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FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- In 10 years of covering BCS title games, I can't ever remember there being this much smack-talk among the players leading up to the game. (Perhaps it helps that the Ohio State Robots -- er, Buckeyes -- aren't here this time.) The chief orator, without question, has been Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes.
Mind you, Spikes hasn't taken any specific shots at Oklahoma or any of its players. He does, however, have some pretty strong opinions about the Sooners' conference, starting with ...
"I think Big 12 defenses are a joke," said Spikes.
Is that so, Brandon? Do expound.
"It's just a really big difference when you watch the film. You can just tell, when you put a Big 12 tape in, you can see the difference [in athletes]. Defense, offense, special teams. When they punt the ball, it takes the guys on their coverage team a little bit longer to get down the field than the SEC. I'm not trying to be cocky about the SEC. It's just what I see with my own eyes."
On the high scores in the Big 12: "When I watch SportsCenter and I see the scores, it's just ridiculous. It's kind of like basketball scores. You don't really get too many high scores in the SEC. The best defenses win the games."
On Pete Carroll's comments that no one can beat USC right now. "We lost a game in the SEC. Who did USC lose to? [Reporter: Oregon State.] Exactly. Of course he's going to say that, he's the head guy, he's riding high, but he just beat Penn State. (Derisively) Penn ... State. (More derisively) Penn ... State."
On Ole Miss upsetting Texas Tech: "I knew that was going to happen. Texas Tech, they were putting up 50 [points per game], too. Then they play an SEC school -- that kind of stops. Then the Ole Miss offense looked like they were going against their scout team.
"Big 12 defenses -- I just feel like they're a joke."
I guess we'll find out Thursday night.