South Carolina vs Florida: Fierce Gator 'D' Means BCS Title Is Well Within Range

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterOctober 20, 2012

It was ugly. It was old school. It was a slugfest.

In other words, it was everything Florida head coach Will Muschamp hoped for and more.

No. 2 Florida's 44-11 thrashing of No. 7 South Carolina in The Swamp on Saturday afternoon confirmed what we've been hearing about the Gators over the last two weeks—they are for real.

Sure, the offense was remarkably average, which might be too kind. But the defense the Gators displayed was championship-caliber.

Not SEC East championship-caliber, national championship-caliber.

Yes, the Gators benefited from two South Carolina special teams turnovers which resulted in 14 points, but it wouldn't have mattered. The Gators gave up 191 yards for the game.

Not a half, a game.

Head coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn harassed quarterback Connor Shaw, held the Gamecocks rushing attack in check and forced South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier to grow impatient and bench his quarterback—which turned out to be his ultimate downfall.

Don't get me wrong, Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw was bad on Saturday, but South Carolina didn't get to where it is in the national rankings by running with his ability to pass the ball. It got there with a devastating rushing attack, which Florida neutralized to the tune of 36 rushing yards.

That is total domination.

Florida doesn't need to be fancy on the offensive side of the ball. The Gators are aggressive and fundamentally sound on defense, and they know that the running game is always there with the emergence of Mike Gillislee.

That's a recipe for success.

Florida has gone on the road to beat No. 18 Texas A&M and to beat Tennessee in Knoxville in the biggest game on Rocky Top in six years. Florida also physically dominated No. 6 LSU and blew the doors off of No. 7 South Carolina.

That's not only the resume of a national championship contender, it's the resume of the top team in the country.

Florida's defense beat that fact into the ground for a full 60 minutes against South Carolina on Saturday night.