Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Gator Basketball: December Recap

In their second month of non-conference play, the Florida Gators finished .500 with a 3-3 record. They smashed Richmond and Jacksonville at home while outlasting Oklahoma State in the 2015 Orange Bowl Classic. On the other side of the column, the Gators suffered an 11-point road loss to Miami, a close six-point road loss to top-ranked Michigan State, and a heartbreaking home loss to the rival Florida State Seminoles.

Two games resonate with me as I write this recap: Michigan State and Florida State. Both of these were winnable games (especially FSU) but the Gators could not muster up enough of an effort to pull the upset or win the rivalry game. For me, it is getting hard to watch this team as they put up more bricks than Habitat for Humanity.

What really gets at me from the Florida State game is how after the Seminoles scored the go-ahead basket with four seconds left, Florida decided not to call timeout. Instead, the Gators just pushed the ball up the court and Chris Chiozza threw up a terrible three-point attempt that had no chance of going in.

Despite Gator coach Mike White not calling a timeout for some reason, I can forgive him for the FSU loss because even legendary coach Billy Donovan lost his first game against FSU.

Personal discrepancies aside, here are some notable performance's from this month:

  • Zach Hodskins, a walk-on sophomore who has just one hand, scored his first collegiate basket vs Jacksonville on December 22nd.
  • Despite a tough loss, true freshman guard KeVaugn Allen still got his vs Florida State as he scored a career-high 32 points.
Now that I've highlighted the month's record and memorable moments, let's take a look at the Gator stat leaders going into 2016:


Points: Dorian Finney-Smith (164) (Redshirt Senior)

Assists: Kasey Hill (42) (Junior)

Shooting % (100 minutes min.): Kevarrius Hayes (.737) (Freshman)

Three-Pointers (10 attempts min.): Dorian Finney-Smith (24)

Three-Point % (10 attempts min.): Chris Chiozza (.395) (Sophomore)

Free Throws: Dorian Finney-Smith (36)

Free Throw % (10 attempts min.): KeVaughn Allen (.857)

Rebounds: John Egbunu (33) (Redshirt Sophomore)


Rebounds: Dorian Finney-Smith (62)

Blocks: John Egbugnu (18)

Steals: Chris Chiozza/Kasey Hill (16)


Personal Fouls: John Egbugnu (40)

Minutes: Dorian Finney-Smith (352)

Turnovers: Dorian Finney-Smith (24)

Final Takeaway:
With an average at best December, the Gators will now plunge into a January packed with eight SEC games and a home bout against West Virginia to close out the month. I predict they will go 4-5 to start 2016. Hopefully I am wrong, but with this Gator basketball team you never know what to expect.

*All stats accredited to

Monday, December 28, 2015

Top 5 SEC College Football Games of the 2015 Season

2015 was another exciting college football season down in the SEC. Between the upsets, comebacks, and flat out miracles, SEC fans were usually guaranteed something memorable every Saturday. Without further adieu, here are my Top 5 SEC games of the 2015 college season!

5) Tennessee vs #19 Florida (FLA 28-27)

In the annual rivalry game between Florida and Tennessee, the Gators were absolutely dreadful for three and a half quarters. They could not tackle Vols QB Joshua Dobbs to save their lives and it looked that after a decade of futility, Tennessee would finally defeat the mighty Florida Gators.

Then Will Grier happened. With less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter and the score 27-14, the redshirt freshman quarterback harnessed the power of Gatorade and converted three fourth downs with his arm in a feverous comeback attempt.

With less than two minutes left in the game and Gators facing 4th and 14, Grier hit true freshman Antonio Callaway for a 63-yard touchdown to go ahead 28-27 with 1:26 left in the game. Trailing for just the second time all game, Tennessee rallied and was able to get to Florida's 37-yard line with three seconds left in the game. The Third Saturday in September now lied in the hands of Vols' kicker Aaron Medley.

Medley's kick went horribly wide right and the game was over... but wait! Right before Medley kicked the ball, Gator head coach Jim McElwain called timeout after seeing that Florida had too many men on the field. So with a second chance, Medley lined up and drilled it... but again it went right by the slimmest of margins! The game was over and Florida had extended its win streak against Tennessee to 11 games.

The home victory against Tennessee helped jumpstart Florida's run to an SEC East title, and was also one of a couple shining moments in Will Grier's short lived Gator career. As for Tennessee, the loss from this game carried over as Arkansas defeated them at home the next week.

4) Tennessee vs #19 Georgia (TENN 38-31)

Two weeks after their gut-wrenching loss to Florida, Tennessee played host to a Georgia team who had just gotten manhandled by #13 Alabama at home. In the first half, it was all Georgia as the Dawgs led the game 24-3 at one point. Then, Tennessee came storming back.

Behind four total touchdowns from QB Joshua Dobbs (three via the air and one on the ground), the Vols took a 31-24 lead before Georgia tied it at 31 all in the beginning of the fourth quarter. After a punt by each team, Tennessee drove the ball down the field and Dobbs capped the eight play drive with his second rushing touchdown of the game.

With under six minutes to go, Georgia had a total of two drives to tie it up. The first drive resulted in a punt, and the second one ended with a batted down ball in front of the end zone on the last play of the game. The Bulldogs had blown what had been a 21-point lead and lost to the Vols for the first time since 2009. This defeat would drop them out of the rankings and put to bed any national title hopes among the Georgia faithful.

For Tennessee, it had to feel like karma of sorts, considering the Florida debacle just two games prior. They would go on to drop another heartbreaker to #8 Alabama the following week.

3) Auburn vs Arkansas (ARK 54-46 in 4 OT)

One of two high scoring affairs for the Razorbacks this year, the action in this one starts at the end of the fourth quarter. In the waning seconds, Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson nailed a 41-yarder to tie the game and force overtime. Actually, it would be four overtimes.

In the first overtime, Arkansas QB Brandon Allen hooked up with receiver Drew Morgan to score a touchdown on fourth down and goal to tie the game. Then in triple overtime, the Razorbacks faced an eight-point deficit and another fourth down. This time, it was running back Kody Walker who caught a pitch in the backfield and scampered into the end zone to set up the do-or-die two-point conversion play.

With the game on the line yet again, Allen rolled out in the pocket and somehow found tight end Jeremy Sprinkle to knot it up at 46 a piece and continue this marathon of a game. In quadruple overtime, Allen again found Morgan on the first play from scrimmage for a touchdown. Arkansas converted the two-point conversion and now the game was in the defense's hands.

The Arkansas defense held and broke up Auburn's pass attempt on fourth down and nine. This huge home win would kick off a four-game winning streak for the Razorbacks, while Auburn's SEC West hopes were officially dashed.

2) #15 Ole Miss vs #2 Alabama (MISS 43-37)

An upset I did not see coming, Ole Miss led this game at one point 30-10 late in the third quarter. It was the Chad Kelly show as the Ole Miss QB completed 18 of 33 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns. His most memorable touchdown pass of the game was also one of the craziest plays of this college football season!

On third down and one in the early stages of the third quarter, the ball was hiked high and bounced off of Kelly's hands. Tracking the ball in the air, Kelly leaped up and caught the ball in the air as the Alabama defense came crashing down on him. A nanosecond after catching the ball, Kelly set his feet in an impromptu manner and chucked the ball up as he was plowed in the backfield.

Kelly's star receiver, Laquon Treadwell, lept for the duck that his quarterback had thrown and was nailed by Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick in the process. The ball deflected either off of Treadwell's hands or Fitzpatrick's helmet and went straight to wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo, who caught it in stride and took it 66 yards for a touchdown. It was an incredibly fortunate play for the Rebels and would prove huge as they regained a 14-point lead on the Tide.

Of course, one does not simply walk into Bryant-Denny Stadium and just crush the Alabama Crimson Tide. The #2 team in the nation responded and ripped off 20 points in the fourth quarter. The Tide even had a chance in the last minute of the game to actually win! But alas, the efforts of Alabama and head coach Nick Saban would fall just short as Ole Miss held and forced a turnover on downs with eight seconds left in the game. The Rebel defense was making plays all night as they picked off Alabama three times in the contest.

Ole Miss's upset victory in Tuscaloosa marked the first time in school history that the Rebels had defeated the Tide in consecutive meetings. It also gave Ole Miss fans a sense of hope that their team was going to run the table in the SEC West and even compete for a National Championship this year. Unfortunately for the Ole Miss faithful, the Rebel's title shots would quickly disappear after a 28-point blowout loss to the Florida Gators in The Swamp two weeks later.

As for Alabama, this was the exact situation they were in last year. An early loss to Ole Miss yet again helped the Crimson Tide refocus and go on to win the SEC for the second straight year. They currently lie one victory away from playing for their fourth national championship in seven years.

1) Arkansas vs #18 Ole Miss (ARK 53-52 in OT)

Coming in at the top spot is a game that made me jump up from my dinner table and sprint around my apartment in pure shock at what I had just seen. After an early loss to #25 Florida in Week 5, Ole Miss returned to Oxford in Week 10 still very much alive for the SEC West title. Arkansas was already out of the hunt, but had cooked up a nice two-game winning streak that began with their four-overtime victory over Auburn.

Arkansas had a chance to win this one at the end of regulation, but their field goal attempt was blocked. So once again, the Razorbacks would press their luck in overtime. Ole Miss scored in four plays, so the pressure was on from the get-go. Arkansas was discombobulated on offense as a penalty and a sack set up 4th and 25 from the Ole Miss 40-yard line. Quarterback Brandon Allen took the snap and threw it from midfield to his tight end Hunter Henry, who was still 11 yards away from the first down line.

Knowing he could not make it to the first down mark, Henry just chucked the ball up over his head and prayed for a miracle. His prayer would be answered. The ball traveled 10 yards back and bounced right in front of Arkansas running back Alex Collins, who picked it up and ran 31 yards for the first down! Collins fumbled at the end of the play, but fortune struck again as teammate Dominique Reed recovered it.

Rejuvenated with life, Arkansas scored two plays later when Allen found receiver Drew Morgan streaking across the end zone for his sixth passing touchdown of the game. Down a point, Arkansas knew that fate was on its side. So they decided to go for two. This would backfire as Allen was sacked on a rollout play. The game was over and the lateral was all for not. Or was it? As Ole Miss celebrated its one-point victory, a flag laid on the ground. The penalty was on Ole Miss's Marquis Haynes, who grabbed Brandon Allen's face mask as he sacked him.

