The Florida Gators are your national Cha—
I can't say it.
The Florida Gators can't be called true national champions. There's no such thing at this point. There's way too many reasons to doubt Florida.
What are the Gators? For one, a team that can beat The Citadel.
Also, champions of the Southeastern Conference.
Also, a team that can beat Oklahoma, which had been arbitrarily named Big 12 South champion (Texas beat the Sooners, then lost to Texas tech, leaving all three tied at 7-1 in conference play).
What the Gators are not is invincible. Mississippi proved that in a 31-30 win at the Swamp.
Florida is one of 119 NCAA Division I-A teams that proved it could be beaten.
So far, no one knows if Utah (13-0 after spanking SEC runner-up Alabama in the Sugar Bowl) can be beaten. I suspect the Utes can, but for them not to be national champions, suspicion isn't enough.
The problems are many, including the perception that the SEC is the be all, end all of college football and the Mountain West, of which Utah is the champion, is weak.
How much difference is there between the two conferences? Who knows?
One of the problems with being in touch with reality is that one isn't prone to false hope, and so I'm forced to accept that big-money college football won't have a champion for at least six years.
We're stuck with the Bowl Championship Series, which purports to match the top two teams in the nation in a title game. That's happened exactly twice, from the most realistic viewpoint.
After the 2002 season, we were treated to a thrilling Miami-Ohio State contest that went beyond 60 minutes to determine a winner.
Three years later, Vince Young put on a legendary show to set Texas up as the world's shining example.
Otherwise, we've gotten blowouts and snorefests featuring a team (or two) that didn't look as if it belonged there.
One problem with the BCS is its formulas, which rely more on biased factors than on whatever pseudo-objective items might be available.
My cure for this would be to have the formula in place before the season starts, so that every team knows what it has to do to reach the "championship" game.
There'd have to be some component for the toughness of schedule, with may be a higher rating achieved for beating a BCS team, a lower rating for beating a non-BCS, but still I-A team, and no credit for beating a Division I-AA team such as The Citadel.
Under that scheme, only an undefeated season should have gotten Florida to Miami.
Last night's game was the first meeting between Florida and OU. These two powerhouses have been too busy playing Chattanooga, The Citadel, Western Carolina, and North Texas to get together.
USC played Virginia, Notre Dame, and Ohio State in its non-league schedule. Having finished 12-1, the Trojans (champions of the Pacific 10, which went 5-0 in bowl games) beat more BCS teams than anyone else in the country.
Had a formula that emphasized playing and beating quality opponents, rather than impressing homers and biased coaches, the Trojans just might be in possession of that crystal egg.
Or maybe OU-Florida would have turned out to be the right matchup. And Florida's "title" would bear the stain of legitimacy.