If the National Championship game Jan. 8 proved anything, it was that preseason rankings don’t mean a thing on the field.
Ohio State University, which was almost unanimously ranked the best team in the country dating back to as early as last summer, proved that it was not worthy of its No. 1 ranking after a dismal showing in the BCS title game.
The Gators, who won the Southeastern Conference Championship in early December, were eight-point underdogs against the Buckeyes. Things got off to a rocky start for Florida, allowing OSU Ted Ginn Jr. to return the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown.
Things went downhill for the Buckeyes after that.
SEC Proves to be Superior Conference
The National Title also settled the argument of the strongest conference in America. The SEC’s two strongest teams, Florida and Louisiana State University, had strong showings in the bowl games.
University of Georgia saw one of its weakest teams in recent memory in 2006. After losing to perennial SEC basement dweller Vanderbilt University and the University of Kentucky, Georgia shocked Virginia Tech by overcoming a 21-3 halftime deficit in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl.
Even UK, which struggles every year to stay out of the SEC cellar, upset Clemson University in the Music City Bowl.
Big 10 a Big Disappointment
The Big 10, which sent eight of the 11 teams in the conference to a bowl game, finished the 2006 bowl season with a disappointing 2-6 record.
Best Game Ever?
Boise State University and the University of Oklahoma met in the Fiesta Bowl New Year’s night in what some people believe to be the greatest college game ever played.
Boise State, the unheralded Western Athletic Conference regular season champions, looked to be cruising. The Broncos jumped out to a 28-10 third- quarter lead before the Sooners stormed back to tie the game and eventually took a 35-28 lead with just over a minute remaining.
But with time winding down in regulation, Boise State quarterback Jared Zabransky faced a fourth-and-18 with 20 seconds to play, and tied the game with seven seconds remaining.
UO star Adrian Peterson started the overtime period by taking the ball 25 yards for a touchdown. The Broncos, however, weren’t done with the trickery yet. On the fourth down and the season hanging in the balance, Boise State ran a halfback pass play that led to a 5-yard touchdown.
Down 42-41 and going for the potential game-winning two point conversion, Zabransky went back to pass and motioned a throw to the right side. However, the ball was still in his other hand, where running back Ian Johnson took the ball from him and into the end zone untouched on what was arguably the best “Statue of Liberty” play ever executed.