With the ball on the one-yard line, Arkansas again decided to go for two. Out of the shotgun yet again, Allen faked a handoff to Morgan running across the field and barreled his way into the end zone for the game-winning two-point conversion! It was an absolutely stunning victory for the Razorbacks that knocked Ole Miss out of the SEC West hunt for good. Arkansas would ride this momentum to then defeat LSU on the road the very next week and extend its winning streak to four games.

For Ole Miss, they would end the season with victories over LSU and rival Mississippi State. Heck, they are even playing in the Sugar Bowl despite losing three games! Yet, the fact that they let this one slip away on such a crazy fourth down play may haunt the Rebels for the rest of 2015, especially if they do not win the Sugar Bowl.

Honorable Mention:
#3 Ole Miss vs #25 Florida (FLA 38-10), Tennessee vs #2 Alabama (ALA 19-14), #14 LSU vs #25 Mississippi State (LSU 21-19)

I hope you enjoyed this Top 5 article! Stay tuned later this week as I release my December recap for the Gator basketball team!

*All stats accredited to

Saturday, December 26, 2015

2016 Gator Lacrosse Preview

The 2016 Florida Gator lacrosse teams brings in a plethora of experience this season as it boasts 10 seniors and eight juniors. They will be looking to win their sixth consecutive Big East regular season title and third straight tournament championship. After a second round loss for the second straight year in the NCAA Tournament, the Gators are out to prove they belong with the best of the best.

Here is my projected starting lineup for the 2016 squad:
Here are the projected starters' key stats from last season:

1. Devon Schneider- 31 goals, 7 assists, and 38 total points in 21 games played.

2. Sammi Burgess- 25 goals, 13 assists, 21 ground balls fielded, and 38 total points in 21 games played.

3. Lauren Lea- 21 goals, 14 assists, 23 ground balls fielded, and 35 points in 21 games played.

4. Sydney DuPre- 1 goal, 10 ground balls fielded, and 10 caused turnovers in 19 games played.

5. Taylor Bresnahan- 1 goal, 23 ground balls fielded, 20 draw controls, and 15 caused turnovers in 20 games played.

6. Caroline Fitzgerald- 2 goals, 1 assist, 32 ground balls fielded, 12 draw controls, and 21 caused turnovers in 21 games played.

7. Mollie Stevens- 43 goals, 9 assists, 52 total points, 22 ground balls fielded, 79 draw controls, and 22 caused turnovers in 21 games played.

8. Nicole Graziano- 26 goals, 14 assists, 40 total points, 21 ground balls fielded, 40 draw controls, and 18 caused turnovers in 21 games played.

9. Carli Marsh- 10 goals, 2 assists, 12 total points, and 13 ground balls fielded in 20 games played.

10. Mary-Sean Wilcox- 106 saves in 21 games played.


Here's a quick look at some other Gators who should see substantial playing time during the 2016 campaign:

Here are their key stats from 2015:

1. Carly Ross- 14 goals, 11 assists, 25 total points, and 20 ground balls fielded in 20 games played.

2. Shayna Pirreca- 14 goals, 6 assists, and 20 total points in 20 games played.

3. Aniya Flanagan- 12 ground balls fielded and 7 caused turnovers in 21 games played.

4. Sam Darcangelo- 2 goals, 1 assist, 26 ground balls fielded, 13 draw controls, and 15 caused turnovers in 21 games played.

5. Angela Flister- 1 goal and 11 ground balls fielded in 19 games played.

2016 Schedule

Here is the Florida Gators' schedule for this upcoming season!

9th: @U.S. National Team

6th: Loyola
13th: Michigan
18th: Wales National Team
20th: @North Carolina
27th: Dartmouth

1st: @Syracuse
4th: Niagara
6th: @Stony Brook
11th: Boston College
14th: Towson
19th: Maryland
26th: Vanderbilt*

2nd: Temple*
9th: @Georgetown*
13th: Marquette*
16th: @Villanova*
20th: @Cincinnati*
24th: Connecticut*

*Denotes SEC game
Home games in bold

Final Takeaway:
The Florida Gator lacrosse team is hungry for the first National Championship in school history. They have the experience, the playmakers, and brilliant head coach Amanda O'Leary. All they have to do now is just go out there and execute. If this team plays to its full potential, the Orange and Blue will be hoisting up the hardware come May.

*All stats accredited to

Thursday, December 24, 2015

2016 Gator Softball Preview

Coming off back-to-back National Championships, the Florida Gator softball team will once again have huge expectations for this season with a three-peat in reach. Only one school ever has won three straight softball national championships, and that was UCLA from 1988 to 1990. If Florida can pull off this incredibly rare feat, then the Gators and head coach Tim Walton will be immortalized forever.

The 2016 softball squad is led by five seniors: Taylor Schwarz, Taylore Fuller, Kirsti Merritt, Kelsey Stewart, and Aubree Munro. Their three years of combined postseason experience and winning two national championships are going to be huge if Florida wants to solidify its softball dynasty of the mid-2010s.

As I did in my latest article on the Gator baseball team, I am going to break down the softball team into the three categories of offense, pitching, and defense. As you should expect, a team that has won two straight championships should not be lacking in any of these departments.


The Gator lineup still retains its core of seniors, but should have a couple new faces in the mix. Here is my projected starting lineup for the 2016 Florida Gators:
  1. Kelsey Stewart- Second Base
  2. Nicole DeWitt- Left Field
  3. Kirsti Merritt- Center Field
  4. Taylore Fuller- Third Base
  5. Taylor Schwarz- First Base
  6. Justine McLean- DH
  7. Aubree Munro- Catcher
  8. Janell Wheaton- Right Field
  9. Alex Voss/Theresa Swertfager/Sophia Reynoso- Shortstop
1. Kelsey Stewart- Last year's leader in hits, batting average (.435!), stolen bases, doubles, and triples, Stewart is a huge catalyst for the Gator offense. She is a speedster who wreaks absolute havoc on the base paths and never hesitates to take an extra base if given the chance. Look for her to lead Florida in all these categories yet again in her senior season.

2. Nicole DeWitt- One of Florida's 2015 postseason heroes who sent the Gators to the WCWS Finals with her walk-off single in the semifinals, DeWitt will see an even larger role as she assumes the starting left field job for her sophomore season. She also serves as another speed threat behind Stewart, having stolen 10 bags last season.

3. Kirsti Merritt- Smacking nine homers with 47 RBI's (both second among returning players), Merritt is a consistent power threat out of the three-hole. I believe she will top both these numbers in her final season for the Orange and Blue. Another aspect of her game worth looking at as well is her speed. She stole 23 bases as a junior last year, the second most among returning players.

4. Taylore Fuller- Boasting the most home runs and RBI's among returning players (14 and 56, respectively), Fuller will assume the role as the Gators' "big hitter" this season. She has a very powerful swing and should have plenty of RBI opportunities unless Merritt brings them home first.

5. Taylor Schwarz- Sister of J.J. Schwarz (the best hitter on the Gator baseball team), Taylor has done something on this team that no other player has done. In both national championships, she recorded the final putout at first base. Having recorded the biggest out of her softball career TWICE, Schwarz brings back with her a strong sense of leadership and presence that the younger players on the team can look up to. Not to mention she also swings it pretty well at the dish too.

6. Justin McLean- Appearing in 60 games last season, McLean hit .360 with 32 hits. She is a solid bat for the middle of the order and her 15 hit by pitches are the third most among returning players. She has .406 on base percentage and knows how to use her legs when she gets on base as she stole 10 bases last year.

7. Aubree Munro- Holding down the bottom of the lineup, Munro is definitely a better defender than hitter. However, she (like Schwarz) has an intangible leadership quality within her. One of the team leaders in sacrifice bunts last year (with 10), Munro will be crucial in moving runners over and helping turn the lineup over back to the top.

8. Janell Wheaton- Playing first base when she does not DH, Wheaton is a contact hitter who can put it out of the yard every now and then. Appearing in just 38 games as a true freshman in 2015, look for this total to increase slightly as she may split time with Kayli Kvistad in the DH role.

9. Alex Voss/Theresa Swertfager/Sophia Reynoso- All of these girls are new additions to the Gator softball program this year. I honestly could not find anyone among the returners who I think could fill the shortstop role, so I believe that one of these true freshmen will step up and win the job. For all I know, they could all play the position at some point!


In 2014, it was Hannah Rogers. In 2015 it was Lauren Haeger. Now in 2016, who is it going to be? Here is my projected pitching rotation for the 2016 Gators:

  1. Aleshia Ocasio
  2. Delanie Gourley
  3. Kelly Barnhill
1. Aleshia Ocasio- Appearing in 30 games as a true freshman last year, Ocasio went 18-3 with 155 strikeouts and a 2.58 ERA. She pitched in Game 1 of the Women's College World Series Finals, so she knows how the pressure of the postseason feels. Going forward in 2016 she is going to be the ace for Florida and should win at least 25 games this season.

2. Delanie Gourley- A two-time champion who has known nothing but winning since her freshman year, Gourley is usually more of a relief pitcher than a starter. If she is called to start though, she will get the job done as she went 10-2 in the 12 games she started in 2015. She saved five games, which makes her liable to be the Gator closer if the situation arose, and she also posted an ERA of 2.73 with 105 strikeouts.

3. Kelly Barnhill- A true freshman this upcoming season, Barnhill was a beast pitcher in high school and travel ball! She threw 22 no-hitters (my goodness) and in a perfect game struck out all 21 batters! You have got to be kidding me. That is absolutely incredible. But wait, there is more! She holds the single-season Georgia state record for strikeouts with 534 and holds numerous player of the year and high school All-American honors. This girl has the making of the next great Gator ace, and it will be fun watching her develop in what time I have left at the University of Florida.


Florida's defense has been incredible based off the obvious fact that they have won it all these last two seasons. To achieve the heralded three-peat, no doubtably will the Gator defense again have to be crisp and clean.

