The Bowl Championship Series National Championship begins with another classic battle of dominant black quarterbacks, except this time there’s a twist.
This particular meeting is unique because it is to decide between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the University of Florida Gators – the No. 1 team in the nation versus the newly named No. 2 team.
While all polls consider a landslide victory to be in place for the undefeated Buckeyes, the early favorite could have their hands full with the Gators, a team whose spot in the championship was highly debated.
Led by senior quarterback Chris Leak, the Gators have a well-balanced passing quarterback, but they also add the element of a solid mobile quarterback in true freshman Tim Tebow. This season, Leak has passed for 2,729 yards and 22 touchdowns, while Tebow, in selective appearances in 8 of the 13 games, is the Gators’ second leading rusher with 430 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns.
While the combination seems deadly, first factor in that this season has not even exhibited Leak at his prime. His passing yards are down from his career-high 2004 season of 3,197 yards. And yes, Leak has thrown for 22 touchdowns this season, but that goes with 13 interceptions thrown.Now here’s where it gets fun.
The man on the other sideline, Troy Smith, is arguably the best overall football player in the nation. Leak may have Smith’s 2,507 passing yards beat but is clearly no comparison to Smith’s 30 touchdown passes, with 5 interceptions.
As if Smith’s play isn’t enough, his supporting cast of offensive threats are just as deadly. The Buckeyes’ lead running back Antonio Pittman has rushed for well over 1,000 yards this season and has 13 touchdowns to his name. The Buckeyes are also equipped with two receivers in Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez, with more than 700 receiving yards apiece this season.
Both teams have much to prove in the battle of this year’s college titans. For the Gators, a chance to solidify their position as one of the top teams in the nation and hush all of the naysayers who claim that they don’t belong in the title game. For the Buckeyes, the opportunity to show the world that they can finish the job. They are also presented with the opportunity to beat two No. 2-ranked teams in the same season, which would prove without a shadow of a doubt, that they rule the NCAA domain.
Regardless of how they both got here, they are here, and it will be a battle – that will be taken by the Ohio State Buckeyes, on the back of their Heisman-winning quarterback. Yeah, I said it!
Reginald Snowden is a junior public relations student from Washington. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org