National Championship. Phew. I've looked at little things like, OU wore white shoes for the majority of 2000. In 2003 and 2004, the Sooners wore black kicks. This year they wore white. Good sign! I need January 9th to get here just so I can live my life again.
You’ve got the obvious -- Sam winning the Heisman. Big Trophy winners (1-5) in BCS National Title games and the last one to play Florida played poorly as Troy Smith ran for his life as the Gators chewed his Buckeyes up.
You've got the other obvious -- OU’s recent bowl performance. The Sooners were inexcusably destroyed by USC 55-19 in 2005, embarrassed by Boise 43-42 in 2007 and whooped by West Virginia 48-28 last year in Phoenix. Before that was a hard fought 21-14 loss in the 2004 National Title game.
You've got your details -- Last year, OU lost a few key players before the Fiesta Bowl. Among them were the two players missing for this year's big game -- DeMarco Murray and DeMarcus Granger.
You've got your trends -- the SEC has won the last two National Titles, with LSU last year and Florida the year before that. Florida is losing offensive coordinator Dan Mullen to Mississippi State. Last year, LSU won the Natty with Bo Pelini having a foot out the door heading to Nebraska.
You've got your evidence -- Ole Miss beat Texas Tech 47-34. Ole Miss beat Florida. OU beat Texas Tech. An SEC defense did a good job limiting one of the Big 12's best offenses.
You've got your link to the past -- The last time Utah won a BCS bowl game, OU played in the Orange Bowl, getting waxed 55-19.
You've got your ridiculous thing that only Royce would know -- In 2003 and 2004 I watched the game at my parents house with my father. In 2000, I also watched the game with my dad, but they were living in a different house. I need to drag a TV out to their old house and ask the current residents if I can watch the game there.
But you can reverse the trend. I've always thought Urban Meyer was Bob Stoops Jr. Meyer won a National Championship in his second season at Florida. Stoops won one in year two. Stoops lost his next two. Maybe Meyer is going to follow Bob's trend and lose too.
In 2000, OU played Florida State in its home state in the Orange Bowl. The same thing will happen Jan. 8th.
Florida's one loss was to a team that could score points through the air and go vertical with the passing game. OU does both very well.
Any time the Sooner defense has been doubted, it steps up.
OU is finally getting played the disrespect card. Over 60 percent of the country favors Florida, as well as Vegas. Nobody works better me vs. the world than Bob Stoops. And this was the same feeling OU fans had in 2000.
The last time OU was ranked No. 1 heading into the National Title game was in 2000.
And you know what? In the end, trends don't mean jack. And that's why even though my confidence level is about a three out of 10, I'm picking OU 42-38. Why? I don't know. But the fact is, with under a week remaining, everyone wants to know the result of the game before it even starts. Everyone is so up tight about the game that they're looking for anything that might make them feel more confident about it.
No matter what, January 8th, one set of trends will be confirmed and the other will be bunk. I just know that between now and then, it's likely I'll vomit four to five times, spend hours pacing my house, and torture myself with more trends and listen to so much sports talk radio my ears bleed. Win or lose, I need January 9th to get here fast.
By Royce Young