Monday, June 1, 2009

It's the Gators' World, and the Rest of Us are Just Living in It

The inimitable, awesome, and all-around god-like Matt "Dr. Saturday" Hinton has been running a series on the likeliest contenders for college football's 2009 national championship. As his last in the series, he comes to the likeliest of the likely, the stackedest of the stacked, the defending champion Florida Gators. It is not hard to see why he labels the Orange and Blue as the team with the best shot at ascending to the throne (or, in UF's case, retaining it): The Mighty Gators return their perennial Heisman Trophy-contender quarterback in Tim Tebow, pretty much every important player from a defense that was ninth in the country in fewest yards against and fourth in fewest points, and a stable of explosive athletes, all coached by Urban Meyer, who has as good an argument as anyone for being the best coach in college football.

If there is one chink in the armor, however, it's Florida's propensity to lose games it should not lose (a trait shared by two of college football's other reigning monoliths, LSU and Southern California): to Mississippi in 2008, to lower/unranked-ranked teams Auburn, Georgia, and Michigan, plus a loss to LSU in a game UF had controlled for most of the night in 2007, and to Auburn in their national-title season of 2006. The Gators overcame the '06 loss in part because they played such an impressively-difficult schedule. The '09 slate, which misses Alabama and Ole Miss, two of the SEC West's three power teams, might lack such opportunities to wow voters, meaning Florida will probably have to run the table to play for the crystal football (valued at $30,000). Fortunately, no team in the country, not even mighty USC, which has to replace its star quarterback and much of its defense, is better suited for such a run.

In response, by the way, to Hinton's column is this one luscious, to-be-savored comment from poster Erik, who tells the world that he "wouldn't piss on the gayturds if they where on fire."

You stay classy, Internet message-board denizens.

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