Spikes blasts Big 12 defenses

Published 2:49 am Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Enlighten us, Brandon Spikes: Did you really mean to call Big 12 defenses an embarrassment?

‘‘I said that. I said it,’’ the Florida linebacker reiterated Monday. ‘‘That’s what it is. It is what it is.’’

‘‘When I watch ’SportsCenter,’ I look at the scores and it’s 56-49, just basketball scores. I feel like it’s a joke. Like I said, Ole Miss ran up and down the field on a Big 12 defense. It’s just crazy. That’s just my perception of the Big 12 defenses.’’

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Well, then.

As if the BCS championship game between No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Oklahoma needed to get any more prickly, Spikes perked up the media session at Dolphin Stadium, site of Thursday night’s showdown.

That said, a lot of college football fans feel the same way about defenses in general. Seeing Oklahoma become the highest-scoring team in history, watching Tim Tebow and the Gators trample opponents, they wonder: Doesn’t anyone know how to play D?

Asked to defend the honor of the Big 12 defenses he routinely faces, Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford chuckled, sat back in his chair and said, ‘‘Umm, I really don’t know.’’

After a five-second pause, the Oklahoma quarterback laughed again and tried his best.

‘‘I mean, everyone wants to talk about it, but it’s still 11 guys playing defense,’’ he said. ‘‘They face some great offenses each week. To their defense, they have to prepare for a lot of things each week.’’

That’s true. But it’s like the guys on the other side of the ball don’t even exist. Funny thing, too, because nationwide points, total yards and passes per game all declined this season.