Let's take a gander at the total number of errors committed by the 2016 projected lineup and the pitching staff:

  1. Kelsey Stewart- 6
  2. Nicole DeWitt- 0
  3. Kirsti Merritt- 1
  4. Taylore Fuller- 8
  5. Taylor Schwarz- 2
  6. Justin McLean- 0
  7. Aubree Munro- 0
  8. Janell Wheaton- 1
  9. Alex Voss/Theresa Swertfager/Sophia Reynoso- 0
  1. Aleshia Ocasio- 4
  2. Delanie Gourley- 2
  3. Kelly Barnhill- 0
That is a grand total of 25 errors for the two-time defending champions. As it looks right now, the Gator defense in 2016 will once again be on-point and should finish Top-10 in the country.

2016 Schedule

Here is the Florida Gators' schedule for this upcoming season!


USF Tournament (12th-14th)
12th: @Illinois State
13th: @Michigan
14th: @Virginia Tech
14th: @USF
17th: Jacksonville
17th: Jacksonville

Diamond 9 Tournament
19th: @UAB
19th: @Stephen F. Austin
20th: @Omaha
20th: @Elon
21st: @Jacksonville State

Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic
25th: @UCLA
25th: @NC State
26th: @Washington
26th: @Nebraska
27th: @Utah


UF Invitational (3rd-6th)
3rd: Illinois State
4th: FIU
5th: South Alabama
5th: FIU
6th: Illinois State
6th: Florida A&M
9th: South Dakota
9th: South Dakota
12th: @Auburn*
13th: @Auburn*
14th: @Auburn*
16th: Winthrop
18th: Tennessee*
19th: Tennessee*
20th: Tennessee*
25th: @LSU*
25th: @LSU*
26th: @LSU*

1st: Alabama*
2nd: Alabama*
3rd: Alabama*
6th: @UCF
8th: @Ole Miss*
9th: @Ole Miss*
10th: @Ole Miss*
13th: FSU
16th: UL-Lafayette
16th: UL-Lafayette
17th: UL-Lafayette
20th: USF
22nd: Mississippi State*
23rd: Mississippi State*
24th: Mississippi State*
29th: @Texas A&M*
30th: @Texas A&M*

1st: @Texas A&M*
4th: @FSU
6th: Arkansas*
7th: Arkansas*
8th: Arkansas*

*Denotes SEC game
Home games in bold

Final Takeaway:
The Florida Gator softball team is in a prime position for the second ever three-peat in NCAA D-1 softball history. The team is stocked full of veteran players who know how to get it done on the biggest of stages. Florida is going to meet some stiff competition in SEC play this year and it is a possibility that the Gators may not even win the conference regular season or tournament titles in 2016.

When May arrives, however, the sky is the limit for this team! Florida is going to return to Oklahoma City and it is there where they will have their date with destiny. It will be a great season to watch and I wish Florida the best of luck as they chase history! Go Gators!

*All stats accredited to

Monday, December 21, 2015

2016 Gator Baseball Preview

The Florida Gator baseball team is easily favored by many to take home the National Championship in 2016. This week, the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Poll released its preseason rankings and coming in at #1 was in fact the Florida Gators.

After two heartbreaking defeats to Virginia in the College World Series, the mentality for the 2016 Gators is National Championship or bust. I briefly ran into first baseman Peter Alonso in October and he told me basically that if they "do not win it all this year, it will be a huge disappointment."

I would have to say I agree with him. The team that the Gators will be fielding this upcoming season is absolutely filthy! Evaluating the team through the three components of offense, pitching, and defense, there is no hole in this Florida team. If you do not believe me, let me break it down further.


The lineup is powerful enough that it could easily produce more than five runs every game. Here is my projected lineup for the 2016 Gators:
  1. Buddy Reed- Center Field
  2. Dalton Guthrie- Second Base
  3. JJ Schwarz- Catcher/DH
  4. Peter Alonso- First Base
  5. John Sternagel- Third Base
  6. Jon India- Shortstop
  7. Mike Rivera- Catcher
  8. Ryan Larson- Left Field
  9. Jeremy Vasquez- Right Field
1. Buddy Reed- Insanely fast, Reed is a constant threat on the base paths (he stole 18 bags last season) who can turn bloop hits into doubles. He also has a great eye as he drew 27 walks last year.

2. Dalton Guthrie- A de facto second leadoff man, Guthrie is another speedster who can either hit behind Reed or be thrown in the nine-spot to kickstart the bottom of the order. Like Reed, he has a great eye as he reached base 29 times via walk.

3. JJ Schwarz- Last season's home run and RBI leader (with 17 long balls and 73 RBIs, respectively), Schwarz will be one of the most feared Gator hitters in this lineup. With Reed and Guthrie constantly reaching base, RBI opportunities will be plentiful for the sophomore.

4. Peter Alonso- After missing over 30 games last year and having to wear a Bane-like mask due to a pre-game accident, a full-season without major injury will see Peter Alonso do big things from the cleanup spot. Do not let his five homers from last year fool you. This boy has power.

5. John Sternagel- Not getting much playing time the past two seasons due to the likes of Josh Tobias at third base, Sternagel will get his opportunity to lock down the hot corner this year. He will definitely need to work on his hitting to win the job, however, as he went hitless in eight of 13 games where he had more than one at-bat.

6. Jon India- The only freshman I know from the Gators #1 ranked recruiting class, India is a fine young ballplayer. I believe he has the skill set to win the starting shortstop job and absolutely dominate in his first collegiate season. He will continue the pattern of true freshmen coming in and tearing it up for the Gators (Schwarz/Rivera/Guthrie in 2014 and Shore/Reed in 2013).

7. Mike Rivera- A beast behind the plate and a player who performs in the clutch, Rivera will provide run production from the bottom of the order (he was third on the team last year with 48 RBIs). Look for him to show a little more power at the dish at well this year.

8. Ryan Larson- Playing in almost every game last season, Larson is a guy that can hit for average in the eight-hole. He had 51 hits last year and knows how to get on base as shown by his 24 walks.

9. Jeremy Vasquez- Starting 29 of the 42 games he appeared in last year, Vasquez is another player who can hit for average. Given more AB's as a sophomore, I expect Vasquez to become a better contact and situational hitter from the nine-hole. Look for an increase in walks as well (Vasquez drew 15 walks his freshman season).


The pitching staff has three bonafide starters who the Gators can rely on for their 10 SEC weekend series along with other weekend series against Florida Gulf Coast, Miami, Dartmouth, Harvard, and the three spaced out games vs Florida State. Here is my projected pitching rotation for the 2016 Gators:

  1. Logan Shore
  2. A.J. Puk
  3. Alex Faedo
  4. Dane Dunning
  5. Shaun Anderson
  1. Frank Rubio
  2. Shaun Anderson
  3. Kirby Snead
  4. Tyler Deel
  5. Brett Morales
  6. Logan Browning
1. Logan Shore- The ace of this Gator team, Shore led the team in wins and ERA last season (11 and 2.72, respectively). He could be a potential first rounder with another incredible season from the bump.

2. A.J. Puk- An interchangeable ace with Shore, Puk stands at an intimidating 6'7. To make the pot sweeter, he is a lefty who knows how to ramp it up and throw it past hitters. Going 9-4 with a 3.81 ERA, he led the Gator pitching staff with 104 strikeouts and some say he could be he #1 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft.

3. Alex Faedo- Showing much promise as a freshman, Faedo's skills will be refined for his sophomore campaign for the Orange and Blue. Posting a 6-1 record with a 3.23 ERA last year, he provides a solid third option for the Gators in their Sunday series finales.

4. Dane Dunning- The third-year man out of Fleming Island has always been able to give the Gators a bunch of innings. In the event where Faedo is hurt or too fatigued to start, Dunning could easily fill his spot and grind out the 'W'! He posted a 6-2 record, 4.03 ERA, and 55 strikeouts last year, and will improve upon those numbers this year.

5. Shaun Anderson- Straight out of my hometown of Coral Springs, Florida, Anderson is a solid acquaintance of mine. He started just one game (against Florida State) his sophomore season and posted a 4.09 ERA with 21 strikeouts out of the bullpen. In a situation where both Faedo and Dunning are unavailable, Anderson would be a good guy for Sully to throw out there for a weekday or Sunday game.

The bullpen will be key for Florida this year and should be held down mainly by Rubio, Anderson (if he is not starting), and Snead as the closer. I expect everyone to contribute in some way or form, but Coach O'Sullivan tends to go with the guys who are the most consistent. Simply put, if a guy goes out and gets blown up for five runs in relief, he may not see the field again for another month.


The Florida Gators were one of the best defensive teams last season, which is one of the big reasons why they made it all the way to the College World Series. As the old saying goes, defense wins championships. If the Gators want to live up to the high expectations placed upon them in 2016, they will need to make the routine plays and avoid giving their opponents extra outs.

Here are the total number of errors committed by the 2016 projected lineup and starting rotation:

  1. Buddy Reed- 3
  2. Dalton Guthrie - 6
  3. JJ Schwarz - 3
  4. Peter Alonso- 1
  5. John Sternagel- 3
  6. Jon India- 0
  7. Mike Rivera- 1
  8. Ryan Larson- 1
  9. Jeremy Vasquez- 5
  1. Logan Shore- 0
  2. A.J. Puk- 3
  3. Alex Faedo- 0
  4. Dane Dunning- 1
  5. Shaun Anderson- 0
For the starting lineup that is a grand total of just 23 errors with four more coming from the starters. So with the core players of 2016 committing just 27 total errors, the Florida Gators should once again be a defensively sound squad.

2016 Schedule

In regards to their opponents, here is a look at who the Florida Gators will be taking on this season.

