First thing is that my feelings during and after the game were completely different than two years ago. Against OSU my anxiety quickly turned to elation. On the other hand last night I had a sense of foreboding like the other shoe was going to drop at any moment. This was driven by two things which are relatively rare for this edition of the Gators:
1. Tebow interceptions. He threw two bad picks in uncharacteristic fashion.In 2006 winning the SEC and BCS was pure elation because of the lean Zook years in which I almost lost hope. This year I expected the Gators to win and be competitive at the top of the national picture.
2. Coaching mistake. I have rarely (if ever) seen Urban Meyer make a flat-out coaching mistake but last night he did. In a close game with Oklahoma punting from deep in their in own territory, Meyer called for a punt block. If you have one of the most dangerous return men in the country and you stand to get the ball (at worst) your own 40 yard line, why take a chance knowing you could bail OU out with a free first down on a roughing call. OSU ended up punting on that possession anyway but the field position changed.
I felt that OU was being "too cute" with their "check with the sideline" approach. They hurried up to the line but often ended up using about as much time as they might have had they huddled. The Gators too used this "cuteness" and it bit us on the ass somewhat with false starts.
I was listening to Steve Czaban on the radio and he said that OU's much maligned defense played good enough to win. Well, if OU's much maligned defense gave up an average of 24.5 points per game this season and they gave up 24 to Florida shouldn't they be maligned for that?
The point is that championship teams in college don't rank 57th in scoring defense. In the BCS era the winner of #1 vs. #2 match has historically on average ranked sixth in the nation in scoring defense. 57th is a far cry from 6th. Granted OU's offense played far below their averages and that's mainly why they lost but their defense played basically to the level they played at all season and that simply isn't good enough.
OU fans seemed gracious and classy. Perhaps being humbled so many times in big games in recent memory gave them trepidation about being cocky. I know I wasn't cocky. I thought we had an advantage based on our defense and that we should win the game. But that's an intellectual exercise and I've been a fan long enough and had my heart broken enough to know that the better team doesn't always win.
I still feel bad for Utah and I feel bad for the Gators. One of the things that makes me angry about the ludicrous BCS system is that the controversy it inspires actually takes away from the winner's glory. Florida won and yet there's a lot of AP writers who voted for Utah. And that's their right. But the point is that some will point to that and the records of the two teams and take away some legitimacy from the Gators. Meanwhile, Pete Carroll is recognized as having "two national titles" when in reality it's one or perhaps if you are charitable 1.5. It's a joke and it needs to be fixed.
If "every game is a playoff game" in college football as the apologists for the system claim, show me where Utah lost a playoff game. I wish there was a way we could play Utah or USC or Texas and have an undisputed champion.