Well you did it Urban Meyer, in two short years you've found your way to the national championship. You could never have accomplished that here with the Utes, especially with 1-loss, but now you're playing in the biggest game of your career and probably against the toughest opponent you've ever faced. I'll admit, I didn't think Meyer would have Florida playing for the national championship within two years. Don't get me wrong, I thought Meyer was very capable of doing it, I just thought going undefeated in SEC play would prove to be nearly impossible and what do you know, it actually was. I guessed since an undefeated Auburn team got the shaft in 2004, a one loss Florida team probably didn't have the goods, either. Well I was wrong and now Florida marches onto the field tonight, playing for the school's first national championship in ten years.
I can't help but think this is where Utah should have been two years ago. I know USC and Auburn were undefeated too, but I really do believe Utah would have defeated Auburn and put a good scare into USC. It's a shame that the system we have today will probably never allow a team like Utah or Boise State this year a realistic shot at the national championship. With that said, I'm skeptical Meyer has the goods to win it this year with Florida. Though if the Gators do win it tonight, it would not surprise me in the least. But Florida won't win this game on offensive domination, which Meyer is known for, the key will come down to their great defense.
Meyer has always been known as an offensive guy. His offense when arriving in Utah was touted as the fast break on the football field and it proved to be that and much more in 2004, as the Utes put together their highest scoring season in school history. Yet with all that Meyer has done on the offensive side of the ball, it's his defense that's kept Florida at the level they're playing. Without it, I seriously think the Gators would have struggled and the spread option would have been deemed an early flop by SEC fans and coaches alike.
The Gators only averaged 28 points this season, while giving up only 13. That 13 points is the biggest reason they're 12-1 and not 9-3 or 8-4. To compare, Florida's last national championship team averaged 47 points in 1996, using Steve Spurrier's famed "Fun 'N Gun" style of offense. Clearly there is a big difference between the offensive minded Gators of the 90s and the defensive dominate Gators of today, even if they are coached by an offensive genius like Urban Meyer.
Ohio State on the other hand enters this game rolling through their schedule. They've not lost once this season and though they had some scares, they've ultimately played as a team worthy for the national championship. Their sound drubbing of a healthy Texas team -- when quarterback Colt McCoy wasn't injured like he was in the later part of the season -- shows just what this team can do. I hate picking against Urban Meyer because he's a great coach, but I think Ohio State is just too good of an offensive team and has the defense to actually stop Chris Leak and Florida's offense. Troy Smith will do some damage and lead the Buckeyes to victory tonight, but it will be close.
Ohio State 31, Florida 28