Gators chomp some Buckeyes
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The sun that shines on the mountaintop of college athletics is now a decided hue of Florida orange. And the sky that kisses the college sports summit is now a distinct shade of Gator blue. The Florida Gators now stand alone on ...
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The sun that shines on the mountaintop of college athletics is now a decided hue of Florida orange.
And the sky that kisses the college sports summit is now a distinct shade of Gator blue.
The Florida Gators now stand alone on top of the college sports world.
They won the basketball national championship last April, and now, on a delirious night in the desert, they are football champions, too. For the first time in major-college history -- by virtue of the Gators' 41-14 desert destruction of Ohio State -- the same school now concurrently holds the football and basketball national titles.
It's doubly great to be a Florida Gator. One chomp, two champs.
Who would have ever thought that the national championship basketball coach -- Billy Donovan -- would live two doors down from the national championship football coach -- Urban Meyer -- in the same Gainesville neighborhood?
Meyer's Gators came into this championship game billed as a team of destiny, but, brother, this was not destiny. This was domination. This was devastation. This was decimation.
The critics said the Gators didn't belong in the game at all. The oddsmakers and most media experts picked them to lose handily. But the Gators -- these gritty, gutty Gators -- didn't care.
Their fans were outnumbered, their team was outranked, but they believed.
They believed in themselves.
They believed in their coach.
They believed in their QB.
Talk about validation and vindication. Maybe now QB Chris Leak finally will get the credit he is due as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Florida and Southeastern Conference history.
And all those questions surrounding Meyer now have been unequivocally answered. People wondered whether he was ready for a big-time job like Florida. People wondered whether his offense could work in a BCS conference. People wondered whether he ever could emerge from the immense shadow of Steve Spurrier.
Yes, yes and ohmygawd yes.
Meyer showed without question he is one of the top three college coaches in America. If Nick Saban is worth $4 million, Meyer is worth five. He not only outcoached The Sweater, he actually has outdone The Visor. It took Spurrier seven years to win a national title; it took Meyer two.
It was Meyer who seemed unfazed and unflustered by the hype of his first championship game while Tressel, coaching in his second title game, should have exchanged his famous sweater vest for a straitjacket. He did, after all, lose his mind.
Should have known this was going to happen. Just before kickoff Monday, as the sun set in the desert, the sky was streaked in an awesome display of orange and blue.
From up on the mountaintop, it must have been a magnificent sight.
Mike Bianchi is a sports writer for the Orlando Sentinel.