And The Winner Is…..

by John Furgele

There were five major bowl games during the 2008 college football season, so before we unveil the Johnny228 Champion, let’s review them.

Rose:  USC 38 Penn State 24

Orange:  Virginia Tech 20 Cincinnati 7

Sugar:  Utah 31 Alabama 17

Fiesta:  Texas 24, Ohio State 21

Miami:  Florida 24 Oklahoma 14

If you go by bowl performance, Utah and USC played the best in their respective bowl games.  The Trojans cruised against Penn State and really could have named the score.  They ran clock in the second half and the Nittany Lions late touchdown made the score sort of respectable, but not really.

Alabama faithful can say what they want, that they didn’t take the Utes seriously, but the fact remains that Utah pushed the Tide around.  John Parker Wilson is an average college quarterback at best and managed 12 games well this year, the 12 that the Tide won.  But, in the big games, when they needed to establish the pass, JPW couldn’t do it, and the Utes, like Florida in the SEC Championship had the better QB were clearly the better team, and had perhaps the most impressive bowl perfomance of all.

Texas won their game, but didn’t look great.  Even Mack Brown appeared to acknowledge that when he voted Florida number one in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.  Style points are overrated, so give Texas credit for their win, but based on bowl perfomance, Utah and USC were better, and when there is a log jam, performance has to be used to break it, so Texas drops based on that. 

So, it is time for Johnny228 to crown its football champion, not national champion, but the Johnny228 champion, and for 2008, the winner is:

The Florida Gators:  2008 Johnny228 Champions!

As much as I like Utah and USC and as much as they deserve to get a shot, I do have to concede that Florida is a deserving champion.  The Gators are not the best team in the land; they are not the “national champion,” because in the system that is college football, they do not crown national champions, they award them based on many, many factors.  The Gators, the writers, the broadcasters, and the fans can call the Gators the national champions, but the real fan, the estute fan, knows that the Gators are nothing more than the Associated Press champions, BCS champions, and of course, Johnny228 Champions. 

Now, that the bowls are over, the matchup that I and perhaps most would like to see is probably USC-Florida.  But, a plus one with those two teams would be terribly unfair to Utah, and that is why a plus-one will NEVER happen under the current system in college football.  That said, USC-Florida would a game of athletes and a game that would be a tremendous one at that. 

So, the first ever Johnny228 Championship goes to the University of Florida.  I will send out the official Johnny228 Championship certificate to Urban Meyer in the next couple weeks. 

The rest of the Johnny228 top ten:

1)  Florida, 13-1

2)  Utah, 13-0

3)  USC, 12-1

4)  Texas, 12-1

5)  Oklahoma, 12-2

6)  Alabama, 12-2

7)  Penn State. 11-2

8)  Texas Christian, 11-2

9)  Oregon, 10-3

10) Ohio State, 10-3

It has been a great season, and all we can do is look forward to spring practice, recruiting and of course, Fall 2009. 

Happy New Year and rest up.

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