BQB-Site.com would like to congratulate the Florida Gators and BCS Championship Game MVP QB Chris Leak for winning the 2006 National Championship of college football.
It seemed like an eternity between the Florida Gators (13-1) winning the SEC Championship and them having the opportunity to face the “mighty” Ohio State Buckeyes (12-1) in the BCS National Championship Game. During that month long wait, the Gators and QB Chris Leak were treated like the ugly step sister going to the ball while Heisman Trophy winner QB Troy Smith and Ohio State were anointed as the eventual champions. Everyone thought the game didn’t matter, but it did to the Gators and Leak. He led the Gators to an embarrassing 41-14 win over the Buckeyes, showing the speed and skill of a well drilled team who skipped the banquet circuit unlike the overly hyped complacent Buckeyes. Accordingly the Gators got all but one of the 65 first-place votes in the final Associated Press poll and Ohio State dropped to second in the poll. It was the second national title for Florida adding to the 1996 title from the Spurrier led squad. With the win Florida became the only school to simultaneously hold the football and basketball championship.
Going into the game Troy Smith (2542 yards, 30 TD’s) the Heisman trophy winner came in with more fan fare than Gators QB Chris Leak (2942 yards, 23 TD's), who had to adjust to splitting time with freshman phenom Tim Tebow. Both wanted to follow in the steps of last year's National Championship QB Vince Young, who played the game of his college career leading Texas to a 41-38 Rose Bowl victory. Leak was the closest to VY delivering the answer when the Gators needed it. Leak was as cool as a cucumber passing for 213 yards with 25 completions on 36 attempts and a touchdown. Smith however did not live up to his heisman credentials, joining a long list of Heisman Trophy quarterbacks (Vinny Testaverde, Jason White, Eric Crouch and Gino Torretta) who fell apart in championship games after winning the award. Smith was just 4-of-14 for 35 yards with one interception, being sacked five times and running for minus-29 yards on 10 carries.
The ironic thing was Four years ago, Leak was a record setting high school quarterback and the number 1 recruit in the nation. He led Independence High School to 4 straight North Carolina state titles and had every school including USC and other powerhouses fawning over him. He committed on national television to the University of Florida and vowed to lead the Gators to a national championship. During his years at the helm of the Gators, Leak was much maligned by the Gators faithful for not winning the “big” game even though he was a Day 1 starter at Florida. He had many victories on SEC Saturdays, but none of his victories silenced his critics like his victory in the BCS title game. Leak delivered on the biggest stage in his final game as a college player. The usually quiet Leak answered his critics by saying, "My legacy was to get the University of Florida back here," and he did, backing up his vow with his performance in the game.
Leak and Smith both will now follow Young’s path into the NFL Draft’s talent evaluator land field. There are already questions regarding the 6 foot-ish pair’s ability to see over NFL lines of scrimmage and arm strength. But I have a feeling that they both will make the leap and compete at the next level, because they are ‘winners’.
-- Submitted by Lloyd Vance