19th: FGCU
20th: FGCU
21st: FGCU
23rd: Eastern Michigan
24th: Eastern Michigan
26th: @Miami
27th: @Miami
28th: @Miami

1st: @UCF
2nd: UCF
4th: Dartmouth
5th: Dartmouth
6th: Dartmouth
8th: @UNF
9th: UNF
11th: Harvard
12th: Harvard
13th: Harvard
15th: FSU
18th: Missouri*
19th: Missouri*
20th: Missouri*
22th: FAU
25th: @Kentucky*
26th: @Kentucky*
27th: @Kentucky*
29th: @FSU

1st: Texas A&M*
2nd: Texas A&M*
3rd: Texas A&M*
5th: Jacksonville
8th: Mississippi State*
9th: Mississippi State*
10th: Mississippi State*
12th: @FSU
14th: @Arkansas*
15th: @Arkansas*
16th: @Arkansas*
19th: Jacksonville
22nd: Georgia*
23rd: Georgia*
24th: Georgia*
29th: @South Carolina*
30th: @South Carolina*

1st: @South Carolina*
3rd: Bethune-Cookman
6th: @Tennessee*
7th: @Tennessee*
8th: @Tennessee*
10th: USF
13th: Vanderbilt*
14th: Vanderbilt*
15th: Vanderbilt*
19th: @LSU*
20th: @LSU*
21st: @LSU*

*Denotes SEC game
Home games in bold

Final Takeaway:
In 2016, the Florida Gators are going to have one of the best baseball teams in school history that is expected to win the program's first National Championship in 101 seasons. With a lineup oozing with power and speed, a pitching rotation with two potential first rounders followed by depth, and a defense that will finish Top-5 in the country, the Florida Gators have no one to blame but themselves if they do not leave Omaha as National Champions this summer.

This is going to be an exciting season and I cannot wait to be there for every single moment of it! Go Gators!

*All stats accredited to

Thursday, December 17, 2015

2015 Gator Soccer: A Year In Review

The 2015 Florida Gator soccer team had a fantastic year as they won both the SEC regular season and tournament championships on route to a 19-4-1 (9-2-1 in SEC play) record. In the NCAA Tournament, Florida's season ended in the Sweet 16 with a 2-1 loss to Duke. Despite another disappointing showing in postseason play, this year's Gator team has so much to be proud of. Some of their season accomplishments include:
  • A 14th SEC regular season title and 11th SEC tournament title
  • A second-straight win over the Florida State Seminoles (with the final score being 3-2)
  • Victories over five teams ranked in the final NSCAA Coaches Top 25 polls
  • Six shutout wins
  • Finishing at #5 in the NSCAA Coaches poll at the end of the season
After highlighting the team's accolades, let's shine the spotlight on the individual Gators who contributed to this success. Here are the award winners:

Individual Awards & Honors
  • 2015 All-Freshman Team
  • 2015 SEC Offensive Player of the Year
    • Forward- Savannah Jordan
    • 2015 SEC Defensive Player of the Year
      • Defender- Christen Westphal
    Now, let's look at the stat leaders for the Orange and Blue:

    Goals: Savannah Jordan (24)

    Assists: Christen Westphal (12)

    Points: Savannah Jordan (55)

    Shots: Savannah Jordan (116)

    Game Winners: Savannah Jordan (4)

    Penalty Kicks Made: Pamela Begic (3) (Junior)

    Saves: Kaylan Marckese (54) (Freshman)

    Shutouts: Kaylan Marckese (5)

    Yellow Cards: Savannah Jordan/Liz Slattery (3) (Junior)

    Minutes: Claire Falknor (2,166)

    Final Season Takeaway:
    Four seniors will be departing from the Gator soccer team and taking their place will be seven hungry juniors who have experienced defeat in the Round of 32, the Elite Eight, and now the Sweet 16. With one final season remaining, what will their legacy ultimately be as a class? This was by no means a bad season, but at the same time it can be considered a failure because the team failed to bring the hardware home.

    Winning SEC titles are always great, and it is an awesome memory that the graduating seniors will cherish forever. However, this team has way too much firepower returning next year to just settle for conference championships. They already know they are the best team in the SEC, now they just have to go out and prove it to the rest of the country! Regardless, hats off to the Gators for another spectacular soccer season and I cannot wait to root them on in 2016!

    *All stats & accolades accredited to,, &

    Wednesday, December 16, 2015

    2015 Gator Volleyball: A Year In Review

    The 2015 Florida Gator volleyball team saw another brilliant season come to a conclusion on December 12th with a five-set loss to the #3 seeded Texas Longhorns in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Despite losing in this stage of the tournament for the second straight year, Florida managed to go 25-7 (13-5 in SEC play) on route to a fourth place finish in the SEC. Some other notable accomplishments of this year's squad include:
    • Victories over seven teams ranked in the final AVCA Coaches Top 25 polls
    • 13-1 record at home (only loss to Kentucky)
    • Nine-game winning streak from October 9th to November 8th
    • Two victories over Florida State between the regular season and the postseason
    • A five-set upset of #6 Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 as a #11 seed
    • Finishing at #16 in the AVCA Coaches poll at the end of the season
    Now that we have looked at the team's accomplishments, let's take a look at the accolades of some of the individual players. First the award winners:

    Individual Awards & Honors
    • 2015 AVCA Division I First-Team All-Americans
    • 2015 All-SEC Team
      • Middle Blocker- Rhammat Alhassan
      • Middle Blocker- Simone Antwi (Senior)
      • Setter- Mackenzie Dagostino
      • Right Side Hitter- Alex Holston
      • Outside Hitter- Ziva Recek
    Now let's look at the stat leaders:

    Kills: Alex Holston (381)

    Attack Errors: Alex Holston (106)

    Total Points: Rhammat Alhassan (485.5)

    Digs: Nikki O'Rourke (499)

    Return Errors: Ziva Recek (38)

    Assists: Mackenzie Dagostino (1,286)

    Total Blocks: Rhammat Alhassan (189.0)

    Block Errors: Rhammat Alhassan (19)

    Service Aces: Mackenzie Dagostino (32)

    Service Errors: Mackenzie Dagostino (64)

    Sets Played: Rhammat Alhassan/Alex Holston/Simone Antwi/Nikki O'Rourke (117)

    Final Season Takeaway:
    The Florida Gator volleyball team continues to take positive strides forward with back-to-back Elite Eight appearances. Losing five seniors to graduation after this season, the team will rely on its two rising seniors (Alex Holston and Shainah Joseph) and five rising juniors to lead the squad to the promise land in 2016. The road will be tough as always, but with legendary coach Mary Wise calling the shots, the wait for the first national championship in program history will be ending very soon.

    *All stats & accolades accredited to,,, &

    Thursday, December 10, 2015

    2015 SEC Championship: #2 Alabama Handles #18 Florida to Secure Playoff Spot

    If you told me before last Saturday that the #18 Florida Gators were only going to lose by 15 to the mighty #2 Alabama Crimson Tide, I would have laughed in your face. I predicted a 44-0 beatdown in the SEC Championship and fortunately I was way off as the Tide defeated the Gators 29-15. Despite just a 14-point margin of defeat, this game was not close. Alabama controlled it the whole way.

    This time around, I am not even going to begin with another poor showing from the Gator offense. Instead, I will start with special teams. This is probably the worst I have seen the special team unit play since that debacle against South Carolina last year in The Swamp. The legendary Johnny Townsend proved to be human as his second punt of the day was blocked for a safety.

    I will not let that one block, however, cloud the fact however that Townsend did send off eight punts for 414 total yards, an average of 51.8 yards per kick, a long of 57 yards, and one kicked downed inside the Alabama 20-yard line.

    After the safety, Austin Hardin did what he does best and had his only field goal attempt of the game blocked. Hardin's fifth straight miss prompted Coach Mac to use walk-on kicker Neil MacInnes for an extra point, and the pre-dental student converted for his first make of his collegiate career!

    Even though the Gators had two kicks blocked, there was one positive that came out of the special teams unit from this game. In the second quarter, Antonio Callaway put himself in the record books as he ran back a punt for an 85-yard touchdown return. In the process, he set the record for the longest punt return in SEC Championship history! I could not have been more than happy for Callaway considering he had muffed a return earlier in the game deep in Gator territory.

    Alabama definitely won the war, but in that brief moment, Florida was winning the battle. The Gators led for a little over nine minutes before Alabama took charge and reminded us all who the better team was.

    Offensively, Florida only scored a touchdown because C.J. Worton (the brother of former stud UCF wide receiver J.J. Worton) made an insane catch on a prayer thrown up by "quarterback" Treon Harris. It was another pitiful outing by Treon as he went 9 of 24 passing for 165 yards and one interception. He was sacked five times.

    If there is one moment I would say that sums up how bad the Gator offense is when Treon plays, it would have to be what occurred near the end of the first half. Treon threw the ball and it was deflected (shocker) right back to him. So, for some unknown reason, he rolled out to his left and then just chucked the ball downfield. The refs hit him with an illegal forward pass penalty and I sat there dumbfounded at what I had just seen.

    What quarterback who plays for a D1 school does not know that you cannot throw the ball twice? He has no football IQ whatsoever! To make matters even worse, his illegal pass was not even completed to anyone besides his No. 1 receiver known simply as "the turf". If you are gonna commit a penalty, at least hit a receiver for goodness sakes!

    After the poor play of Treon, it only gets worse as the Gators ran for a total of (get ready for this)... 15 yards! As I feared, the ground game was nonexistent and the game had to be put in Treon's hands. The offense mustered just 180 total yards, which is less yardage than I earn playing three minute quarters on NCAA Football 14. That is a problem.

    Florida had seven first downs compared to Alabama's 25. They were 0 for 11 on third down conversions and ran 45 offensive plays compared to Alabama's 84. Going to back to last year's matchup in Tuscaloosa, Florida has not converted a third down against Alabama.

    Let the following sink in: The Gators had the ball on offense for a grand total of 1:05 in the third quarter. The least amount of time Alabama ever had the ball was 8:25 in the first quarter. Wow. Florida has the WORST offense in the country. If not the country, then definitely the worst among Power-Five teams.

    On the other side of the ball, Florida was unable to knock Tide running back Derrick Henry out of the Heisman race as he ran for 189 yards and one touchdown. In this game, he tied the SEC single-season touchdown record set by Gator QB Tim Tebow and Auburn running back Tre Mason. In the passing game, 'Bama QB Jake Coker torched Florida as he completed 18 of 24 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns. The Tide rolled for 437 yards on offense.

    The Gator defense dug in and did its best to quell Alabama's offense as Antonio Morrison led the Gators with 11 tackles (one for loss) in his first and last ever SEC Championship. Following him was Marcus Maye with nine tackles and a fumble recovery. After Maye, four different Gators had eight tackles. They were Matt Rolin, Keanu Neal, Jarrad Davis (0.5 for loss, a pass breakup, and a forced fumble), and Jonathan Bullard (2.0 for loss and a sack).

