Top Gator Stories of 2010 -- Part 3

We continue our review of the top Gator sports stories with the third of five articles featuring three stories in each. Today's segment will involve three different Gator teams, but before we do that, let's take a look at the six stories we've already included.

No. 15 A fast start to 2010-11 All-Sports
No. 14 Gymnastics team wins SEC, struggles at NCAA
No. 13 Denver trades up to grab Tim Tebow
No. 12 Gators crushed at Alabama
No. 11 Rookie QB is Trey-mendous
No. 10 Gators finish 2nd in National All-Sports standings

No. 9 John Brantley and Gator offense struggle ---
It seemed simple enough. The Gators would ease the transition from Tim Tebow to Johnny Brantley at QB by breaking out the game plan for the 41-14 win over Ohio State that earned the Gators the 2006 BCS Championship and put it to work each Saturday. But that's not at all what happened. Florida remained committed to the read-option portion of the spread offense with borderline disastrous results. Brantley could not -- or would not -- run with the ball. Thus opposing defenses would not respect that aspect of the option. Florida spent the year as one of the worst first quarter offenses in the country and ended up with the least productive offense the Gators have put on the field since 1989. Brantley ended the season with just nine touchdown passes against 10 interceptions. This from a guy who threw seven TD passes in 48 attempts in '09.

No. 8 Gator Basketball returns to the NCAA Tournament --- After the thrill of winning back to back NCAA Tournaments in 2006 & '07 the Gator program took a significant step backwards with NIT bids in the following two campaigns. Florida entered the 2009-10 season looking for a return to the big dance and they got it, but not with much too to spare. Florida coach Billy Donovan saw his team take a huge step towards the field of 65 with wins over Michigan State and Rutgers up in Atlantic City on Thanksgiving weekend. The Gators opened SEC play with losses to Vanderbilt and Kentucky, but then won 9-of-11 league games to seemingly lock up a bid. However it got interesting when the Gators lost their final three regular season games and most thought the team was again on the bubble as they headed to the SEC Tournament. A 78-69 win over Auburn sealed a bid, but Florida didn't stay in the big dance for long, dropping a 99-92 decision to Brigham Young in double overtime.

No. 7 Gator Softball returns to CWS --- It's become a little bit expected that Tim Walton is going to have a great softball team at UF, and the Florida head man came through again in 2010. Despite losing ace pitcher Stacey Nelson to graduation Walton led the Gators to another superb season; posting a 49-10 record and earning a third straight trip to the College World Series in Oklahoma City. Florida clubbed opponents into submission, clobbering 109 home runs during the season. Francesca Enea, the all-time home run leader led the way with 20, almost out-homering Gator opponents (22) for the second straight year. Freshman Brittany Schutte added 19 as six Gator hitters homered in double figures. Walton's record over the past three seasons in an eye-popping 182-20.

We have six stories still to tell, well seven actually but more on that later. Coming up tomorrow, another team makes the CWS, a great playing career ends and it's déjà vu all over again.

Fightin Gators Top Stories