Live Blogging from the BCS National Championship Game
As any blog reader knows, live blogs are the current way of the future. And any journalist who wants to keep his job embraces the latest way of the future. So...welcome to the first ever LIVE BLOG in Juice history. I secured my spot in the press booth months ago, when it looked like my school, The University of Texas, would be playing here. Instead of rooting on the Longhorns, I'll be roaming Dolphins Stadium for hours tonight, covering all the celebration and action in the most arbitrary title game in any major sport, spewing bitter fire about UT being snubbed from this event in favor of a team they beat by 10 points on a neutral field. Utah and USC fans know my pain.
And, as commanded by my editor, I will be drinking heavily. All for the entertainment of you, dear reader(s).
So let's get this show on the--mmm, Jim Beam--road.
7:35 p.m. Good evening sports fans. Your humble (alcohol makes me humble...and a bad speller) correspondent has finally secured his spot in the press room at Dolphins Stadium. That wouldn't be such a big deal, except that I left the office, about 16 miles away, more than two and a half hours ago. I should have taken a a cab here, because that would've been cheaper than the $700 parking. When I arrived, the fine folks with the Orange Bowl (remember, this is the bowl game played in the same place, during the same week as the Orange Bowl, but is not the Orange Bowl--and apparently the same staff works both games) showed me to my spot in the front row of the best press box, right along the 50 yard line. When the staff realized I am from New Times, and not The New York Times, they put me in the back of the East Press Room, behind two small papers from Peru and a young child drawing the game with a map pencil.
7:48 p.m. The Florida band just left the field and the OU band replaced them. Under any other circumstance, dozens of adults walking in random, coordinated patterns across a football field, while wearing costumes that look like military uniforms from France circa 1780, might seem odd. At a football game it means kickoff time is near...
8:04 p.m. I think someone just sang The Star Spangled Banner. There was a giant American flag waving across the center of the field, but all I heard was the awesome fighter jets flying over the stadium and eventually the words "prove to the night,"--which is close enough to the lyrics, so I'll just assume that's what was going on.
8:14 pm. There is actually quite a bit of competition for space in the press rooms. Both teams just came out to theme music - kind of like professional wrestlers. But so far the true struggle is going on up here. I guess someone forgot to reserve a spot for Fox Sports columnist Mark Kriegel, and he's not happy. Dressed in all black, he's pacing around with a grimace, snapping at Orange Bowl employees (who already have to wear neon orange polos everywhere). The staff is scrambling to work it out. Also, the little girl coloring her picture of the game asked me to get out of her seat.
8:19 p.m. Coin toss goes tails and OU will receive the opening kick-off. My editor has limited me to no more than one reference to how the University of Texas should be here per quarter. And since this is still pre-game, I'd like to take this chance to say that yes, Texas would have called the coin-toss better. Everyone knows tails never fails.
8:24 p.m. After receiving the kick, OU tried to go deep. UF defensive back Major Wright just knocked OU receiver Manuel Johnson out of the stadium with a ferocious hit. UF fans - which outnumber OU fans about three to one - slapped their arms appropriately. Johnson's family is here somewhere wondering if he will remember them later tonight.
8:30 p.m. Florida takes the field with Tebow at the helm. UF fans everywhere just fainted. His first pass was dropped by a running back. And my second drink was dropped by the bartender. I know EXACTLY how Tebow feels. He feels sober.
8:42 p.m. Both teams have now had the ball and punted. I think it's safe to say that every single person in this stadium now agrees: Texas should be here instead of at least one of these teams. *OK, that will be the last of that for a while.
8:45 p.m. With the score still tied at zero, the horse-like character that stalks the OU sidelines (I guess he's a mascot, though it seems pretty random) is dancing to the beat of the UF band. This is what you get when your school's mascot is a Sooner, a land thief who cut in front of everyone else during the Oklahoma land run, getting to the plots--you guessed it-- sooner). Also, you get to go to a lot of BCS games and lose them.
8:50 p.m. We just had the third punt of the game, which is awesome, because I bet most of the people who paid thousands of dollars to be here were really hoping to see some badass punting. Not Tebow. Not Bradford. Not Stoops or Meyers. They came to see punters. Bar time.
9:01 p.m. The first quarter just ended, and the score is still 0-0. I don't want to be a tattle tale or anything, but one of the other sports writers MIGHT be looking at porn right now. The newspaper he works for MAY rhyme with The Riami Herald.