    The only other Gator besides Bullard to record a sack was Bryan Cox Jr., who had seven total tackles (1.5 for loss) and a forced fumble. The last Gator defender I will mention is good ol' Vernon Hargreaves III. Also playing in his first and last SEC Championship, Vern faired well as he notched five tackles (1.0 for loss) and two pass breakups. He held his own against Alabama for two straight years, and is soon going to be one of the best corners in the NFL.

    Final Takeaway:
    I am proud of this Gator team. 10-3 going into the bowl game is nothing to be ashamed of in Coach Mac's first year. This team was not even picked to win the SEC East! I am proud of our defense in this game for keeping it competitive as the offense continuously shot itself in the foot drive after drive.

    I am not so proud of the offense for anything and I have no more comments on special teams. Losing by 15 points to Alabama honestly feels like a pseudo-victory to me. I mean, this offense was EMBARRASSING to watch on national TV, but at least they did not get shutout! I have no doubt that we will see these same two teams back in Atlanta for a rematch come next year. With the right QB at the helm for Florida, maybe I will see the Gators win a conference title before I graduate next December.

    Until that day comes, it is on to the next one. #19 Florida's next opponent will be the #17 Michigan Wolverines (9-3) in the Citrus Bowl. Florida and Michigan have not hooked up in football since 2008, when the Wolverines defeated Heisman winner Tim Tebow and company by a score of 41-35 in the Capital One Bowl. Coincidentally enough, that game was in Orlando just like this upcoming matchup is.

    The headline is glorious. We got two first-year head coaches in Jim McElwain and Jim Harbaugh (how 'bout that they both have the name "Jim") with programs on the rise. This will be a good preview of sorts considering Florida and Michigan are kicking off the 2017 college football season in the Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium.

    The game is at 1 p.m. on New Year's Day and can be seen on ABC. As for my prediction, I am picking #17 Michigan. I do not believe in Florida's offense. It is that simple. I would love to see the Gator's prove me wrong, but I am sticking with the Blue. Regardless if Florida begins 2016 with a win or loss, it has been a phenomenal season for the Orange and Blue.

    As for the SEC Champion and #2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1), they are in the same position as last season with a semifinal victory separating them from a National Championship berth. Their opponent is the mighty Big Ten Champion #3 Michigan State Spartans (12-1), who may just have what it takes to stop potential Heisman winner Derrick Henry on the ground.

    This is going to be an awesome game and it takes place one day before the Gators' on December 31st. The game can be seen on ESPN at 8 p.m. and the site for all the action will be at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. My prediction for this game? Well, all I am gonna say is Roll Tide Roll!

    *All stats accredited to

    Friday, December 4, 2015

    UF Football: #13 FSU Smacks #12 Florida

    It was an absolutely dreadful game for #12 Florida offensively against rival #13 Florida State last weekend as the Seminoles smacked the Gators around and handily beat them 27-2. The game was still somehow close going into the fourth quarter as the Gators trailed 13-2 with a little under nine minutes left, but the inept Florida offense could not muster anything to end what is now a three-game losing streak to the 'Noles.

    I will say it right now and stand by it, I am done with Treon Harris. Not only me, this entire university is done with Treon Harris! He was pitiful against FSU as he threw for just 125 yards on 19 of 39 passing attempts! Obviously he threw no touchdowns and he was sacked five times! I will not even waste anymore time ranting about how he takes forever to make decisions or how he can't throw a decent ball. I just won't. This 5'11 Miami native should not be playing quarterback at a D1 school. PERIOD.

    There is not much more to say about offense apart from the fact that running back Kelvin Taylor had another great game on the ground. He rushed 24 times for 136 yards and became the first Gator running back in school history to rush for over 100 yards against Florida State, Georgia, and Tennessee in the same season. It is truly a tremendous accomplishment and his father (Gator legend Fred Taylor) would have been proud of his son on a night where he himself was being honored as an SEC legend.

    Besides the fact that Demarcus Robinson was suspended this game for violating team rules (which I feel has to deal with weed in some shape or form), the only tidbit about the wide receivers worth mentioning is that tight end Jake McGee made the most of his senior night as he led the Gators with four receptions for a whopping 34 yards.

    On the defensive side of the ball, I am proud of those guys. They worked their butts off to keep the Gators in the game and it is a shame the offense could not help out one bit. Florida held FSU's prized running back Dalvin Cook in check before he scored two garbage time touchdowns in the fourth quarter. So despite what a 183-yard, two touchdown game may say on the stat sheet, just know he really was not that dominant for more than three quarters of the game.

    Safety Keanu Neal (one tackle for loss) and linebacker Jarrad Davis (0.5 tackle for loss) both had nine tackles to lead the team. Neal also had one of Florida's two sacks, the other which came from defensive lineman CeCe Jefferson. Rounding out the leading Gator tacklers was Marcus Maye with seven and Joey Ivie with five (0.5 for loss). Maye also broke up three passes in the secondary.

    The defense gave up just 304 yards to their archival, but that does not matter one bit when the offense puts up 262 total yards and cannot find the end zone. Florida is lucky FSU messed up and somehow fumbled the ball into their end zone from nearly 20-yards out, or they would have been shutout for the first time EVER in the rivalry. In case you were wondering, Florida's two points scored are also the least amount ever scored by the Gators against the Noles.

    In the kicking game... what do you expect? Austin Hardin should never kick for a D1 football team ever again. I know I sound like the "Monday night quarterback" here for bashing him while he is down and praising him when he makes a kick to send Florida to the SEC Championship, but I am firmly saying now I never want him to kick for this team again. He missed a 51-yarder at the end of the half (which no one expected him to make honestly) and then had a 37-yarder blocked. At this point, just throw out the walk-on pre-dental student Neil Maccines for these last two games. Gator Nation is done with Hardin.

    As mad as I get about Hardin, I get just as excited when I get to bring up... you guessed it! Johnny Townsend!!!! Once again, this boy killed it as he punted NINE times for 418 yards! He averaged 46.4 yards per punt and was able to land three of them inside the 20-yard line! His longest punt of the night was 53 yards. I am absolutely shocked that he is not a finalist for the Ray Guy Award. That is highway robbery if I have ever seen it!

    Final Takeaway:
    The Gators did not deserve to win this game AT ALL. FSU outplayed them and I am not even mad the 'Noles won. I am not gonna play the what-if game in regards to Will Grier or anything like that. Florida got flat out beat by a talented team.

    On the bright side (or maybe not), #18 Florida (10-2) has an SEC Championship game to look ahead to against the fearsome #2 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1). You want my honest opinion on this one? This is going to be a bloodbath! With Florida's dreadful, Muchampesque offense and an Alabama team that many are saying is one of the most complete teams Nick Saban has ever fielded, this is going to hurt. Florida is a 17-point underdog and I thank Vegas for being so generous.

    I do not usually do score predictions but if I had to make one I would say Alabama: 44, Florida: 0. I honestly do not believe Florida will be able to run the ball against a stacked Alabama defensive line. You know what that means then if the Gators cannot run the ball right? Treon time! Yes, we get to see Treon throw three picks and run for his life as Alabama tracks him down like a bloodhound hunting an escaped prisoner. Buckle up folks, this is going to be a rough ride. The beatdown begins on December 5th at 4 p.m. The game can be seen on CBS.

    As for #9 Florida State, there is no ACC Championship for them this year after three consecutive conference titles. They will await their fate and most likely receive a decent bowl game bid. They finish the regular season at 10-2.

    *All stats accredited to and tweets by Gator writers Scott Carter & Chris Harry

    Friday, November 27, 2015

    Gator Basketball: November Recap

    The 2015-16 Florida Gator basketball team has gotten off to a great start under new head coach Mike White. For the month of November, they went 5-1 with their one loss coming against the undefeated #21 Purdue Boilermakers.

    Florida's defining win thus far to me is probably today's 70-50 victory over Florida Gulf Coast. The reason being that center John Egbugnu had a stellar game as he tallied 17 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double in a Gator uniform. Hopefully, this was his coming out party and he will join the likes of Joakim Noah and Patric Young as the next great center to come out of the University of Florida.

    Now, let's take a look at the stat leaders thus far in this very young season.


    Points: Dorian Finney-Smith (91) (Redshirt Senior)

    Assists: Kasey Hill (22) (Junior)

    Shooting % (100 minutes min.): John Egbugnu (.609) (Redshirt Sophomore)

    Three-Pointers (10 attempts min.): Dorian Finney-Smith (14)

    Three-Point % (10 attempts min.): Chris Chiozza (.438) (Sophomore)

    Free Throws: Dorian Finney-Smith (19)

    Free Throw % (10 attempts min.): John Egbugnu (.762)

    Rebounds: Dorian Finney-Smith (20)


    Rebounds: Dorian Finney-Smith/Devin Robinson (30) (Sophomore)

    Blocks: John Egbugnu (10)

    Steals: Dorian Finney-Smith/Kasey Hill (8)


    Personal Fouls: John Egbugnu (18)

    Foul Outs: Kasey Hill (1)

    Minutes: Dorian Finney-Smith (172)

    Turnovers: Dorian Finney-Smith (14)

    After a solid November, the Gators will look to continue their winning ways with a December schedule slated with non-conference opponents that include in-state rivals Miami and Florida State. If the Gators play well in December, they will find their way back into the rankings as 2016 rolls around.

    Until my next basketball recap at the end of December, stay tuned for my article on the Florida/Florida State football game on November 28th and anything else in between!

    *All stats accredited to

    What If The BCS Never Existed?

    As the College Football Playoff enters its second year, I could not help but grow curious of a world where its predecessor, the Bowl Championship Series (aka BCS), never existed. Created for the 1998 college football season and ending in 2013, the BCS determined its Top 25 poll via computers that used a series of various algorithms. As a result, the BCS sparked much controversy in its 16 years of existence as time and time again many deserving teams were left out of the National Championship.

