This is no small task considering the single game, single season and career record numbers available as well as numbers of championships, memorable scores and you could even consider uniform numbers (I did not).
With that here are my picks for the ten best numbers in Gator history. Hopefully I didn't leave your favorite out.
- 10) 18 Reidel Anthony TD receptions in 1996 ----- The '96 Gators were an amazing bunch offensively but Anthony was something to behold with his SEC record scores.
- 9) 316 Emmitt Smith yards vs. New Mexico ----- This was the first game I ever called play-by-play on for SportsChannel and it was supposed to be a blowout. Instead it was a 27-21 nail-biter and a school-record on the ground. Emmitt also broke Neal Anderson's career rushing record on this remarkable day.
- 8) 5 SEC Championship Game Wins ---- When the SEC split off into divisions for the 1992 season it was obvious every team in the league would have as their # 1 goal making it into the contest. Florida has made it to more games (7) and won more (5) than any other school.
- 7) 1,599 Emmitt rushing yards in 1989 ----- Single season rushing records are cool things and this season was phenomenal considering that it was more than 500 better than Kyle Morris' team-high passing yards.
- 6) 102 Wins in the Decade of the ‘90's ----- The Gators had never had a 10-win season in all the years prior to the nineties, but under Steve Spurrier the Gators averaged better than ten a year. The decade included a pair of 12-win seasons and at least nine wins each year. It was the "decade of the Gator" and made UF an elite program nationally.
- 5) 96 yards pass from Bell to Nattiel ----- The Dawgs had dominated the Gators for the previous two decades often winning in the most devastating ways. But in 1984 the Gators were better, with a 17-nothing lead the staged a world class goal line stand. Three players later Kerwin finds Rickey streaking down the sideline and the win was in the bag.
- 4) 32-to-29 over FSU in 1997 ----- Sure there were bigger wins, but this was one of the most emotional. People still talk about it, which is remarkable for a non-title contest. Most Gators could watch this game every day and never get tired of it.
- 3) 88 Receptions by Carlos Alvarez ----- the Super Sophs '69 season is still the standard despite Chad Jackson matching it last year. That's because the "Cuban Comet" averaged 15.1 per catch compared with Jackson's 10.2. He bettered the school record by 25 catches.
- 2) 114 Danny Wuerffel career touchdown passes ----- This number is one Gators fans should commit to memory. It's a remarkable number for a guy who was a part-time starter his first two seasons. How remarkable? Chris Leak only needs 50 td passes next season to break the record. How remarkable? Peyton Manning finished 25 behind (89).
- 1) 52-to-20, January 2, 1997 ----- The biggest win in school history has to be where you find the greatest number(s). But an even more impressive score would be 28-to-3. That's the margin Florida outscored the top-ranked Noles in the second half with the National Title on the line. An almost perfect 30 minutes of football.
So those are the numbers I chose. What do you think?
Hoops numbers coming in the near future.
Emails are always welcome at Vettel@gatorcountry.com