January 3, 2009

BCS notes: Oklahoma has something to prove

MORE: Meyer proud of former school Utah

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Oklahoma doesn't bother to hide behind its tortured postseason history. The Sooners instead are using their BCS frustration as motivation.

Oklahoma has lost its past four BCS games, including a 48-28 upset against West Virginia in last season's Fiesta Bowl. When West Virginia quarterback Pat White said the Mountaineers won that game because they were hungrier and wanted it more, the Sooners put a banner with that quote in their weight room throughout the offseason.

Senior wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias cited that banner as an example of how the Sooners have learned from their recent BCS misery.

"I believe that's true," Iglesias said of White's quote. "I believe that's the reason they won the game. We just want to win a BCS game and quiet all that talk."

Where's the defense?

Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes didn't want to say anything bad about the Big 12's much-maligned defenses, but he couldn't help but note that the SEC plays a different type of football.

"The more athletic player, he's mostly on offense in the Big 12," Spikes said. "That's the way I look at it. We've got a lot of athletes in the SEC. Most of them are on the defensive side. … It will be different for them when they see the speed of our defense and our athletic abilities."

The Big 12 doesn't have a school ranked among the top 49 teams in total defense, and No. 20 Texas is the only Big 12 team ranked in the top 56 in scoring defense. The SEC has five teams in the top 14 in total defense and five in the top 15 in scoring defense.

Heisman jinx?

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, this season's Heisman winner, said he has received advice from former Oklahoma quarterback Jason White, who won the Heisman five years ago. White's Sooners went on to lose to LSU in the BCS Championship Game that season.

"I talked to him a little bit while we were in New York," Bradford said. "He told me as soon as I get home, forget about New York, forget about the Heisman. It's over. When you get back home, all the focus is on the national championship. That's what I tried to do."

Harvin feeling better

Florida coach Urban Meyer said after Saturday's practice that wide receiver Percy Harvin remains on track to play against Oklahoma. Harvin missed the SEC title game with a sprained right ankle.

"He's right on schedule, probably a little bit ahead of schedule," Meyer said.

Haden's hair

Florida cornerback Joe Haden celebrated the Gators' appearance in the BCS Championship Game with a trip to the barber shop.

Haden sported a Mohawk for the SEC championship game, but he added a twist to it over the holidays. He now has "BCS" and the number "1" shaved into the left side of his head and a "5" and a star on the right side of his head. Haden's jersey number is 5.

"I just wanted to do something different," he said.

Major dilemma

Florida free safety Major Wright, a Fort Lauderdale native, has discovered that playing a BCS Championship Game close to your hometown has its drawbacks.

Wright grew up about 20 minutes from Dolphin Stadium, site of the championship game. He was granted six tickets to Thursday's game and couldn't get extras from his teammates, which forced him to make some difficult choices that left some friends and relatives disappointed.

"A lot of people were mad with me," said Wright, a graduate of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. "I have people who still have an attitude. I tried to call them and talk to them and tell them, 'Hey, my mom and immediate family get to go.'

"A lot of friends were kind of mad at me. Some of my [extended] family, like my aunties, that was kind of tough for me because I know that they're there for me, but I can't get them tickets. It's out of my hands."

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com.


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