Chris Carlson/Associated Press
Coach: Urban Meyer
Player Accolades: First-team All-SEC—C Steve Rissler, WR Dallas Baker, DT Ray McDonald, LB Earl Everett, FS Reggie Nelson; Second-team All-SEC—OL Drew Miller, OL Phil Trautwein, QB Chris Leak, DE Derrick Harvey, LB Brandon Siler, CB Ryan Smith; SEC Freshman of the Year—WR Percy Harvin; Freshman All-SEC team—Harvin, KR Brandon James, QB Tim Tebow
Average Margin of Victory: 16.2
Average Margin of Victory vs. SEC: 6.9
Average Margin of Victory vs. Ranked Teams (at time of game or at season’s end): 8.0 (Six games)
Statement Win: LSU in Gainesville, 23-10
Season Finish: BCS National Champs
Urban Meyer delivered a national championship to Florida in just his second year.
The offensive mastermind did so with a spread-offense system many SEC traditionalists didn’t think could win at a championship level.
He also bucked conventional wisdom by effectively utilizing a two-quarterback system throughout the season. Of course it helps that the two quarterbacks were Chris Leak—who at last met lofty expectations during his final run—and Tim Tebow—then a true freshman.
Florida’s lone loss came on the road to an Auburn team that finished No. 9 with an 11-2 record.
The Gators turned in their statement victory in early October when LSU came to town as a 2.5-point favorite with ESPN’s College GameDay on the scene.
Florida intercepted LSU quarterback Jamarcus Russell three times in capturing the victory.
Meyer saved his program’s true signature win for last, though, when his squad slaughtered Ohio State 41-14 in the Fiesta Bowl.
Ohio State went undefeated during the regular season, capping it with a hard-fought triumph over rival Michigan. The two were ranked first and second, respectively, when the game kicked off, and there was early speculation that they could meet in a rematch to determine the BCS championship.
Florida instead got its chance by beating No. 8 Arkansas in the SEC Championship Game.
The Buckeyes, led by Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, entered as a 7-point favorite.
Ted Ginn ran back the opening kickoff to spark Ohio State, but Florida responded with a ferociousness not seen all season.
The Gators scored on five of their first six drives in jumping out to a 34-14 halftime lead.
With Florida’s defense hitting on all cylinders, Smith and the Buckeyes managed just 82 yards of total offense and eight first downs—two of which came on penalties.
As an added bonus, four coaches on that staff are now head coaches—Charlie Strong at Texas, Dan Mullen at Mississippi State, Steve Addazio at Temple and Doc Holliday at Marshall.