This article always deals with the First Amendment and freedom of speech, so in that
regard, we have decided to speak on one of our favorite topics. In fact, it might be the first time
since we have been writing this article that we have spoken on this subject. The topic is the
University of Florida deserving to be the 2008 College National Champions.
Why are the Gators the legitimate national champions? The answer is simple: They won
the National Championship Game. Should they have been in the National Championship Game
might be another story. However, having been selected to play in that game and having won it,
having agreed to abide by the rules of the BCS and coming out on top, the Florida Gators are the
legitimate national champions.
Although we are avid Gator fans, nowhere in the article will you hear us say that the
Florida Gators were the best team in college football in 2008. In fact, good arguments can be
made by Utah, Texas, and USC that they were better teams. Without a true playoff system, those
arguments will never be tested even though they may be legitimate.
First of all, there is Utah. Playing out of the Mountain West Conference it becomes
almost impossible for a team such as Utah to win the National Championship. The Conference
does not get one of the automatic bids to play in a BCS game and because of the stigma attached
to that conference, teams such as Utah start off the year with low national rankings thereby
almost assuring that even with a perfect 13-0 season, they cannot ascend to number one ranking.
Is it fair? Of course it’s not. But that’s the rules and the Mountain West and Utah agree to play
by those rules.
USC (University of Southern California) also can pump their chests and declare that they
were the best team in the nation. They had one loss to an inconference opponent. Their
conference that being the Pac-10 went undefeated in its bowl games thereby dispelling the
rumors that the conference was a bad conference and actually proving that it was quite good. As
the champions of the Pac-10, and having only one loss such as Oklahoma and Florida had, they
too can argue that they should have played at the National Championship game. Their victory
over Penn State in the Rose Bowl, another team with one loss going into the game, also bolsters
their argument that they were the best team in the nation.
Then there is Texas. The Longhorns beat Oklahoma during the regular season as
convincingly as Florida beat Oklahoma in the National Championship game. They also had one
loss and that was by one point in the last second of the game to Texas Tech. Having beaten
Oklahoma they had every right to complain why they were not in the National Championship
game. However, the rules of the Big 12 Conference were adhere to and Oklahoma got the nod to
play in the championship game. Therefore, Texas who beat Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl ended
up with one loss and also has every right to argue that it was the best team.
The bottom line is that the Florida Gators are the true National Champions. However,
unfortunately as opposed to all other sports, being the National Champions does not mean that
you are the best. It means that you navigated the rules and procedures of the BCS (Bowl
Championship Series), better than others and coaches and computers decided to allow you to
play in the championship game. The BCS is kind of like the Miss America Pageant. No one can
say that Ms. Iowa is truly prettier than Ms. Nevada. It is all a matter of opinion. In a beauty
contest there is no way of determining a winner or a loser except by opinion. However, in sport,
competition has always been the way in determining the best. Yet, almost every year the BCS
ends up being a beauty competition to decide who plays the championship game.
Do not feel sorry for the Utahs, Texases, or USC’s of the world. Their presidents and
athletic directors have wholeheartedly signed on to be part of the ridicules process called the
BCS. They have decided to be part of this farce for the sake of the “bowl games” which for
decades have pumped money into the different conferences and different schools. They have
allowed a system to continue in place although virtually every year there is clamoring that
something needs to be done with this system.
Two years ago, Michigan felt that it was slighted by not getting a re-match with Ohio
State in the National Championship Game that yielded the University of Florida as the National
Champions. A couple of years before that, there was Auburn, undefeated and playing in the
Southeast Conference arguably the toughest conference in college football and they were not
invited the big dance. Every year there are one, two, three, four, five teams even that feel
slighted and by and large these teams do have a right to feel slighted. So as long as there is this
mess called the BCS, teams will feel slighted, teams will win championships with others arguing
that they were better, teams will be forced to run up the score against lowly opponents just to get
beauty points, and starters will not be replaced by substitutes just so the wins can look more
Having said all of this, the University of Florida is the 2008 college football national
champion. To this, there is only one thing that we can say and that is “Go Gators”.
Next month, we will get back to First Amendment news and adult freedoms. However,
sometimes having a forum to say what you feel like saying and writing what you feel like writing
is not a bad thing.