Best Offensive Seasons - Part II

After Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy, I was on a radio show in Jacksonville when I was asked an interesting question - "How does Tebow's season rank with the best individual seasons in Florida history?"

Best Offensive Seasons - Part I

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 dozen 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
#11 Jimmy DuBose, 1975

#10 Kerwin Bell, 1985 --- The Gators were coming off a sensational season in 1984 when they were arguably the best football team in the nation. However, when the 1985 season began one thing was noticeably missing; the great wall of Florida was gone. Lomas Brown, Crawford Ker, Bill Hinson, Phil Bromley and Scott Trimble had moved on; leaving the Gators with just one experienced lineman (Jeff Zimmerman). Despite being hounded and pounded week in and week out, Bell had his best season. The sophomore from Mayo passed for 2,687 yards with 21 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He led the Gators to a 9-1-1 season that included Florida's first No. 1 national ranking. The Gators only shortcomings that year came in a bizarre 28-28 tie to Rutgers and a 24-3 loss to Georgia in Jacksonville. Bell was superb in the Rutgers game, but Florida blew a 28-7 lead in the fourth quarter. Against Georgia, he became the first Gator to pass for 400 yards in a single game.

#9 Emmitt Smith, 1987 --- The first time I ever spoke to a Gator club were in August of 1987 when I told the Orlando and Polk County Gators that Emmitt Smith would rush for 1,000 yards as a freshman and would break Florida's season and career records before he left Gainesville. After an opening day that saw Emmitt carry five times for 16 yards I was a little unnerved; not about my prediction, but rather the Gators' coaching. Fortunately Florida got Smith five more carries the next week and he ran for 109 yards against Tulsa. In week three, Emmitt got his first start against Alabama in Birmingham, and the rest is history. Emmitt ran through the Crimson Tide for 224 yards that day on the way to setting school records of 1,341 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Coming up tomorrow, two great seasons that came 30 years apart.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


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