Gators get a BCS break with Michigan loss

Gators get a BCS break with Michigan loss
January 3rd, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Gators get a BCS break with Michigan loss

Gators get a BCS break with Michigan loss


Associated Press

PHOENIX - The mariachi band started playing as the Florida Gators walked off the airplane Tuesday, welcoming players and coaches to the Valley of the Sun.
Although the band stuck to traditional mariachi ballads, a more appropriate tune might have been the Southern California fight song.
After all, the No. 2 Gators arrived for the Bowl Championship Series title game with one less thing to worry about thanks to the Trojans: They won't have to answer any more questions about whether they deserve to be in the championship over Michigan, which lost handily to USC in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.
The Wolverines' 32-18 drubbing "has no bearing on the University of Florida," Gators coach Urban Meyer said following his team's arrival at Phoenix International Airport.
Maybe not. But it sure could make the week a lot less stressful for the Gators (12-1) by ending the barrage of questions they've received since beating Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference title game and leapfrogging the Wolverines in the final BCS standings.
For weeks, the Gators were interrogated about whether they deserved to play top-ranked Ohio State in the title game and whether Meyer's campaigning made the difference.
They quickly grew tired of having to state their case.
Now, they probably won't have to.
And Meyer might feel some vindication.
He made headlines in November when he said his team was more deserving than Michigan to face Ohio State in the title game, touting Florida's schedule and the strength of the SEC. The Wolverines had just lost a close game to Ohio State and Meyer starting lobbying against a rematch.
"I think that'd be unfair to Ohio State and I think it'd be unfair to the country," Meyer said then. "You're going to tell Ohio State they have to go beat the same team twice, which is extremely difficult?"
What if a rematch happens?
"If that does happen, all the (university) presidents need to get together immediately and put together a playoff system," he said. "I mean like now, January or whenever to get that done."
Meyer was mostly blasted around the country for "lobbying" for his team. He has since insisted that he was merely answering a question and explaining how he felt.
He later said the fallout probably would prevent him from expressing his thoughts about controversial subjects in the future.
He certainly held back Tuesday.
"I've learned my lesson," he said.
Meyer also tried to share with his players some of the lessons he learned while at the 2005 Fiesta Bowl with Utah.
But he said most of that went down the drain following the team's arrival. The Gators were met by the band, dozens of bowl representatives - some wearing yellow blazers and others donning yellow, red, orange and purple sweaters - and a cheering, pompom-waving crowd. Players and coaches shook hands with two lines of well-wishers as they headed to their buses. Meyer, his family and some administrators left in stretch limousines.
"I warned them," Meyer said. "I have warned them and we're very leery of that. We will take all measures to make sure the guys don't lose focus. All the guys that I have had an opportunity to coach in a game like this, we make sure the team stays focused and we will do everything we can to keep that."
Although the Gators probably won't have to answer any more questions about Michigan, they might have to talk about Boise State - the other orange-and-blue clad team that put on a show in Glendale.
Boise State upset Oklahoma 43-42 in overtime Monday night, remaining undefeated and making a case that schools from non-BCS conferences - like Meyer's 2004 Utah team - should get a chance to play for it all.
"To be honest, I think those days are over," Meyer said. "I don't hear that as much as maybe the media. In the coaching circles in college football, everybody knew what Oklahoma was getting into. Boise State is an excellent team. I think that the separation of BCS, non-BCS, I think that era is over. I think it is harder for some of the smaller conference schools to make it, but the BCS committee and the whole process has made it easier access, which is the right thing to do."
But should teams like Boise State get to play for it all?
"National title? I think it will still be some time before you see that. I do," Meyer said

Similar Topics
Poll voters explain why Gators in BCS
Gators will face Buckeyes for BCS title
BCS left with debate: Will Michigan or Florida face Ohio State?
USC is win away from title game after jumping Michigan in BCS
Michigan No. 2, but not by much over USC