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SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
1/08/2007 11:58:00 PM

Gators' Defense Unbelievable

Oakland Arena
Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith had no answer for a suffocating, lightning-fast Florida defense.
AP
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In last year’s BCS title game, we watched two epic offenses, USC and Texas, exchange blows for 60 minutes. Tonight, we watched what can only be described as one of the most dominant defensive performances you’ll ever see in a championship setting.

Florida held Ohio State to just over 80 yards of total offense the entire game. Think about that for a second. A Buckeyes offense that featured a Heisman Trophy quarterback, a 1,000-yard rusher and a cast of dangerous receivers (though obviously far less scary without Ted Ginn Jr.) managed just one touchdown and 82 yards for the entire game. Major, major props to the Florida defense.

Do you think Charlie Strong can get a head-coaching gig now?

Florida did not do much offensively in the second half, but it did not need to. The Gators’ defense kept up the same level of suffocating pressure the entire game, holding Troy Smith to an astounding 35 passing yards. Unreal.

The clock has just ticked to 0:00 and the celebration has begun. It’s time to get down to the field and do interviews. Check back for my full column later tonight.
posted by Stewart Mandel | View comments |

Comments:

Posted: 12:07 AM   by Anonymous
So I guess the SEC really IS overrated! Perhaps UF/LSU would have been a better matchup than UM/OSU... First, ND held to 30 yds in second half. Then OSU held under 100 yds. S-E-C.
Posted: 12:09 AM   by Anonymous
Steve Mandel !!

Welcome to SEC Football. I think you should cover more SEC games...just so you know how tough each team down here is, and thats why even a 1-loss SEC team is better than an undefeated Big 10 or Big 12 or Pac-10 teams.
By the way...the SEC offense wasn't too bad either was it...41-14 against the # 1 team. Also 41-14 against Notre Dame by LSU. Two big SEC powers.
Alabama will surely get out of its rut with Saban. Tennessee won't be far behind. And South Carolina with Spurrier, Georgia with Richt and Arkansas with Nutt and McFadden will be a force too.

SEC Rocks!! You Suck !!
Posted: 12:18 AM   by mattjcd
The Buckeyes play in the Big Ten. They hadn't seen the SEC defensive speed that blows past offensive tackles and eats quarterbacks alive. Ask Troy Smith where his poise went when he only had .9 seconds to make each decision...
Posted: 12:29 AM   by Anonymous
I sure hope work is pleasure. Having to write so soon after the game must be tough. I hope you still were able to enjoy the game!
Posted: 12:31 AM   by Anonymous
I think the Big 10 just got the memo. Their conference was GROSSLY overrated this year. Of course, cmon Mandel; you actually wrote that OSU had more than one "go to WR" unlike LSU? Are you kidding me. Gonzales couldn't even start for LSU. He might not even be their FOURTH WR!!!! UF played against TOUGH teams all year which is why they didn't have a bunch of blowouts. We've seen the top two in the Big 10. Hell, OSU's pretty good. They coulda finished 4th in the SEC. MAYBE!!!
Come on! Urban Meyer's junk system will never work in the SEC or against good teams like OSU. Never!
Posted: 12:47 AM   by Anonymous
I have title for your next article, "How to Eat Crow" by Stewart Mandel.
Posted: 12:51 AM   by Anonymous
Wow, thank God that those Michigan Wolverines- that would have been favored by 6 against Florida- didn't play Ohio State...right?
Posted: 12:57 AM   by Anonymous
Let's face it: If Troy Smith played in the SEC there is no way he would have won the Heisman. He just showed he didn't know how to handle a little SEC D.
Posted: 1:06 AM   by Anonymous
Boise State 2006-2007 National Champs.

Don't like it? Tell me who beat 'em.

Until there's a playoff, then us non Big Six fans are just going to tell you guys to stick it.

A belated shout out to the other national champs: Utah
Posted: 1:08 AM   by Anonymous
Florida, LSU, Auburn, Georgia all show that the SEC is the toughest conference in colledge football.
Posted: 1:10 AM   by Anonymous
i told mr Mandel this would happen 3 weeks ago except i thought T. Smith was going to throw a lot of pics. LSUs and OSUs offenses matchup wise are almost identical except LSU has more receivers. did mr Mandel listen? noooo. what are writers supposed to be paid for anyway?
Posted: 1:14 AM   by mcnadderson
Wow! Some respect for the ol' Gators from Mandel. How 'bout them apples.
Posted: 1:15 AM   by Anonymous
Stewie,

You must not have watched the same BCS game I did. Ohio State was crushed worse than Michigan was crushed by USC. You rank Ohio State #2 after that beating???? Come on! They didn't just lose they were walloped!

