Thoughts of our SEC and Florida brethren

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA — Everybody has an opinion on Monday night’s BCS
National Championship Game. Gator Country asked our Southeastern
Conference and Sunshine State brethren to weigh in with their thoughts.

“I think Ohio State should be the favorite, but I have been skeptical about the level of competition in the Big 10 this year so I won’t be surprised if the Gators find a way to win. Florida can play defense and has enough firepower on offense to make it interesting.”

Mark Murphy


“Florida’s 2006 team reminds me of Tennessee’s 1998 national title team. The defense does the heavy lifting and the offense makes just enough plays to win. The Gators often win ugly but they DO win. Given the stakes Monday night, neither team is likely to play its best game. That means the most resourceful team will win, and Florida has shown itself to be very resourceful. Bottom line: I think the Gators will give the Buckeyes fits, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they win.

Randy Moore


“Rest assured, all Vanderbilt fans will be tuned in to Fox Monday night to cheer on the Gators. SEC pride is on the line, and USC has already exposed Michigan as a fraud! But all conference prejudices aside, trying to break down this game from a truly unbiased viewpoint… Ohio State should prevail. The Buckeyes have no obvious weaknesses, and Urban Meyer’s Gators simply have too many. If the two teams play ten games, Florida wins no more than two. Can the Gators do what LSU did three years ago, pulling off a shocker in the season finale? I hope so, but I’m not expecting it.”

Brent Wiseman


“I think Florida has as good of chance as any team in the nation to knock off the Buckeyes. The Gators have a proven leader on offense, in senior quarterback Chris Leak. Dallas Baker and Andre Caldwell are both all conference type receivers. Ohio State has to be prepared also for freshman Tim Tebow, who’ll most certainly make his presense known in the running game, and maybe even the passing game. On defense, Florida’s possess some of bigger names in the SEC with Earl Everett, Brandon Siler and Reggie Nelson. Nelson may be the best defensive back in the country. Ohio State will have to adjust to the overall team speed of Florida, but Florida will have to play their best game to win.”

Brian Eldridge


“The Florida Gators have earned the right to play against Ohio State for the national championship leaving Michigan to play in the Rose Bowl against USC.

Coach Urban Meyer’s team plays four quarters with speed and determination, and the defensive front has been dominant all season in the tough SEC conference. Quarterbacks Chris Leak and Tim Tebow make a great balance behind center.

Ohio State will match the Gators’ defensive front with a tremendous offensive line. Field general quarterback Troy Smith has all the confidence of his teammates, and the well-rested Buckeyes look to claim the title.

The battle of the lineman instead of the high-profiled quaterbacks will likely detemine the outcome. The Gators need a little luck in the kicking game as well to keep it close.”

Andrew Bone


“I think that Florida has an excellent shot against the Buckeyes and it all comes down to coaching and the type of players encompassing the Gator roster. Like him or not – and I will go with the not – but Urban Meyer knows how to coach and does a better job of anyone in the country of utilizing talent. Ohio State is arguably the more talented team from top to bottom but combine the UF coaching staff with the amount of athleticism that is a traditional attribute of a Division 1 football program in the state of Florida and the Buckeyes may be in some trouble come Monday night.”

Brandon Mellor


“Florida seems vastly underrated by way too many people going into the national championship game. Any team good enough to win the Southeastern Conference can compete with the nation’s top teams. Florida’s speed and defense are superb and I just have a feeling the Florida offense will have a point to prove in this game. It would not surprise in the least to see the Gators duplicate what the basketball team and come home with the national championship.”

Larry Vaught

Sports Editor

The Advocate-Messenger

“Two titans will clash on Monday evening when the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes play the SEC Champion Florida Gators in the BCS Championship Game.

The Gators possess the nation’s #10 ranked defense and have more team speed than any opponent the Buckeyes have faced this season. How Heisman winning quarterback Troy Smith and the potent Ohio State offense react to that speed will play an important role in the game.

The Gators’ offense, on the other hand, is not necessarily a strength, as Florida has averaged under 24 points per game this year against opponents not named Southern Miss, Central Florida, and Western Carolina. Florida will have to find a way to keep pace with the nation’s #6 ranked offense by producing big plays on offense, winning the field position and turnover battles, and having a strong showing on special teams. The Gators will keep the game interesting, but in the end, the Buckeyes will be too much for them to handle.”

Prediction: Ohio State 31 Florida 21

Jonathan Jolley


“I disagree with JJ….I think the Gators take this one.”

Doug Jolley