Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Shit, the Gators really are champions (aka. the Aftermath)

Refresh my memeory because things are a little hazy from last night: did never-nervous Jim Tressell really go for it on 4th & 1 from his own 29-yard line when he was only down by 10 points with 4:00 to play in the first half?

I know he did because I wrote it in my notes, but I just can't believe it. The Sweater Vest clearly panicked and sent a message to his team that yes, we are desperate right now and I'm going to try anything to light a spark under my somnambulant squad.

As you know by now the plan backfired; the Gators stuffed the play (like they did all night), took over at the 30 and promptly added a 40-yard field goal from the previously unreliable Chris Hetland to make the score 27-14 with just under 2:00 to go in the half.

Minutes later Tim Tebow would put the finishing touches on the orange crushing of the Buckeyes' championship dreams when he completed a 1-yard touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell to run the score to 34-14 at the half.

But in all reality the game was lost for OSU when they failed to convert that 4th down.It was a despperate act by a wounded animal, and once a gator smells a wounded creature it knows what to do with it- tear it limb from limb and drag it under the water until there is no life left in it.

But let's get real here for a moment. Did the Gators deserve to win the title? Absolutley. It met all the necessary criteria to get to the final game and then kicked the snot out of the team that was the consensus #1 all year long. No arguement here.

If the Gators & Buckeyes met again tonight, which team would win? No one can say for sure. My point being that a number of factors played into the Gators' victory, not the least of which was the 51-day layoff for the Bucks. To go nearly 2 months without playing a football game is a detriment to any team, college or pro, and that inactivity was certainly a factor in the Buckeyes lackluster performance.

Point #2- I would take at least three other teams to possibly defeat the Gators or the Buckeyes after having seen every team play in this elongated bowl season: Boise State, USC, and Louisville.

The bottom line is that in this wild 2006 NCAA season, to paraphrase a line stolen from the NFL, any team could have beaten any other team at any given time. Only one team went undefeated- Boise - which says that all the other one-loss powers could have beaten another under the right conditions (especially after a 50-day layoff.)

Let's face it, it's a new era in college football. No longer will schools like Oklahoma & Nebraska of the 70's, Miami & Penn St. of the 80's, FSU of the 90's, or USC & Ohio State of the early 2000's be able to dominate a season wire-to wire. There is too much parity, too much travel, too much pressure for any one or two teams to completely dominate the rest of the field.

Welcome to the age of mediocrity & parity, NCAA football. You always said you wanted to be like your NFL bretheren.

Start the chanting people: "play-off, play-off, play-off..."

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