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The Gators are Back!! Read all about the upcoming Florida vs Oklahoma 2008 National Championship Game. Go Gators!!

The big question this morning seems to be - what happened last night? Everyone is talking about how the Florida Gators demolished the Ohio State Buckeyes to win the 2006 College Football National Championship. The Gators seemed like they were in a different league than the Buckeyes. And, the truth is, they are.

The 41-14 final score makes the game seem closer than it was. Half of the Buckeyes 14 points came from their opening kick-off return. After that play, the Buckeyes were completely dominated in every phase of the game.

Florida had 370 total yards to Ohio State's 82. The Buckeyes' Heisman Trophy quarterback Troy Smith was held to only 4 pass completions (2 in each half); 35 passing yards; 1 interception; 0 touchdowns.

Crying Ohio State Fans

Last night's game was the worst in Troy Smith's career. It is not a coincidence that it was also the first time Troy Smith had ever been on the same field with the speed and power of a Southeastern Conference (SEC) football team. I bet a lot of Buckeye players are celebrating today. Celebrating the fact they likely will never again play on the same football field with a team from the SEC.

There is an old saying that "practice makes perfect." Playing in the SEC, Florida gets lots of practice. In 2006, the Gators had the toughest schedule in the nation (.643 opponents winning percentage). Florida beat four Top-25 teams (LSU, Arkansas, Georgia, and Tennessee) and lost to a fifth-- #9 Auburn. Additionally, they beat four other bowl teams (Alabama, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Florida State). So, before last night's game, the Gators had already played against TEN other bowl teams. [Thanks to "Jim from Duluth" (as posted on www.dawgrun.com) who informed me that Southern Mississippi also played in a bowl game, bringing the total to TEN]

Ohio State? Well, the Buckeyes play in the Big Ten and therefore only faced three Top-25 teams all year. They averaged over 36 points and 410 yards a game against mostly weak opponents. Ohio State simply was unprepared for the talent and intensity of a team like Florida.

Florida Gators defensive end Jarvis Moss said after the game that four or five SEC teams could beat Ohio State. I wouldn't go that far, but it is a fact that all nine SEC teams Florida faced (including Vanderbilt) played the Gators tougher than Ohio State did last night.

You want more proof the SEC is in a league of its own? O.K. Since the advent of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system, the SEC leads all conferences (by a wide margin) with a 10-4 BCS bowl game record. SEC teams are an undefeated 3-0 in BCS National Championship games. In this past college football season, the SEC:

1. Led the nation with six teams in the final AP Top-25 poll. No other conference had more than four.

2. Had the most teams selected for bowls (9) and the most bowl wins (6). No other conference had more than 5 wins. Only the SEC (and Big East) had winning bowl records. Even the three SEC bowl losses were close games that could have gone either way. Significantly, SEC bowl teams face higher seeded teams from other conferences. For instance, the Chick-fil-A Bowl has agreements with the ACC and SEC to select the #2 ACC team to face the #5 SEC team. The Music City Bowl pairs #5 from the ACC against #7 from the SEC. Yet, the SEC still dominates the bowls year after year.

3. In the regular season, the SEC had an incredible 41-7 non-conference record. This .854 winning percentage was the best in the nation.

The most amazing thing about the National Championship game last night was not what happened on the field. The most amazing (and scary) thing is that Florida almost wasn't picked to play in the game.

In the narrowest of decisions, the BCS barely selected Florida over Michigan to play against Ohio State for the National Championship. We all remember the outcry from our Michigan (and other Big Ten) friends when Florida was picked over the Wolverines. [Check out www.secsportsfan.com/BCS-gotitright.html for more about that.] Of course we also now know that the Michigan Wolverines went on to lose decisively to USC in the Rose Bowl.

In retrospect, it is clear for all to see, that Ohio State vs. Michigan in the National Championship game would have been a national disgrace. Unfortunately, the reality is that a similar tragedy has happened in the past and will happen again in the future.

Why? Simple. SEC Football is so tough that it is virtually impossible for an SEC team to get through the regular season without at least one loss and without nearly losing a few other games. The SEC Champion invariably emerges from the crucible of an SEC schedule as a true champion, but bruised and battered. When the pollsters and computers combine to select which two teams will play in the BCS National Championship, a lesser team may appear more impressive than the SEC Champ due to a weaker schedule.

We need look back no further than 2004 when Auburn went 12-0 in the regular season (13-0 after their bowl victory), yet failed to qualify for the BCS Championship game (Oklahoma was picked over Auburn because some of Auburn's wins were not perceived as impressive enough).

America was lucky last night that the right team ended up in the BCS Championship Game. But, the BCS system virtually guarantees future unfairness. A true playoff system is the only way to fix the problem. [See Ohio State vs. LSU BCS Controversy.]

Well, not the only way. Another option is to simply say the SEC Champion automatically qualifies for the National Championship game. That would, at least, be more fair, than the current system.

Fabulous Florida Gators Merchandise and Apparel, Tickets, and Baseball Caps.
You can read about LSU's 2007 National Championship and what it means to SEC football and the need for a playoff system at:

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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One-sided article 
If the SEC was so tough in 2006, then why did the big 10 go 2-1 against the sec in head to head bowl games? Big 10 #3 Wisconsin beat sec #2 Arkansas. …

I don't like absolute conclusions camparing teams based on one game Not rated yet
OSU's NFL talent from the 2006 team is not in question, so I don't buy into the whole 'speed argument" or whether OSU was a worthy opponent that year. …

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