It is the end of a long season, and the old saying proved to be very much true: "Every dog has his day." And the final day belonged to Florida.
THE 11 BEST 11s as of Jan. 9, 2009
2. Southern California
6. Texas Christian
8. Penn State
10. Ohio State
On The Porch: Georgia, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, Boise State, Iowa
A final commentary seems in order. Florida did lose to Mississippi, as did Texas Tech, who beat Texas, but championships are often won by who is in the right place at the right time. Florida was in that place in Miami.
For their part, Oklahoma put up a good fight against Florida as well as Texas, but seemed to be tired by the end of the third quarter in each contest.
Perhaps the answer for Coach Stoops is greater depth, or a more advanced substitution pattern. Since the Sooners beat TCU earlier, they finish one position above the Horned Frogs.
The Frogs also lost to Utah, as did Alabama. For that reason, the Utes should be given a higher final ranking than TCU and the Crimson Tide.
However, there is no real comparison between Utah and Southern California. The Trojans are obviously a better team and should receive a higher ranking than Utah in order to keep sanity in the mix.
Penn State was no match for Southern Cal in Pasadena but did defeat Ohio State. Since the Buckeyes came within an eyelash of beating Texas in the Fiesta Bowl, they deserve a spot in the final 11 Best 11s.
Likewise, Penn State is very deserving of high accord.
Oregon was extremely impressive in disposing of vaunted Oklahoma State in the Holiday Bowl. Coupled with their 27-point win at Oregon State in the final regular season game, the Ducks power into the final poll.
And that leaves us with the final spot, No. 11. And richly deserving of that position is Mississippi.
The uncanny Ole Miss Rebels of Houston Nutt beat Texas Tech in Texas, beat Florida and LSU on the road, and came within a whisker of taking out Alabama in Tuscaloosa. For becoming the new darling of the SEC, the final position goes to the Rebels.
It was an interesting season, complete with the play of the year in Lubbock, when Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree combined to provide a thrill not soon forgotten with a 39-33 victory over formerly No. 1 ranked Texas.
The sudden resignation of Tommy Bowden at Clemson, the exit of Tommy Tuberville at Auburn, and the tearful farewell of Phil Fulmer at Tennessee gave fans reason to ponder if better times would be ahead.
The expected removal of Ty Willingham at Washington, Greg Robinson at Syracuse, and Hal Mumme at New Mexico State surprised no one.
And through it all stood Tim Tebow, he of the menacing glare and the kindest of hearts. The absurdity of his being passed over for a second Heisman Trophy to a man he completely outplayed in winning the National Championship will no doubt be debated like Manning and Woodson in 1997.
In the end, Tebow was the best player on the best team with the best coach. That is a recipe for legendary status. College football fans have been fortunate to observe his spectacular career. For the sake of the game, let's hope he comes back next year.