It's was an interesting question, and while I stand by the answer I gave on such short notice, it got me thinking about the best individual seasons that UF football has ever seen. So I did a little homework and started looking into some of the best campaigns in Gator history. Next thing I knew I had a list of more than 20 seasons that were simply superb.
I have whittled that down to the 12 individual seasons I think were the best ever at UF. There is obviously tremendous room for debate on this issue, but hey, it's the holidays so let's go through those years and remember some truly remarkable performances.
I admit up front a bias for those seasons where I was able to see the individuals in action, but three of the dozen that I've chosen pre-date my coverage of the Gators. I also left off several truly superb seasons, but that's show biz.
After this series we will look at the finest defensive seasons Gators have enjoyed.
#12 Fred Taylor, 1997 --- Taylor's senior year was an opportunity for him to live up to his remarkable potential. After rushing for 873 yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman, Taylor had gained just 910 yards with 10 scores in his sophomore and junior seasons combined. But as a senior, Taylor put together a truly great year with 1,292 yards and 13 scores, highlighted by four touchdowns in the Gators' stirring upset of top-ranked Florida State in one of the most memorable games ever in The Swamp. Taylor added a dynamic career-ending performance, rumbling through Penn State for 234 yards in the Citrus Bowl. If they were counting bowl stats back then, he would have run for more than 1,500 yards.
#11 Jimmy DuBose, 1975 --- Before this season no Gator runner had ever run for 900 yards in a season let alone 1,000. But manning the fullback spot in the Gators' wishbone attack "Jimmy Du" had a tremendous season in '75 rambling 1,307 yards and six touchdowns. DuBose gained an impressive 6.6 yards a carry and saved his best performance for arch-rival Florida State. In that one, DuBose rushed for 204 yards in a 34-8 Gator win. Only three teams could keep DuBose in check and each (N.C. State 8-7, Georgia 10-7, Maryland 13-0) handed Florida a loss in a solid 9-3 season. It would be another decade before another Gator (Neal Anderson) would run for more than 1,000 yards in a season.
Coming up tomorrow, two great seasons from the 1980s.
Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel
Best Offensive Seasons - Part I
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