9:08 p.m. Florida just scored on an amazing Tebow rollout play to make it 7-0 UF. Here's the bad news: there is no food in the press box. Sure, there's chips and pretzels and popcorn and tea and lemonade. And everyone in this room is at this game for free. But still.
9:14 p.m. Oklahoma just tied the game with a touchdown pass from Sam Bradford to Jermaine Gresham. Good thing for them, because I don't know if I mentioned this, but "the eyes of Texas" are upon them. Get it? That's UT's school song, but it also works as a regular sentence so it doesn't count against my tally. See? Yeah, I'm sorry. Also, I've spotted three men in the press box wearing the free Hawaiian shirt they gave out with press credentials...yesterday. Sports writers are known as a poorly-dressed crew and the newspaper industry is down all over, but don't these guys, you know, own shirts?
9:24 p.m. OU just intercepted Tebow in Florida territory and the Sooners are driving. So I guess this "Big 12 defenses are nothing compared to the SEC's" talk is done for a little while. Hey look at that, actual football analysis. Kind of. It's hard to see the field from behind every other sports writer in America. The back wall of the press box is pretty nice though, too.
9:31 p.m. That "little while" I just referred to--the amount of time people will have to stop saying SEC defenses are so much more dominant than the Big 12's--that little while is over now. Florida just stopped OU on the 3 yard line and the Sooners turn the ball over without scoring. In Bob Stoops' biography, this will go in the chapter titled "How to Lose BCS Championship Games (Without Really Trying)."
9:44 p.m. OU is driving again, but the medical staff just carted out UF running back Chris Rainey on a stretcher. His leg is certainly torn in a very bad way. Florida seems a little deflated.
9:45 p.m. As I typed the word "deflated" Florida intercepted Heisman thief Sam Bradford right outside their own end zone to keep the score tied. The red zone has become a disasterous region for the Sooners. Half time.
10:05 p.m. So the half time break poses a problem for sports writers. You can either go to the bathroom (a football game is one of those rare places where the line for the men's restroom is all the way down the hall while women come and go with ease) or eat (in this case from the hot dog buffet). It's a sight to see so many grown men in suits downing two hot dogs at a time and top it off with a banana and lemonade (phallic, I know). Either way, if you've been reading about how much I've been drinking, you can probably guess that I chose the bathroom.
10:20 p.m. The second half is already going the same way as the first, which is to say there is almost no offense...and I'm still drinking. I just explained to a reporter from Tulsa that UT fans often call OU the paperclips, "because the O and U kind of overlap, like a paperclip." She pointed out that my school's little joke isn't clever. I said it's more clever than the more popular Texas cheer: Fuck OU!
10:26 p.m. OU just caught a huge break. UF players roughed up the OU punter pretty good on what was a miserable punt, which keeps the Oklahoma drive alive. Florida fans aren't even doing the gator chomp anymore, which might be for the best. I've decided that two-armed chomp thing really looks more like a sophisticated clap than a sports cheer. What UF needs is something small, a sign that can be made with only one hand and kind of looks like you're rocking out. They should think about it.
10:33 p.m. Tebow just ran for a first down, stood up, and ran around the 50 yard line pumping his fists. I believe at least 50 Florida fans in the stadium just went into labor. And that includes several men.
10:35 p.m. More Tebow up the middle. More Florida fans tearing up like they just saw Michael Jackson moonwalk. Now, if Tebow could moonwalk through the OU defense, then I'd be impressed. Then he'd be as good as, oh I don't know, Vince Young.
10:40 p.m. Florida is about to score, mostly because Tebow is running through OU like water through something less dense than water. Tim Tebow has switched into beast mode. Bob Stoops has switched into diapers.
10:43 p.m. As predicted, Florida just made the score 14-7. Percy Harvin looked pretty healthy as he waltzed to pay dirt. The paperclips are looking sick. And not sick in the cool, hip way. Sick like influenza. Or like they have a plague...named Tebow.
10:49 p.m. Sick like they went into a swamp and came out with some exotic disease that makes them not be able to tackle. I believe that's the same illness that caused the 49-yard field goal they just attempted to get blocked. Here, OU, have another spoonful of #15.
10:52 p.m. It sounds like the entire stadium is now singing, "It's great/ to be/ a Florida Gator! It's great/ to be/ a Florida Gator!" Sadly, most people can't hear the small fraction of Oklahoma fans now singing, "It's OK/ to lose/ a lot of big games."
