On the Shoulders of Tebow: Florida's Road to a National Championship
The SEC Conference seems to be the conference of champions the past two years (Florida in 2006, LSU in 2007). Now the present danger of the SEC this year is the same as in years past; everyone has the possibility of winning it.
Well, besides Ole Miss and South Carolina, who seem to perpetually fall short or mess up, respectively.
The road has many intersecting paths, but let us look at the road that we Gator fans alike hope to see.
It is a tough road indeed, but with the arm of Tebow, the legs of Percy, and that defense that seems to be gaining confidence and momentum, there is a nice possibility for another fancy trophy at the end of this year's road.
First stop on this road was with Hawaii. 56-10. Enough said there.
Second stop was Miami. 26-3. Although a nice score, the teams duelled all the way through the third quarter when Florida's conditioning showed and they took advantage with sheer strength.
Next stop is Knoxville, Tenn., home of the Volunteers. It is a tough environment to play in and has a lot of historic games between the two teams in this stadium.
The most recent one to my memory was the night Wilhoit missed the extra point and then hit a 55-yard field goal to win it with six seconds left in 2004. Needless to say, Wilhoit probably was gettin' lucky that night.
This year there is a grudge on the table. Tennessee was embarrassed 59-20 in Gainesville a year ago. Now it is time for revenge and what better way to start SEC conference play than a win against Florida to hurt the Gators' chances of going to the title game. Again.
Fourth stop on the road to a title is Ole Miss at home. Ole Miss has always proven tough for the Gators. Last year at Ole Miss, the Gators narrowly escaped with a victory 30-24. Hopefully this year they will come out with something to prove against a rebuilding team.
Fifth on the title drive, Florida travels to Arkansas. This may prove to be an easy game, or seem to be that way. LSU went in thinking it would be an easy game to win and ended up losing, almost losing a chance at a title. Hopefully the Gators will have their heads on straight and take nothing as easy this year.
A rematch! To go 6-0, the Gators must take on LSU at home. They look for revenge after a late fourth-quarter loss in Baton Rouge last year. What goes around comes around. This one should prove to be an exciting rematch and hopefully a good win as it was in the 2006 season.
Next up is the Bluegrass State of Kentucky. While the Wildcats have had some offseason setbacks, the defense looks scrappy enough to go into conference play at 4-0.
This may prove to be tricky for the Gators because just like everyone else, the Wildcats come to play against Florida and may prove to be a tougher foe than meets the eye.
Now for the test of the year. The ever popular, oh so hyped, Florida-Georgia game. This is looking to be the battle for the SEC East this year.
Although both teams seem pretty stacked, Florida's defense has to get together and stop Moreno from his vicious running attack and Stafford from his nice passing skills.
The key to this game will be defense. Without it, this could look like a PAC-10 game, and who in the SEC wants that?
After the test of the year, which possibly, as it seems at this point, could decide the fate of the SEC East, the Gators travel to Vanderbilt.
This has always seemed like the easy game of the year, but for the Gators it is a yearly struggle. In 2005, the Gators almost lost at home in double-OT against Vandy. It is a yearly struggle, but the Gators have put together a 17-game win streak against Vandy.
This year, Vandy seems to be a stout team. This one seems to be in the favor of the Gators, and for fun predicting purposes, I'll say Gators by 24.
The kick is up. Jarvis Moss blocks the kick! The Gators survive! This was in the 2005-2006 season when this kick became known as the "Cock Block".
Now back in Gainesville two years later, the Gators as previously stated are poised for a championship. Nothing makes for a good rival like an Ol' Ball Coach against his former team that he took from nothing to one of the most outstanding programs of the 90's.
The break in the Gators schedule, The Citadel. This should prove to be nothing more than a practice squad game. No huge challenge.
Of course, that's what Michigan said about Appalachian State one year ago. I don't think Urban Meyer will let something like that happen though. No worries. The Gators prevail in true high scoring fashion.
The final game of the season and the rival of the ages, at Florida State. Last year in the swamp, the Gators made it look easy. This year it will be Senior Day in Tallahassee.
Florida has to come in with confidence and poise. It is a rivalry that Florida has won four times in a row, and the Gators hold the series advantage. Be careful, though, because all rankings go out the door in a rivalry game.
Hopefully the next game on the schedule will be a great SEC Championship game. Of course, this early in the season it is anybody's for the taking.
My prediction is that either Auburn or Alabama will be the victor from the SEC West. This could turn out to be an exciting match up and determine the National Championship with whomever may play.
As all Gator fans would hope, the final stop would be at the National Championship. There are many things that could happen to cause the Gators to be in or out, but all fingers crossed this is one of the more hyped years in Gator football history in the recent pass aka post-Spurrier era.
Things could shake out to make a great football season, but as for most Gator fans like myself we want one thing: Another Championship, with Tebow leading the team himself. It makes for an exciting year and fun all the same.
I leave this article saying "Go Gators!" Let's see what happens!!!
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