The countdown concludes …
NO. 1 2008 FLORIDA
SRS: 25.37. SRS combines margin of victory and strength of schedule, where 0 is average. The higher the number, the more dominant the team. This was the highest SRS of any post-1992 SEC national champion.
Statistical oddity: Tim Tebow threw 30 touchdown passes against just four interceptions in 2008. That +26 differential matched his 2007 production and tied him again with Danny Wuerffel’s 1996 for the biggest differential in Gators history. (Wuerffel threw 39 TD passes and 13 INTs in 1996. Tebow threw 32 TD passes and 6 interceptions in 2007, when he won the Heisman Trophy — becoming the first SEC player since Wuerffel in 1996 to do so.)
Their case for greatness: Four words defined Florida in 2008: In Tebow they trusted.
And it went far beyond his 42 combined touchdowns or 3,419 total yards.
The 2008 season was defined by what happened during — and more important, after — a shocking 31-30 home loss to Ole Miss.
Only, history forgets this wasn’t the Rebels team that won just 14 games the previous four seasons.
This Rebels team finished 9-4, ranked No. 14 in the country. They nearly won at Alabama — falling 24-20. They crushed No. 18 LSU by 18 in Baton Rouge and toppled No. 7 Texas Tech by double digits in the Cotton Bowl to complete their best season since 2003.
But reputations often replace facts and logic in such debates about the greatest teams of all time, and therefore, losing 31-30 at home to Ole Miss was viewed as unthinkable.
Tebow admitted it was a game they should have won, could have won.
He didn’t hide from the cameras. He looked into them — and apologized. He didn’t just stand in front of his team, he stood in front of America. In an emotional speech Gators fans refer to simply as “The Promise,” Tebow said he wanted this loss to stay in his heart, to serve as a constant motivator and reminder moving forward.
“I’m sorry. I’m extremely sorry,” he said, his eyes watering. “We were hoping for an undefeated season. That was my goal, something Florida’s never done here.
“But I promise you one thing: a lot of good will come out of this.
“You have never seen any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of this season, and you’ll never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of this season, and you’ll never see a team play harder than we will the rest of this season. God bless.”
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