10:58 p.m. At the end of the third quarter, the score is still 14-7 and I'm just gonna say it: Texas could beat either of these teams. As a matter of fact Texas DID beat one of these teams, by 10 points on a neutral field actually. But seriously, even an uninspired Longhorn team looked better than this against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl (uninspired because they all knew which game they SHOULD have been playing in). Perhaps the action will pick up in the fourth. I'd keep my fingers crossed if the hand I'm not typing this with wasn't holding another drink.
11:01 p.m. The free shirt count is now up to five. One guy had his (I remind you these are silk Hawaiian shirts) tucked in.
11:05 p.m. They're healed. OU just marched straight down the field, mostly in a no huddle, and tied the game with a another pass from Bradford to Gresham, who I noticed (because they scored in the end zone just below this press box) is the size of a small aircraft carrier. He's egantic (that's twice the size of ginormous). When the UF defensive backs try to tackle him, they look like those little toy helicopters Godzilla swats downs as he destroys a city.
11:10 p.m. So both teams saved all the action for the end of the game. How sweet of them. Percy Harvin just torched OU on two straight plays: the first for 53 yards down the right side, the second for 12 yards to the left. Now, though, he's sitting in the middle of the field surrounded by trainers. Not good for a guy with an ankle injury.
11:13 p.m. Harvin just stood up and walked off the field under his own power. Florida fans went crazy, as if Tim Tebow just winked at them.
11:16 p.m. After a few Tebow incomplete passes, the Gators opted for a field goal, making the score 17-14. Now, because I think my editors have gone to bed, and because I've been drinking, and (more importantly) because it's true, I'd like to point out one last time (probably not the last time) that Texas would have already won this game. Colt McCoy would already have the game MVP. Mack Brown would be telling his team what a great year they had while holding the glass football over his head. And Bevo would have shit on the Sooner sideline. Twice. I'm just sayin'.
11:22 p.m. Ahmad Black, a lot of UF fans' new favorite defensive back, just picked off a Sam Bradford deep down the field. It was reviewed and confirmed, though it looked pretty damn close. Then that confirmation was confirmed. They also just made an announcement in the press box letting us know when and how to go down to the field and locker rooms for the end of the game. Since it's hard to blog when you're moving and surrounded by running strangers, I'm going to ride out the end of the game up here (with drinks!). But be assured that once this live blog is complete, I too will make my way downstairs to see all the stars up close...er...I mean be a good reporter and ask questions and stuff.
11:31 p.m. The east press box just emptied out. Faster than...faster than...faster than I could make a stupid joke about it. Everyone's on their way to the elevators that will take them to the field. Or there's another hot dog buffet I don't know about.
11:35 p.m. UF just scored again, making it 24-14 with three minutes left. The crowd is chanting - obnoxiously I might add - "S-E-C! S-E-C!" Because they just LOVE their...conference. If OU can come back from this (and avoid losing yet ANOTHER title game) it will be the greatest resurgence since the mustache.
11:39 p.m. The Florida players are raising their hands to rally their fans and raise the volume for their defense. I like when the players on crutches wave them in the air. What heartless bastard wouldn't get worked up by a crutch waving at him?
11:44 p.m. Florida is running out the clock. I would say that it's a bit anti-climactic, but that would imply it was, at another time, climactic. This game has been Tebow-tastic. And it has made me feel better that at least the team Texas beat didn't win. But with the BCS, except for really rare years, the end of the season always means anti-climax. The BCS is to football what a grandmother reference is to good sex.
11:46 p.m. And with that first down, Florida seals it up. Well done, Gators. And Tim Tebow is the MVP. I'm shocked.
11:49 p.m. The stadium is a sea of camera flashes and confetti. Both teams are swarmed by the media (I mean the rest of the media...not me and the coloring kid up here). They are assembling a stage on the field, where they will give out trophies and congratulations and blow kisses and...hey, this just went from a live blog to a future blog. Awesome.
11:52 p.m. The UF band is playing Michael Jackson's Thriller. Florida fans are chanting "One More Year" to Tim Tebow. It's sweet, but I suddenly realized that football fans chant too much. Couldn't they all just write him pleasant letters?
11:59 p.m. So, as promised, I'm going to wrap this baby up and head down to what was the field before the confetti got here. I've been sitting here for a long time and the chair isn't that comfortable. But it's been fun. What we lacked in substance, we made up in substance abuse. What we lacked in humor...go fuck yourself. Sorry, that last part was the booze typing. Goodnight, folks.