Tuesday, January 9, 2007


It's doubly great to be a Florida Gator.

One chomp, two champs.

Who would have thought that the national championship basketball coach -- Billy Donovan -- would live two doors down from the national championship football coach -- Urban Meyer -- in the same Gainesville neighborhood? Should be one hellacious Mardi gras block party.

Meyer's Gators came into this championship game billed as a team of destiny, but, brother, this was not destiny. This was domination. This was devastation. This was destruction. This was the antithesis of Nebraska 11 years ago in this very desert.

This is the 100-year anniversary of Florida football, and wouldn't you know it: The Gators pulled off one of the most shocking upsets of the century. Exactly 10 years after winning their first national title with a rout of No. 1-ranked Florida State, the Gators destroyed another undefeated team a decade later.

The naysayers said the Gators didn't belong in the game at all. The oddsmakers and media experts picked them to lose handily. But the Gators -- these gritty, gutty Gators -- did not care. Their fans were outnumbered, their team was outranked, but they believed. They believed in themselves. They believed in their coach. They believed in their quarterback.

Talk about validation and vindication, maybe now QB Chris Leak finally will get the credit he is due as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Florida and Southeastern Conference history.

And all those questions surrounding Meyer have been answered unequivocally. People wondered whether he was ready for a big-time job like Florida. People wondered whether his offense could work in the big leagues of a BCS conference. People wondered whether he ever could emerge from the immense shadow of Steve Spurrier.

Yes, yes and ohmygawd yes.

From Mike Bianchi (the greatest sports columnist out there) of the Orlando Sentinel.