    So with the postseason looming upon the college football world, I figured I would conduct an experiment of my own. What I did was I took the top four teams from each year of the BCS era and ran my own playoff through a sports simulator I discovered on

    As a means to make sure no teams advanced through "pure luck", I made each team from these respective years play each other in a best of seven series in both the semifinal and championship. The player of the game honors were determined by whoever was named player of the game the most in each series (as shown in parentheses). So without further adieu, let's get to it. Here is what a College Football Playoff from 1998-2013 would have done to the college football landscape!

    1998 College Football Playoff
    #1 Tennessee vs. #4 Ohio State
    #2 Florida State vs. #3 Kansas State

    Semifinal: #1 Tennessee vs #4 Ohio State

    Game 1: Vols 23-7 (Travis Henry)
    Game 2: Bucks 38-13 (Michael Wiley)
    Game 3: Bucks 24-17 (Michael Wiley)
    Game 4: Bucks 23-16 (Michael Wiley)
    Game 5: Vols 28-27 (OSU Joe Germaine)
    Game 6: Bucks 38-17 (Michael Wiley)
    Game 7: N/A

    #4 Ohio State upsets #1 Tennessee four games to two.
    Player of the Game: Michael Wiley, Running Back

    Semifinal: #2 Florida State vs #3 Kansas State
    Game 1: FSU 33-17 (Travis Minor)
    Game 2: FSU 35-0 (Travis Minor)
    Game 3: FSU 28-25 (KSU Michael Bishop)
    Game 4: FSU 26-20 (Travis Minor)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #2 Florida State sweeps #3 Kansas State in four games.
    Player of the Game: Travis Minor, Running back

    1998 National Championship: #2 Florida State vs #4 Ohio State

    Game 1: Bucks 23-16 (Joe Montgomery)
    Game 2: Bucks 17-14 (Michael Wiley)
    Game 3: Bucks 33-26 (Michael Wiley)
    Game 4: FSU 29-0 (Travis Minor)
    Game 5: FSU 24-10 (OSU Michael Wiley)
    Game 6: Bucks 31-10 (Joe Germaine)
    Game 7: N/A

    1998 National Champion: #4 Ohio State Buckeyes
    #4 Ohio State defeats #2 Florida State in six games to win the first National Championship of the College Football Playoff.
    Player of the Game: Michael Wiley, Running Back

    1999 College Football Playoff
    #1 Florida State vs. #4 Alabama
    #2 Virginia Tech vs. #3 Nebraska

    Semifinal: #1 Florida State vs #4 Alabama
    Game 1: FSU 40-30 (Bama Shaun Alexander)
    Game 2: FSU 33-16 (Peter Warrick)
    Game 3: FSU 21-7 (Chris Weinke)
    Game 4: FSU 44-21 (Peter Warrick)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #1 Florida State sweeps #4 Alabama in four games to return to the National Championship.
    Player of the Game: Peter Warrick, Wide Receiver

    Semifinal: #2 Virginia Tech vs #3 Nebraska
    Game 1: Neb 17-15 (Correll Buckhalter)
    Game 2: VT 22-19 (Michael Vick)
    Game 3: Neb 17-13 (Correll Buckhalter)
    Game 4: VT 30-7 (Andre’ Davis)
    Game 5: Neb 27-7 (Correll Buckhalter)
    Game 6: VT 27-24 (Neb Eric Crouch)
    Game 7: VT 28-10 (Michael Vick)

    #2 Virginia Tech defeats #3 Nebraska in seven games to make first National Championship appearance.
    Player of the Game: Michael Vick, Quarterback

    1999 National Championship: #1 Florida State vs #2 Virginia Tech
    Game 1: VT 26-13 (FSU Chris Weinke)
    Game 2: FSU 23-20 (VT Michael Vick)
    Game 3: VT 23-13 (Shyrone Smith)
    Game 4: FSU 30-16 (Travis Minor)
    Game 5: FSU 25-24 (VT Michael Vick)
    Game 6: FSU 24-10 (Travis Minor)
    Game 7: N/A

    1999 National Champion: #1 Florida State Seminoles
    #1 Florida State defeats #2 Virginia Tech in six games for the second National Championship in school history.
    Player of the Game: Travis Minor, Running Back

    2000 College Football Playoff
    #1 Oklahoma vs. #4 Washington
    #2 Florida State vs. #3 Miami

    Semifinal: #1 Oklahoma vs #4 Washington
    Game 1: Wash 27-13 (Marques Tuiasosopo)
    Game 2: OU 23-17 (Quentin Griffin)
    Game 3: OU 24-3 (Quentin Griffin)
    Game 4: OU 27-17 (Quentin Griffin)
    Game 5: OU 22-10  (Josh Norman)
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    Oklahoma defeats Washington four games to one.
    Player of the Game: Quentin Griffin, Running Back

    Semifinal: #2 Florida State vs #3 Miami
    Game 1: FSU 34-31 (Chris Weinke)
    Game 2: FSU 33-17 (Chris Weinke)
    Game 3: FSU 28-23 (Travis Minor)
    Game 4: FSU 34-27 (Chris Weinke)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #2 Florida State defeats #3 Miami for the second time this season with a four-game sweep.
    Player of the Game: Chris Weinke, Quarterback

    2000 National Championship:#1 Oklahoma vs #2 Florida State
    Game 1: FSU 20-19 (Tay Cody)
    Game 2: FSU 23-6 (Chris Weinke)
    Game 3: FSU 32-17 (Chris Weinke)
    Game 4: FSU 31-21 (Chris Weinke)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    2000 National Champion: #2 Florida State Seminoles
    #2 Florida State sweeps #2 Oklahoma to become the first back-to-back champions of the College Football Playoff.
    Player of the Game: Chris Weinke, Quarterback

    2001 College Football Playoff
    #1 Miami vs #4 Oregon
    #2 Nebraska vs. #3 Colorado

    Semifinal: #1 Miami vs #4 Oregon
    Game 1: Mia 51-13 (Ken Dorsey)
    Game 2: Mia 50-3 (Clinton Portis)
    Game 3: Mia 37-24 (Ken Dorsey)
    Game 4: Mia 33-10 (Clinton Portis)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #1 Miami thrashes #4 Oregon in four-game sweep.
    Co-Players of the Game: Ken Dorsey & Clinton Portis, Quarterback/Running Back

    Semifinal #2 Nebraska vs #3 Colorado
    Game 1: Neb 39-10 (Dahrran Diedrick)
    Game 2: Col 34-23 (Chris Brown)
    Game 3: Col 35-17 (Chris Brown)
    Game 4: Neb 33-22 (Thunder Collins)
    Game 5: Col 29-19 (Chris Brown)
    Game 6: Col 49-14 (Chris Brown)
    Game 7: N/A

    #3 Colorado bests #2 Nebraska four games to two in rematch of Big 12 foes.
    Player of the Game: Chris Brown, Running Back

    2001 National Championship:#1 Miami vs #3 Colorado
    Game 1: Mia 53-19 (Clinton Portis)
    Game 2: Mia 35-10 (Ken Dorsey)
    Game 3: Mia 37-32 (Clinton Portis)
    Game 4: Mia 37-19 (Clinton Portis)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    2001 National Champion: #1 Miami Hurricanes
    #1 Miami sweeps #3 Colorado to claim their first National Championship since 1991.
    Player of the Game: Clinton Portis, Running Back

    2002 College Football Playoff
    #1 Miami vs. #4 USC
    #2 Ohio State vs. #3 Georgia

    Semifinal: #1 Miami vs #4 USC
    Game 1: Mia 47-28 (Willis McGahee)
    Game 2: Mia 49-32 (Willis McGahee)
    Game 3: Mia 50-0 (Ken Dorsey)
    Game 4: Mia 29-16 (Willis McGahee)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #1 Miami continues title defense with four-game sweep over upstart #4 USC.
    Player of the Game: Willis McGahee

    Semifinal: #2 Ohio State vs #3 Georgia
    Game 1: Bucks 29-17 (Maurice Clarett)
    Game 2: Dawgs 35-25 (David Greene)
    Game 3: Bucks 23-13 (Maurice Clarett)
    Game 4: Bucks 16-9 (UGA Musa Smith)
    Game 5: Dawgs 26-3 (Tony Milton)
    Game 6: Dawgs 28-25 (Musa Smith)
    Game 7: Dawgs 33-21 (David Greene)

    #3 Georgia stuns #2 Ohio State with a seven-game upset to propel the Dawgs to the title game.
    Player of the Game: David Greene, Quarterback

    2002 National Championship: #1 Miami vs #3 Georgia
    Game 1: Mia 48-45 (Ken Dorsey)
    Game 2: Mia 16-13 (Willis McGahee)
    Game 3: Dawgs 29-7 (Musa Smith)
    Game 4: Mia 24-10 (Willis McGahee)
    Game 5: Dawgs 44-37 (Willis McGahee)
    Game 6: Mia 35-13 (Ken Dorsey)
    Game 7: N/A

    2002 National Champion: #1 Miami Hurricanes
    #1 Miami survives a tough six-game battle against #3 Georgia to claim their second consecutive title.
    Player of the Game: Willis McGahee

    2003 College Football Playoff
    #1 Oklahoma vs. #4 Michigan
    #2 LSU vs. #3 USC

    Semifinal: #1 Oklahoma vs #4 Michigan
    Game 1: OU 35-10 (Jason White)
    Game 2: OU 41-20 (Renaldo Works)
    Game 3: Mich 27-23 (Chris Perry)
    Game 4: Mich 31-30 (John Navarre)
    Game 5: OU 41-17 (Jason White)
    Game 6: Mich 26-21 (John Navarre)
    Game 7: OU 32-16 (Jason White)

    #1 Oklahoma defeats #4 Michigan in gritty a seven-game affair.
    Player of the Game: Jason White, Quarterback

    Semifinal: #2 LSU vs #3 USC
    Game 1: USC 35-21 (Matt Leinart)
    Game 2: USC 47-21 (Matt Leinart)
    Game 3: USC 37-34 (F/OT) (Matt Leinart)
    Game 4: USC 44-21 (Hershel Dennis)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #3 USC sweeps #2 LSU in four games.
    Player of the Game: Matt Leinart, Quarterback

