The big question everyone is asking is – what happened to Ohio State? Everyone is talking about how the Gators destroyed the Buckeyes to win the 2006 BCS College Football Championship. The Gators seemed like they were in a different league than the Buckeyes. And, the truth is, they are.
The 41-14 final score makes the game seem closer than it was. Half of the Buckeyes 14 points came from their opening kick-off return. After that play, the Buckeyes were completely dominated in every phase of the game. Florida had 370 total yards to Ohio State's 82. The Buckeyes' Heisman Trophy quarterback Troy Smith was held to only 4 pass completions (2 in each half); 35 passing yards; 1 interception; 0 touchdowns. The BCS Championship game was the worst game in Troy Smith's career.
It's not a coincidence that the National Championship game was also the first time Troy Smith had ever been on the same field with the speed and power of a Southeastern Conference (SEC) football team. I bet a lot of Buckeye players celebrated the day after the game. Celebrated the fact that they will never again play on the same field with a team from the SEC.
There is an old saying that "practice makes perfect." Playing in the SEC, Florida gets lots of practice. In 2006, the Gators had the toughest schedule in the nation (.643 opponents winning percentage). Florida beat four Top-25 teams (LSU, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee) and lost to a fifth– # 9 Auburn. Additionally, they beat four other bowl teams (Alabama, South Carolina, Kentucky and Florida State). So, before last night's game, the Gators had already played against NINE other bowl teams.
Ohio State? Well, the Buckeyes play in the Big Ten and therefore only faced three Top-25 teams all year. They averaged over 36 points and 410 yards a game against mostly weak opponents. Ohio State simply was unprepared for the talent and intensity of a team like Florida. Gators defensive end Jarvis Moss said after the game that four or five SEC teams could beat Ohio State. I would not go that far, but it is true that all nine SEC teams Florida faced (including Vanderbilt) played the Gators tougher than Ohio State did.
You need more proof the SEC is in a league of its own? OK Since the advent of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system, the SEC leads all conferences (by a wide margin) with a 10-4 BCS bowl game record. SEC teams are an undefeated 3-0 in BCS National Championship games. In this past college football season, the SEC:
1. Led the nation with six teams in the final AP Top-25 poll. No other conference had more than four.
2. In the regular season, the SEC had an incredible 41-7 non-conference record. This .854 non-conference winning percentage was the best in the nation.
3. Had the most teams selected for bowls (9) and the most bowl wins (6). No other conference had more than 4 …