It was announced at the Orange and Blue game on Saturday that the BCS National Champion Florida Gators have been invited to the White House to visit with President Obama. An honor that is bestowed on all National Champions in America.
An honor and tradition that I truly like and enjoyed whenever one of my favorite teams have made it all the way to the status of Champion. The crowded applauded very loud over this announcement.
But, now I am having some ambivalence over this invitation. And, please before I get any negative comments this is not a political statement. This is a sports page where I come to write about sports and enjoy some wonderful articles by some very talented writers.
My dilemma with this invitation very simple. President Obama made a point of saying that we needed a playoff. Probably an argument that I can debate in another article and one that I am inclined to agree with.
But, as the system stands right now, BCS Championship, the Gators went out in 2008 and took care of business.
They won the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference. Went on to face the number one team in the nation, the Alabama Crimson Tide and beat them. They subsequently got the vote in the BCS and AP Polls and went on to face the Oklahoma Sooners and beat them.
I remember the conversation like it was yesterday.
President Obama looked into the camera and said, congrats to the Gators, and I think Tebow is wonderful, and I actually have a Secret Serviceman that has a son on the Florida Gators, but, (there is that word that really got me) wouldn't you feel better, if you had a playoff system. I mean there is Texas that has a argument and USC."
I remember thinking I was feeling pretty good about the University of Florida. I thought the Gators had gone out played within parameters set, earn the votes of the sports writers and coaches and performed on the field.
I was thinking how dare you talk about the Gators. It didn't matter that it was the President. Which goes to show we fans will banter with anyone anywhere about our team.
I am not going say that our President shouldn't have an opinion. I actually like that he is involved in sports and that ESPN seemed to always seek who he is pulling for individual playoffs. I even compared his bracket to my bracket.
I even applauded as it was announced that he was having a Super Bowl Party even though I didn't agree with who is was pulling for.
My beef is again is as stated. The Gators had a dream season. They dismantle the SEC competition in 2008 with only one loss to Ole Miss. They came out on top against the hardest hitting team in the NCAA last year in football the Crimson Tide. The kept the most productive offense in college football history in the Sooners.
And, the President lessen our moment. Took away from the congrats by supporting the Longhorns and a playoff system. Not good.
Now, the President wanted to know if the Gators would feel better about the Championship if it had been at the end of a playoff. Well, here's news for you Mr President. I don't know any Gator that's not feeling good right now and it's three months later.
I don't know one Gator that was walking around on the night of Jan 8th or any day after that saying, "we would sure feel better right now if this was USC, or Texas, or Utah, or just a playoff system."
Actually we felt and feel mighty fine. Fans celebrated throughout the night. Those with orange and blue stayed and watched the whole celebration and played in confetti.
Folks listen as player after player and coach after coach were interviewed.
The Gatornation faithful cried as they saw Dan Mullen walk off a Gator. We cried as we watched Harvin celebrate and remembered his rehab and marveled at his courage. We gator chomped every time we saw crimson and white and then we waited outside the stadium to get a glimpse of our Champions one more time.
I promise you President Obama we felt pretty good. As a matter of fact we are still gloating. Heck we are thinking we will have a team to repeat in this same flawed system in in 2009.
I just don't know if the Gators should accept this invitation so that you can rain on our perpetual parade.
But, here is my suggestion if we do. I don't think we should bring you a Gator jersey. I think we should call and ask Mack Brown for a Longhorns jersey. You and the whole state of Texas thought they should be in the National Championship Game.
Or maybe Urban should see if Mark Sanchez has an old jersey he is not using since he's headed to the NFL and bring that to you.
All I am saying is, "the President this year has taken away some of the excitement and honor for me."