    2003 National Championship: #1 Oklahoma vs #3 USC
    Game 1: USC 38-20 (Matt Leinart)
    Game 2: USC 37-23 (Matt Leinart)
    Game 3: OU 30-20 (Jason White)
    Game 4: USC 31-21 (Matt Leinart)
    Game 5: OU 34-16 (Jason White)
    Game 6: USC 41-31 (Matt Leinart)
    Game 7: N/A

    2003 National Champion: #3 USC Trojans
    #3 USC defeats #1 Oklahoma four games to two to claim their first title of the College Football Playoff.
    Player of the Game: Matt Leinart, Quarterback

    2004 College Football Playoff
    #1 USC vs. #4 Texas
    #2 Oklahoma vs. #3 Auburn

    Semifinal: #1 USC vs #4 Texas
    Game 1: USC 34-33 (Tex Cedric Benson)
    Game 2: USC 41-7 (Matt Leinart)
    Game 3: USC 23-0 (Matt Leinart)
    Game 4: Tex 23-10 (Cedric Benson)
    Game 5: USC 27-10 (Matt Leinart)
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #1 USC defeats #4 Texas four games to one to begin title defense.
    Player of the Game: Matt Leinart, Quarterback

    Semifinal: #2 Oklahoma vs #3 Auburn
    Game 1: Aub 43-29 (OU Jason White)
    Game 2: Aub 28-24 (OU Jason White)
    Game 3: OU 31-12 (Adrian Peterson)
    Game 4: Aub 31-14 (Ronnie Brown)
    Game 5: OU 37-14 (Adrian Peterson)
    Game 6: Aub 43-41 GW TD as time expires from the 16-yard line (R. Brown)
    Game 7: N/A

    #3 Auburn defeats #2 Oklahoma four games to two.
    Player of the Game: Ronnie Brown, Running Back

    2004 National Championship: #1 USC vs #3 Auburn
    Game 1: USC 41-38 (Matt Leinart)
    Game 2: Aub 23-13 (Cadillac Williams)
    Game 3: USC 38-14 (Matt Leinart)
    Game 4: USC 37-20 (Matt Leinart)
    Game 5: Aub 37-34 3/OT (Ronnie Brown)
    Game 6: Aub 39-17 (Cadillac Williams)
    Game 7: USC 47-41 3/OT (Matt Leinart)

    2004 National Champion: #1 USC Trojans
    #1 USC claims their second-straight National Championship of the College Football Playoff with a triple overtime victory over #3 Auburn in Game 7.
    Player of the Game: Matt Leinart, Quarterback

    2005 College Football Playoff
    #1 USC vs. #4 Ohio State
    #2 Texas vs. #3 Penn State

    Semifinal #1 USC vs #4 Ohio State
    Game 1: USC 37-19 (Reggie Bush)
    Game 2: USC 42-21 (Reggie Bush)
    Game 3: USC 38-30 (LenDale White)
    Game 4: USC 41-31 (Reggie Bush)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #1 USC steamrolls into a third straight National Championship with a four-game sweep over #4 Ohio State.
    Player of the Game: Reggie Bush, Running Back

    Semifinal: #2 Texas vs #3 Penn State
    Game 1: Tex 41-17 (Vince Young)
    Game 2: Tex 19-3 (Vince Young)
    Game 3: PSU 22-15 (Tony Hunt)
    Game 4: Tex 14-6 (Vince Young)
    Game 5: Tex 38-33 (Ramonce Taylor)
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #2 Texas edges past #3 Penn State four games to one.
    Player of the Game: Vince Young, Quarterback

    2005 National Championship: #1 USC vs #2 Texas
    Game 1: USC 29-28 (Tex Vince Young)
    Game 2: USC 37-13 (Matt Leinart)
    Game 3: Tex 40-26 (Vince Young)
    Game 4: USC 40-16 (Matt Leinart)
    Game 5: USC 43-22 (Matt Leinart)
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    2005 National Champion: #1 USC Trojans
    #1 USC becomes the first team in the College Football Playoff era to win three consecutive National Championships with a five-game series victory over #2 Texas.
    Player of the Game: Matt Leinart, Quarterback

    2006 College Football Playoff
    #1 Ohio State vs. #4 LSU
    #2 Florida vs. #3 Michigan

    Semifinal: #1 Ohio State vs #4 LSU (Antonio Pittman P.O.G.)
    Game 1: Bucks 33-3 (Antonio Pittman)
    Game 2: Bucks 27-16 (Antonio Pittman)
    Game 3: LSU 33-3 (JaMarcus Russell)
    Game 4: LSU 34-24 (Keiland Williams)
    Game 5: Bucks 29-24 (Troy Smith)
    Game 6: LSU 48-24 (Jacob Hester)
    Game 7: Bucks 26-16 (Antonio Pittman)

    #1 Ohio State outlasts #4 LSU in seven games.
    Player of the Game: Antonio Pittman, Running Back

    Semifinal: #2 Florida vs #3 Michigan
    Game 1: UF 27-9 (Chris Leak)
    Game 2: UF 35-25 (Percy Harvin)
    Game 3: UF 31-3 (DeShawn Wynn)
    Game 4: UF 24-13 (Chris Leak)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #2 Florida sweeps #3 Michigan in convincing fashion.
    Player of the Game: Chris Leak, Quarterback

    2006 National Championship: #1 Ohio State vs #2 Florida
    Game 1: UF 29-26 (DeShawn Wynn)
    Game 2: UF 31-9 (DeShawn Wynn)
    Game 3: Bucks 10-3 (Antonio Pittman)
    Game 4: UF 21-13 (Chris Leak)
    Game 5: UF 35-19 (Percy Harvin)
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    2006 National Champion: #2 Florida Gators
    #2 Florida defeats #1 Ohio State four games to one to claim their first National Championship since 1996.
    Player of the Game: DeShawn Wynn, Running Back

    2007 College Football Playoff
    #1 Ohio State vs. #4 Oklahoma
    #2 LSU vs. #3 Virginia Tech

    Semifinal: #1 Ohio State vs #4 Oklahoma
    Game 1: OU 33-30 (OSU Beanie Wells)
    Game 2: OU 19-7 (Sam Bradford)
    Game 3: OU 44-25 (Sam Bradford)
    Game 4: Bucks 25-21 (Beanie Wells)
    Game 5: OU 31-25 (Allen Patrick)
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #4 Oklahoma upsets #1 Ohio State four games to one.
    Player of the Game: Sam Bradford, Quarterback

    Semifinal: #2 LSU vs #3 Virginia Tech
    Game 1: LSU 38-9 (Keiland Williams)
    Game 2: VT 40-28 (Brandon Ore)
    Game 3: LSU 26-23 (Jacob Hester)
    Game 4: LSU 28-14 (Matt Flynn)
    Game 5: VT 29-21 (LSU Richard Dickson)
    Game 6: LSU 44-6  (Matt Flynn)
    Game 7: N/A

    #2 LSU defeats #3 Virginia Tech four games to two.
    Player of the Game: Matt Flynn, Quarterback

    2007 National Championship: #2 LSU vs #4 Oklahoma
    Game 1: LSU 33-30 F/2OT (OU Allen Patrick)
    Game 2: OU 34-13 (Allen Patrick)
    Game 3: OU 36-24 (LSU Jacob Hester)
    Game 4: LSU 44-17 (Early Doucet)
    Game 5: OU 35-26 (Allen Patrick)
    Game 6: OU 41-26 (Sam Bradford)
    Game 7: N/A

    2007 National Champion: #4 Oklahoma Sooners
    In their fourth trip to the College Football Playoff, #4 Oklahoma finally gets their National Championship with a six-game victory over #2 LSU.
    Player of the Game: Allen Patrick, Running Back

    2008 College Football Playoff
    #1 Oklahoma vs. #4 Alabama
    #2 Florida vs. #3 Texas

    Semifinal: #1 Oklahoma vs #4 Alabama
    Game 1: OU 28-25 (Sam Bradford)
    Game 2: OU 51-23 (Chris Brown)
    Game 3: OU 31-26 (Sam Bradford)
    Game 4: OU 30-20 (Sam Bradford)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #1 Oklahoma kicks off its title defense with a four-game sweep against #4 Alabama.
    Player of the Game: Sam Bradford

    Semifinal: #2 Florida vs #3 Texas
    Game 1: Tex 34-31 (Colt McCoy)
    Game 2: UF 41-14 (Jeff Demps)
    Game 3: Tex 42-39 F/3OT (Colt McCoy)
    Game 4: UF 47-27 (Chris Rainey)
    Game 5: Tex 21-13 (Colt McCoy)
    Game 6: Tex 15-3 (Colt McCoy)
    Game 7: N/A

    #3 Texas downs #2 Florida in six games to set up a rematch of the Red River Rivalry.
    Player of the Game: Colt McCoy

    2008 National Championship: #1 Oklahoma vs #3 Texas
    Game 1: OU 49-24 (Sam Bradford)
    Game 2: OU 35-26 (DeMarco Murray)
    Game 3: Tex 48-41 (Colt McCoy)
    Game 4: OU 37-19 (Chris Brown)
    Game 5: OU 59-28 (Chris Brown)
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    2008 National Champion: #1 Oklahoma Sooners
    After losing to #3 Texas by 10 in the regular season, #1 Oklahoma bounces back and wins its second straight National Championship with a five-game series victory over their hated rival.
    Player of the Game: Chris Brown, Running Back

    2009 College Football Playoff
    #1 Alabama vs. #4 TCU
    #2 Texas vs. #3 Cincinnati

    Semifinal: #1 Alabama vs #4 TCU
    Game 1: Bama 19-11 (TCU Jimmy Young)
    Game 2: Bama 29-10 (Mark Ingram)
    Game 3: Bama 44-41 (Greg McElroy
    Game 4: TCU 37-16 (Andy Dalton)
    Game 5: Bama 29-17 (Mark Ingram)
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #1 Alabama defeats #4 TCU in five games.
    Player of the Game: Mark Ingram, Running Back

    Semifinal: #2 Texas vs #3 Cincinnati
    Game 1: Cincy 31-20 (Tony Pike)
    Game 2: Tex 35-27 F/4OT (Jordan Shipley)
    Game 3: Tex 22-19 (Jordan Shipley) Hunter Lawrence GW FG
    Game 4: Cincy 37-16 (Isaiah Pead)
    Game 5: Tex 36-24 (Cincy Isaiah Pead)
    Game 6: Tex 33-20 (‘Tre Newton)
    Game 7: N/A

