Ohio State went into tonight’s national championship game favored to beat Florida in a wipeout. Some people questioned whether the Gators even belonged in the game at all. They proved it by reversing expectations and blowing out Ohio State, 41-14:
Not even close.
Florida — yes Florida — owned the field it wasn’t supposed to be on, embarrassing Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and No. 1 Ohio State 41-14 on Monday night to run away with the national championship.
Chris Leak and Tim Tebow showed off coach Urban Meyer’s twin quarterback system to perfection as the No. 2 Gators became the first Division I school to hold football and basketball titles at the same time.
I managed to watch the whole game, even though little doubt remained about the outcome after halftime. Ohio State scored on the opening kickoff and managed one decent drive, but otherwise the Gators dominated the supposed #1 team in the country. Troy Smith, who won the Heisman Trophy last month, looked like a rookie under the pressure of the underrated Florida defense. The Buckeye defense, on the other hand, looked confused and slow all night long.
And now we do have to ask about the Boise State Broncos. BSU went 13-0, the highest-ranked team to go undefeated this season. Florida and Ohio State both had a loss this year. Florida may have beaten Ohio State, but no one beat the Broncos — and they knocked off a tough Oklahoma squad in a game that may have been one of the best in college football history. Sports writers will have to ask themselves how they can support a once-defeated Florida team against the undefeated Broncos, and strength of schedule will not be a very convincing argument in favor of Florida.
Once again, we have a perfect example of why the “national championship” promoted by the NCAA and the BCS is little more than a marketing ploy. Unfortunately, we won’t even get a chance at a playoff system until 2010, even though the NCAA’s other football divisions all employ one to determine their champion. The Boise State Broncos will have to console themselves with the knowledge that being the only unbeaten team doesn’t count nearly as much as the money towards a national championship.