They took a beating that you thought Oklahoma was going to give Boise State! Now if Oklahoma had beaten Boise State that bad you would have dropped them like a rock.

Ohio State and Michigan are overrated! Look at what their league did in the bowls!

Stewie my man! You have this one all wrong. Boise State is the one and only undefeated team! They are #1.
Posted: 1:16 AM   by Anonymous
Been saying it all year, even against all the OSU/USC/ND media lovefest - the Gators are #1, and the SEC is where the real college football is at.

Can we now name the Big 10 "Little 10"?
Posted: 1:16 AM   by Anonymous
Boise State 2006-2007 National Champs.

Don't like it? Tell me who beat 'em.

Until there's a playoff, then us non Big Six conference fans are just going to tell you guys to stick it.

After all my team is ALLOWED to play for it all in March, even in January is a cruel screw job, advocated by elitist jerks.

A belated shout out to the other national champs:

Utah '05
Tulane '99

I'll even let the Auburn kids play along if they want.

See you in April when we have an EARNED national champ. Still congrats to the Gators... Noah, Horford, Green and Humphrey that is...
Posted: 1:16 AM   by Anonymous
Wow i gotta say that was one hell of a performance by the Gators tonight--and this coming from a diehard Georgia fan! Except for the opening Ginn, Jr. td run, it was all UF from start to finish. I don't know if it was an exceptional UF game plan, a sluggish OSU team, or a combination of the two, but kudos to the Gators!

I heard one of the commentators say that the recently-implemented graduate student transfer rule has been rescinded--is this true? Any insight would be welcome.
Posted: 1:17 AM   by Anonymous
Looks like Stew has a lot of foot to remove from his mouth. But hopefully this talk of Boise State will die the quick death it more than deserves. A whopping 5 teams on their regular season schedule had a winning record. An undefeated schedule against that lineup is no feat worthy of distinction...and we don't even have to get into naming the schools they played. Please Stew, no matter how bad you called the OSU-UF matchup, don't jump on the Boise State Bandwagon.
Posted: 1:22 AM   by jorge
stew,
you and yourbig ten bias (I know you love to hear that) talked about speed. Do you remember that article? yea, SEC was caught up to by the big 10ish conference. Do you want to tell it again? I don't know which game you watched. But the one I saw saw the class of the big 10ish get KILLED. Lets just leave it at that.
Posted: 1:31 AM   by Anonymous
Oh, ye of so little faith. The Gator Nation told you what was going to happen, told you they were worthy, and told you not to doubt them. You should have paid attention.

It was a brilliant game, a game the believers always knew was in this team, a game that showed the college football world of journalistic punditry ---naysayers almost every one of them--- that SEC football was the real deal, and that the University of Florida was the cream of that crop. They punched, pummeled, and punished a worthy opponent, and in so doing proved their valorous mettle.

Hail to the Champions, the Florida Gators!
Posted: 1:31 AM   by Anonymous
Defense Defense Defense wins championships. How many times do we hear this? Well tonight shows that that this stat still holds true. What a complete contribution from the entire defensive line. Moss and Harvey held their own and dominated through a stout OSU o-line.

Congrats to both teams for making it to this stage and hats off to a calm, cool and now national champion Chris Leak for all that he has been through and accomplished for Florida.

GO GATORS!!!
Posted: 1:34 AM   by Anonymous
Troy Smith was sacked more times than he completed a pass. I am a student at Georgia and am glad Ohio State was stuffed. OVERRATED!!!
Posted: 2:07 AM   by Anonymous
Every time someone claimed it was going to be an OSU blowout, my only defense with the inconsistency of Florida offense, was that the Gators can play some D...And they did...Defense wins championships...Leak did an outstanding job, but only because the D completely contained Smith and company.
Posted: 2:09 AM   by Anonymous
Mandel your love affair of the Sec is completly out of hand. i cant wait to watch Ohio state kick the crap out of your beloved bias.
Posted: 2:39 AM   by Greg Huntoon
Sure makes me wish that a certain 13-9 loss on December 2nd worked out a different way. I think SC would've walked all over that Ohio State team that showed up tonight. But then, really, we wouldn't have seen this Florida team which showed clearly why they are the 2006 National Champions. Congrats to all you Gators out there! Great game guys!
Where are all the SEC haters now? I guess that the best of the "others" can't hang with the best of the SEC.

It's really telling to hear the Florida players say that they played numerous SEC opponents that were better than Ohio State.

Congrats to the University of Florida!!!
Posted: 3:03 AM   by Anonymous
In the end, not only is it obvious that Michigan did not deserve another shot at Ohio State in the champoinship game, but that Ohio State played like they didn't deserve to be there either. The Big Ten was way overrated this year.
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