    #2 Texas defeats a stingy #4 Cincinnati team four games to two to advance to consecutive National Championship games.
    Player of the Game: Jordan Shipley, Wide Receiver

    2009 National Championship: #1 Alabama vs #2 Texas
    Game 1: Bama 23-20 (Mark Ingram)
    Game 2: Bama 30-23 (Mark Ingram)
    Game 3: Bama 25-13 (Mark Ingram)
    Game 4: Bama 24-6 (Greg McElroy)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    2009 National Champion: #1 Alabama Crimson Tide
    Alabama sweeps Texas in four games for their first National Championship of the College Football Playoff.
    Player of the Game: Mark Ingram

    2010 College Football Playoff
    #1 Auburn vs. #4 Stanford
    #2 Oregon vs. #3 TCU

    Semifinal: #1 Auburn vs #4 Stanford
    Game 1: Stan 34-17 (Stepfan Taylor)
    Game 2: Stan 41-31 (Andrew Luck)
    Game 3: Stan 47-12 (Stepfan Taylor)
    Game 4: Stan 41-34 (Andrew Luck)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #4 Stanford upsets #1 Auburn with a four-game sweep.
    Co-Players of the Game: Andrew Luck & Stepfan Taylor, Quarterback/Running Back

    Semifinal: #2 Oregon vs #3 TCU
    Game 1: TCU 41-24 (Andy Dalton)
    Game 2: Oregon 23-22 (LaMichael James)
    Game 3: Oregon 23-14 (LaMichael James)
    Game 4: TCU 41-24 (Ed Wesley)
    Game 5: Oregon 30-9 (LaMichael James)
    Game 6: Oregon 29-15 (LaMichael James)
    Game 7: N/A

    #2 Oregon ousts #3 TCU four games to two.
    Player of the Game: LaMichael James, Running Back

    2010 National Championship: #2 Oregon vs #4 Stanford
    Game 1: Oregon 44-25 (Stan Stepfan Taylor)
    Game 2: Oregon 27-22 (Kenjon Barner)
    Game 3: Stan 19-12 (Andrew Luck)
    Game 4: Oregon 31-30 (LaMichael James)
    Game 5: Stan 48-42 (Stepfan Taylor)
    Game 6: Stan 33-17 (Andrew Luck)
    Game 7: Oregon 44-37 F/OT (LaMichael James) Luck picked at goal line

    2010 National Champion: #2 Oregon Ducks
    In a seven-game thriller, #2 Oregon prevails over #4 Stanford as the Ducks pick off Andrew Luck in overtime to secure the first National Championship in school history.
    Player of the Game: LaMichael James, Running Back

    2011 College Football Playoff
    #1 LSU vs. #4 Stanford
    #2 Alabama vs. #3 Oklahoma State

    Semifinal: #1 LSU vs #4 Stanford
    Game 1: LSU 17-15  (Stan Stepfan Taylor)
    Game 2: LSU 27-13 (Spencer Ware)
    Game 3: Stan 52-34 (Stepfan Taylor)
    Game 4: LSU 34-27 (Spencer Ware)
    Game 5: LSU 51-7 (Jordan Jefferson)
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #1 LSU prevails past #4 Stanford in five games for second National Championship appearance in the CFP era.
    Player of the Game: Spencer Ware, Running Back

    Semifinal: #2 Alabama vs #3 Oklahoma State
    Game 1: Bama 29-26 (Trent Richardson)
    Game 2: OSU 51-30 (Joseph Randle)
    Game 3: Bama 35-32 (AJ McCarron)
    Game 4: OSU 33-31 (Brandon Weeden) Quinn Sharp GW FG
    Game 5: Bama 41-20 (Trent Richardson)
    Game 6: Bama 48-23 (Trent Richardson)
    Game 7: N/A

    #2 Alabama pounds #3 Oklahoma State and prevails to their second National Championship appearance with a four games to two series victory.
    Player of the Game: Trent Richardson, Running Back

    2011 National Championship: #1 LSU vs #2 Alabama
    Game 1: Bama 38-16 (Trent Richardson)
    Game 2: Bama 44-3 (Trent Richardson)
    Game 3: Bama 33-21 (Trent Richardson)
    Game 4: Bama 48-27 (Trent Richardson)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    2011 National Champion: #2 Alabama Crimson Tide
    #2 Alabama thoroughly sweeps #1 LSU to claim their second National Championship of the College Football Playoff.
    Player of the Game: Trent Richardson

    2012 College Football Playoff
    #1 Notre Dame vs. #4 Oregon
    #2 Alabama vs. #3 Florida

    Semifinal: #1 Notre Dame vs #4 Oregon
    Game 1: ND 30-23 (Theo Riddick)
    Game 2: Oregon 42-35 (De’Anthony Thomas)
    Game 3: Oregon 28-21 (Kenjon Barner)
    Game 4: ND 38-14 (Theo Riddick)
    Game 5: ND 41-14 (Cierre Wood)
    Game 6: ND 24-20 (Kenjon Barner)
    Game 7: N/A

    Notre Dame defeats Oregon four games to two to advance to their first National Championship of the College Football Playoff.
    Player of the Game: Kenjon Barner, Running Back

    Semifinal: #2 Alabama vs #3 Florida
    Game 1: Bama 16-13 (Eddie Lacy)
    Game 2: Bama 29-0 (Eddie Lacy)
    Game 3: Bama 20-19 (T.J. Yeldon)
    Game 4: UF 16-12 (Mike Gillislee)
    Game 5: Bama 12-6 (T.J. Yeldon)
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #2 Alabama inches past #3 Florida in five games to begin their title defense.
    Co-Players of the Game: Eddie Lacy & T.J. Yeldon, Running Backs

    2012 National Championship: #1 Notre Dame vs #2 Alabama
    Game 1: Bama 40-3 (Eddie Lacy)
    Game 2: Bama 32-13 (Kevin Norwood)
    Game 3: Bama 45-6 (TJ Yeldon)
    Game 4: Bama 26-3 (Eddie Lacy)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    2012 National Champion: #2 Alabama Crimson Tide
    #2 Alabama wins back-to-back National Championships with a convincing sweep of #1 Notre Dame.
    Player of the Game: Eddie Lacy, Running Back

    2013 College Football Playoff
    #1 Florida State vs. #4 Michigan State
    #2 Auburn vs. #3 Alabama

    Semifinal: #1 Florida State vs #4 Michigan State
    Game 1: FSU 28-20 (Devonta Freeman)
    Game 2: FSU 27-17 (MSU Josh Price)
    Game 3: FSU 27-20 (MSU Connor Cook)
    Game 4: FSU 53-16 (Devonta Freeman)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    #1 Florida State sweeps #4 Michigan State on route to a fourth National Championship appearance.
    Player of the Game: Devonta Freeman, Running Back

    Semifinal: #2 Auburn vs #3 Alabama
    Game 1: Bama 35-19 (AJ McCarron)
    Game 2: Bama 51-21 (AJ McCarron)
    Game 3: Bama 48-23 (TJ Yeldon)
    Game 4: Bama 48-27 (Kenyan Drake)
    Game 5: N/A
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    After losing to #2 Auburn via the "Kick Six", #3 Alabama gets their revenge with a resounding four-game sweep.
    Player of the Game: A.J. McCarron, Quarterback

    2013 National Championship: #1 Florida State vs #3 Alabama
    Game 1: Bama 38-23 (TJ Yeldon)
    Game 2: Bama 24-17 (Kenyan Drake)
    Game 3: Bama 34-16 (TJ Yeldon)
    Game 4: FSU 21-19 (Jameis Winston)
    Game 5: Bama 27-23 (FSU Jameis Winston)
    Game 6: N/A
    Game 7: N/A

    2013 National Champion: #3 Alabama Crimson Tide
    #3 Alabama dispatches #1 Florida State in five games for their third-straight National Championship and fourth in five years.
    Player of the Game: T.J. Yeldon, Running Back

    Final Takeaway:
    Using the simulator, the correct team won the National Championship in 9 of the 16 years. The teams who won in the simulation, but not real life, are as follows:
    • 1998: Ohio State (instead of Tennessee)
    • 2000: Florida State (instead of Oklahoma)
    • 2002: Miami (instead of Ohio State)
    • 2003: USC (instead of LSU)
    • 2005 USC (instead of Texas)
    • 2007: Oklahoma (instead of LSU)
    • 2008: Oklahoma (instead of Florida)
    • 2010: Oregon (instead of Auburn)
    • 2013: Alabama (instead of Florida State)
    It is amazing how much of a difference the College Football Playoff makes. In addition to producing different champions, it also:
    • Settled the 2003 dispute as to whether USC or LSU should have been the National Champion for that season.
    • Paved the way for USC to win three-straight National Championships and establish a dynasty in the mid-2000s. It also allowed Trojan QB Matt Leinart to become maybe the winningest college quarterback of all-time as he won Player of the Game for the National Championship THREE consecutive times!
    • Saw five different teams win at the least back-to-back titles (Florida State, Miami, USC, Oklahoma, and Alabama).
    • Allowed the Alabama dynasty to live on as the Tide, like USC, also won three-straight titles and four in five years. This by far makes them the most dominant team of my hypothetical College Football Playoff era in my opinion.
    • Deflated the SEC's hype as the conference won just five National Championships in the playoff as opposed to nine in the BCS era.
    • Proved that Ohio State, with star receiver/return man Ted Ginn Jr., most likely would have beaten Florida in 2006. I ran a different test where Ginn does not get hurt and the result did not bode well for the Gators.
    So there you have it. My wacky experiment proved that the computers got it right a little more than half of the time. I do wish these match-ups could have actually happened, but for now I will have to settle with my simulations. Either way, college football is in a great position now with a playoff system as opposed to letting computers decide. I have a good feeling that the playoff will expand beyond four teams in due time, but for now it works perfectly.

    I hope you enjoyed this Thanksgiving article of mine! Stay tuned as I will be recapping the first month of Gator basketball as well as the football game between #12 Florida and #13 Florida State on Saturday!

    *All game simulations and information accredited to &