Best Offensive Seasons - Part III

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
Best Offensive Seasons - Part II

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
#9 Emmitt Smith, 1987


#8 Reidel Anthony, 1996 --- When he signed with the Gators out of Glades Central High School many believed Anthony was just a throw in to make highly coveted runner Fred Taylor happy. That was so far from the case. Anthony quickly established himself as a top deep threat in the Florida passing game and provided the Gators with their best moment of the Fiesta Bowl when he returned a kickoff for a touchdown and celebrated with a mock shotgun blast. In '96 Anthony outdistanced Ike Hilliard and Jacquez Green to put together a season for the ages. When all was said and done, Anthony has caught 72 passes for 1,293 yards and an SEC record 18 touchdowns. The highlight performance came in the SEC Championship Game when he caught 11 passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns. All three numbers are SEC Title Game records to this day.

#7 Steve Spurrier, 1966 --- It really bothers me to have a Heisman Trophy winning season trailing three non-Heisman seasons in this countdown, but it seems like about the right place for this season to go. It was a different era of football, obviously as Spurrier won the Heisman passing for 2,012 yards and 16 touchdowns. Spurrier also had one of the legendary plays in Gator history when he insisted on trying the game-winning field goal against Auburn and then made the darn thing. He took the Gators to Jacksonville trying to post Florida's first SEC Championship but Bill Stanfill had other ideas. The Gators ended up 9-2 including a win in the Orange Bowl, but Spurrier would end up coaching guys to even more impressive seasons quarterbacking the Gators.

We're halfway through our countdown of the 10 greatest individual offensive seasons in Gator football history. When we continue, we'll check in on the son of a preacher man and the finest season any Gator receiver ever enjoyed.

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


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