The Florida Gators have won their second BCS National Championship in three years. After being led by quarterback Chris Leak to a resounding defeat of the Ohio State University in the 2006-2007 season, this season’s team had a bit more to handle in the powerful Oklahoma Sooners.
Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Tim Tebow, rushed for 109 yards and threw two touchdown passes to lead the Gators past a team led by the reigning Heisman winner, quarterback Sam Bradford. Two offenses known to put up more than 40 or 50 points per game were held to relatively few points in what became a primarily defensive fight to stop two tough offenses. Remember, legendary coach Bear Bryant once said… “defense wins championships.” Some things never change. This battle ended with a score of 24-14.
Less stellar than some past championship games, there was still plenty of action on the field. Both quarterbacks threw two interceptions each and plenty of penalty yards were earned throughout. Injuries to several key players were not enough to keep Florida down for long. Receiver/running back Percy Harvin was questionable at game time due to a high ankle sprain but managed more than 120 yards rushing and receiving and scored a touchdown.
Friday’s AP Poll ranks Florida at #1 to end the season. Oklahoma finishes at #5. Utah, USC, and Texas finish #2, #3, and #4, with Utah being the only undefeated (and possibly shafted?) team in the Top 25. Arguments continue to brew over teams like Texas, USC, and Utah being left out in the cold and more than deserving at a shot at the National title, but the AP and the BCS have spoken. The Florida Gators are #1.
Winners in the BCS Bowls this year include (AP Poll final results) #4 Texas over #9 Ohio State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, #2 Utah over #6 Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, #3USC over #8 Penn State in the Rose Bowl, and #15 Virginia Tech over #17 Cincinnati in the FedEx Orange Bowl.
Other bowl winners for 2008-2009 include Georgia, LSU, Wake Forest, USF, Colorado State, Southern Miss, Arizona, Notre Dame, Florida Atlantic, TCU, West Virginia, Florida State, Cal, Missouri, Rutgers, Louisiana Tech, Maryland, Rice, Oregon, Houston, Oregon State, Vanderbilt, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Kentucky, UConn, and Tulsa.
The Southeastern Conference, who nearly swept in their bowl games this season (six wins, one loss), continue their reign as the #1 conference in the nation, with the last three National Champions being from the SEC (2008-Florida; 2007-LSU; 2006-Florida) and four teams finishing in the Top 25.
Although the season has ended, and the polls have spoken, the 2009 NFL Draft still remains. Stay tuned to see who decides to stay in school for another year, who declares for the draft, and who will go in the first round. The draft will be held in New York City in April.