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Maxxpicks Orange Bowl Breakdown

Quarterbacks

Jason White has been waiting one year for this game and should be very motivated to win after coming very close in last season’s title game. Matt Leinart is having a great season and wants to win another national championship but will have the burden of being a marked man after winning the Heisman Trophy. The key in this game will be which QB performs better and we have to give the nod to the Sooners leader. Jason White is a 6th year senior who came back specifically to win a national title and is much more mature than his counterpart. Advantage – Oklahoma

Offense

USC runs a very high-powered offense led by running backs Lendal White and Reggie Bush. Bush is one of the top backs in college football but heavily relies on White to clear up space for him. True freshman Dwayne Jarrett is the team’s top receiving threat and creates mismatches with his size. Steve Smith is another talented player that brings maturity to the lineup after missing the first 5 games with a broken leg.

Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson is the best running back in America and could become on the best ever after rushing for over 1800 yards as a freshman. Backup runner Kejuan Jones is a very talented player who would start on most other teams and can provide a boost for the offense. Senior Mark Clayton is one of the best receivers in America and will not allow teams to crowd the line waiting for Peterson. Travis Wilson has over 600 receiving yards and is a dangerous deep threat. Fullback J.D. Runnels is a bruising blocker that can run the ball if needed. Advantage – Oklahoma

Defense

The Sooners defense is led by defensive end Dan Cody who is arguably the best at his position in all of college football. Lance Mitchell leads a strong group of linebackers who gets help from big play DE Larry Birdine. Senior Antonio Perkins is the Sooners best cover corner while FS Brodney Pool is one of the best in America.

USC relies heavily on Linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Matt Grootegoed to make up for a talented but inexperienced secondary. The defensive front is one of the best in America led by All American DT Shaun Cody who simply blows by opponents with his mobility. Advantage – Even

Coaching

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops is simply outstanding at competing for a national championship every year. He is a workaholic who has led his program to 3 national title games in 5 years. He has been very intent on winning it all this year after getting coming up short a year ago. USC head coach Pete Carroll is a fantastic recruiter who has built USC into a rising power on the national scene but we have to give the edge to the Sooners. Bob Stoops has more title game experience and is determined to not let anyone out coach him after losing to LSU last year in the title game. Advantage – Oklahoma

Intangibles

Key Injuries – USC Running Back Lendale White is still not 100% after recovering from a high ankle sprain in the season finale against UCLA. It is very crucial for USC that he can play because without him they will not be able to mix up their offense and all the defensive focus will turn to Reggie Bush.

Heisman Hype – Matt Leinart is this year’s lucky winner and will have a huge target on his back especially after beating Sooners Jason White and Adrian Peterson. All the press that comes with the award can be draining and take attention off the title game.

Motivation – Oklahoma has every reason in the world to want to win this game after losing to LSU last year in the title game. They have worked all year on one goal and that was to get redemption by winning a national title. Southern Cal has already won a share of the title last year and may not be as hungry to win another one. Advantage – Oklahoma

Final Analysis

Oklahoma is the better team on paper and should have an advantage playing in Florida where they won the national championship 5 years ago. The biggest key will be if USC can stop Adrian Peterson from having a huge game. We think Oklahoma is the more physical team and will have a huge advantage with their offensive line that will allow Peterson to have a huge game. Look for the Sooners to come out fired up and win this game by double digits.

phantom

posted by phantom

Jan. 4 2005 3:01pm

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