The Gators had to deal with the issue of handling being a double-digit favorite over the No. 1 team. They had to do that without their most electric playmaker, junior runner/receiver Percy Harvin. They had to do it at a "neutral" site that was at least two-thirds pro Alabama. And they had to do it by coming from behind in the final 15 minutes.
As Larry the Cable Guy Might say, they "Got ‘er done". Florida's 31-20 win over the Crimson Tide should settle half the debate over which teams should be in the final game of the season. Oklahoma and Texas is a legit debate. Personally, I think Southern Cal is a better team top-to-bottom but Florida has to be there.
All About Toughness
Much of the national discussion leading into this game was the idea that this was all about finesse versus power. Florida was pretty. Alabama was tough. The Gators were exciting to watch. The Crimson Tide was powerful. Florida was speed. Alabama was strength. Florida was the new generation. Alabama was old school football.
While part of that assessment was accurate, the national media apparently didn't notice that this Florida team was pretty damn physical. The Gators had out rushed their opponents by 125 yards a game, but no one seemed to notice. To a man every Gator I talked to was insulted by the inference that Alabama was tougher and was determined to disprove the myth.
They "got ‘er done" there, too.
Florida outscored Alabama 14-0 in the final quarter with the SEC Title on the line. When the most important possessions of most of these players' lives took place, they delivered. Look at the numbers after the third quarter.
Alabama had things under control and all the momentum. They just didn't have Florida's toughness. They didn't have No. 15. Here's how the numbers matched up in the fourth quarter that settled the SEC Championship.
That's impressive. That's domination. That's toughness.
SeeYa in Miami.