Seasons are defined by moments that come out of nowhere. This is one of them; South Carolina vs. Florida, 2006. Turn up your speakers for the full effect.
The 2006 South Carolina game was big because it was Spurrier's first game back in Gainesville but also because of what it became for that Gator team. Not only was South Carolina a legit team, but the Gators were losing 16-10 in the fourth quarter and scored on their final drive. In a test of offense, defense and special teams, the Gators came out alive.
But this goes back to my original point; every championship team has those moments where you go, "My God, what just happened?" To use a recent local example, on Sept. 9 the Tampa Bay Rays had a half game lead on the Boston Red Sox when Sox closer Johnathan Paplebon came in to close an expected 4-3 win for Boston after they had just scored the leading runs an inning before. Then, Dan Johnson (DAN JOHNSON!), who was called up that afternoon, smacked a game-tying homer. Dioner Navarro would double in the winning run later in the inning. The Rays won another close game the next night and eventually beat the Sox for the American League pennant. When asked later in the season when did they know their team was special, several Rays players pointed to Johnson's homer.
For me and the Gators, it was the LSU game this season. The Tigers were a bit shorthanded, but are still the defending champs and have crushing speed. This was also UF's first home game after getting giggityed by Ole Miss. But the moment was Percy Harvin's 70 yard TD to open the game off of LSU's Danny McCray's tip. If McCray catches it, the air goes out of the building. Instead, Florida was off to a blow out and showed a national audience they are the fastest team in the fastest conference in America. (Hello Jeff Demps!) Since then, the Gators have had guns blazing and are playing to destroy people.
I will be in Gainesville in a few hours for an awesome sports weekend which includes women's soccer today in the NCAAs against California at 4pm and basketball's opening night against Toledo at 6pm. Sunday would also be a soccer-basketball doubleheader if the women win and face the winner of UCF-Miami. Basketball plays Bradley at 2pm Sunday. I'll see you there and for those of you who know me too well; Choo Choo.
(NOTE: South Carolina is NOT a Championship Mode game. Next Championship Mode games are FSU and Alabama in the SEC title game. Championship Mode can only be applied retroactively to non-rivalry/non-title games. Thanks.)