There is a general consensus in the college football world that the 2009 national championship is Florida’s to lose. The Gators have won two of the last three national titles. Their quarterback already has one Heisman Trophy in his pocket and is virtually worshipped in Gainesville. Only one other person has won the Heisman twice, but Tim Tebow could easily become the second. They lost only once last season, by one point, on a missed extra point in the Mississippi game. They dominated everyone else, including closest contenders Oklahoma and Alabama. Many argue that no one else in America has as much talent as Florida does right now, and they are probably right. This team can only beat themselves.
Unfortunately, that has been known to happen in the past, and last season’s Mississippi game is an example of that. This team scored more than 50 points in five games last season. If you take away the Mississippi game, no one else was within 11 points of Florida. Not only are they talented, they have confidence in their talent to simply blow away the competition.
Though the offense was powerful, the defense was the true story of the season. While the offense struggled in an early season game against Miami the defense held the Canes to only three points. That game was a very close game until the final period when the offense finally showed up. The defense had similar performances in giving up just five points to Kentucky, six to Tennessee, and seven to Arkansas. As frightening as it sounds, this defense could be even better this year. All 11 starters return from last season, as well as most of the key backups. Jermaine Cunningham is an all-American defensive end. Middle linebacker Brandon Spikes may not only be the best linebacker in America, he might be the best defensive player overall. Ahmad Black returns with seven interceptions to lead a secondary that picked off 17 passes among the four starters alone. If you move the ball against this defense at all you will have accomplished something.
It is not like the defense even has to be that good, either. Tebow can make anything happen with either his arms or his legs. He is the only player to rush for 20 touchdowns and pass for 20 touchdowns in a single season, doing so two years ago. Last year he threw for 30 TD’s against just four interceptions too. The guy doesn’t make mistakes and may be the best all-around leader in college football. Jeffrey Demps and Chris Rainey are both speedy running backs that will make sure Tebow does not have to do all the rushing himself. Just bout the only knock against the Florida offense is that it must replace its top two receivers. That is hardly a pressing concern on a team that is this loaded. Florida has recruited better than anyone else in America. Someone will come in to replace the likes of Percy Harvin and the offense will not miss a beat.
Chuck Smith is a sports writer for www.sportsfantreasures.com.
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