CollegeFootballNews.com 20th Anniversary Ranking College Football Playoff & BCS Era 20 National Champions: No. 7, 2008 Florida Gators
How do the 20 national champions in the College Football Playoff & BCS rank based on how good their seasons were?
CFN, College Football Playoff & BCS Era National Champions Ranking: No. 7, 2008 Florida Gators
CollegeFootballNews.com is turning 20 this season, coincidentally starting in 1998 when the Bowl Championship Series era kicked off.
With the BCS, no matter how the teams got there, it was finally No. 1 vs. No. 2 for the national title – that wasn’t a given before – and eventually, it all morphed into the College Football Playoff starting in the 2014 season.
Based on the tried, true, tested and tweaked CFN Historical Season Ranking Formula (criteria breakdown at the bottom of all this), welcome to the ranking of all 20 national champions in the era.
This isn’t about who the most talented or the best national champions were since 1998 – that’s debatable. This is about who had the best and most impressive seasons – the more wins over great teams, the higher the score.
2008 Florida Season
Florida was always sort of in the background throughout the 2008 season.
Georgia was supposed to be the SEC’s biggest star – starting out ranked No. 1 in both polls – while the Gators started out ranked fifth.
And then, as the season rolled on, the controversy kicked in as the BCS went haywire.
Texas beat Oklahoma, Texas Tech beat Texas, and Sam Bradford and the Sooners went on a tear putting up points and offensive numbers on a historic pace.
Meanwhile, Florida faded away a bit after a tough 31-30 loss at home to Ole Miss.
Penn State stepped up into the BCS mix, USC became a player, and Alabama rose up and started to rock, while the Gators hovered around the lower part of the top ten thanks to the loss.
Despite the now-famous Tim Tebow “Promise Speech” after the loss to the Rebels, and with a slew of dominant performances over LSU, Arkansas, South Carolina and Kentucky, Florida remained on the college football backburner while the drama played out in the Big 12.
But everything slowly started to set up perfectly for Urban Meyer’s team.
Fourth in the BCS late in the process, Florida was going to get its shot to make a big statement in the SEC Championship against No. 1 and undefeated Alabama.
Meanwhile, the Big 12 figured out its tie-breaker, sending Oklahoma to the conference title game from the South and keeping Texas out. Going into championship weekend, Alabama was the BCS No. 1, Oklahoma 2, and Texas 3.
Even if Florida beat the Crimson Tide, could Texas get into the BCS Championship?
Helped by a brilliant fourth quarter from Tebow, the Gators rallied back from down 20-17 with 14 unanswered points to win the SEC title and finish No. 2 in the BCS standings, putting them on a collision course against the Heisman-winning Bradford and the Sooners.
While the hype was all about the OU offense, it was the Gator defense that pitched the gem, keeping the Sooners to two Bradford touchdown passes, but picking off two of his passes along the way.
Tebow threw two touchdown passes and rumbled for 109 yards, Percy Harvin took off for 121 yards and a score, and the Gators came up with a dominant stunner to take the national championship.
– I was right. I argued all season long that Tebow deserved the Heisman – he finished the year throwing for 30 touchdowns with just four picks, and ran for 12 scores – but Bradford rolled to the Heisman after throwing 50 touchdown passes with eight picks and five rushing scores. Tebow finished third behind Bradford and Colt McCoy in one of the closes races ever.
– Harvin grew into one of the nation’s most dangerous all-around playmakers – and was a part of the key game of the regular season. He had Ole Miss defenders beaten on a few deep plays for possible touchdowns, but Tebow missed him – part of the reason why the Promise Speech was born. Now inscribed on a plaque outside of Florida Field …
– Florida finished with nine wins over teams that finished with winning records, and dominated in point differential. Even with the loss to Ole Miss, the Gators outscored opponents 611 to 181.
Opponent Final Record in Parentheses
Aug. 30 Florida 56, Hawaii 10 (7-7)
Sept. 6 Florida 26, Miami 3 (7-6)
Sept. 20 Florida 30, at Tennessee 6 (5-7)
Sept. 27 Ole Miss 31 (9-4), Florida 30
Oct. 4 Florida 38, at Arkansas 7 (5-7)
Oct. 11 Florida 51, LSU 21 (8-5)
Oct. 25 Florida 63, Kentucky 5 (7-6)
Nov. 1 Florida 49, Georgia 10 (10-3) (in Jacksonville)
Nov. 8 Florida 42, at Vanderbilt 14 (7-6)
Nov. 15 Florida 56, South Carolina 6 (7-6)
Nov. 22 Florida 70, Citadel 19. (FCS, 4-8)
Nov. 29 Florida 45, Florida State 14 (9-4)
Dec. 6 Florida 31, Alabama 20 (12-2)
Jan. 8 Florida 24, Oklahoma 14 (12-2)
CFN Historical Season Rankings Breakdown
Wins: 13 (Hawaii, Miami, at Tennessee, at Arkansas, LSU, Kentucky, Georgia, at Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Citadel, Florida State, SEC Championship vs. Alabama, BCS Championship vs. Oklahoma)
Losses: 1 (Ole Miss)
Quality Wins: 9 (Miami, LSU, Kentucky, Georgia, at Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Florida State, SEC Championship vs. Alabama, BCS Championship vs. Oklahoma)
Elite Wins: 2.5 (SEC Championship vs. Alabama, BCS Championship vs. Oklahoma)
Bad Wins: 1 (Citadel)
Elite Losses: 0
Point Differential: Florida 611, Opponents 181
Winning %: 0.923
TOTAL SCORE: 28.473
The Season Formula’s Components
If you win, everything else falls into place. Each win counts as 1.
If you lose, everything stinks. Each loss counts as -1.
3. Quality Wins
The number of wins over teams that finished with a winning record. Each Quality Win counts as 1.
4. Elite Wins
The number of wins over teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each Elite Win counts as 1 with a road win over an Elite team getting an extra 0.5.
Also counting as 1 is a road win over a team that finished with three losses or fewer (but the extra 0.5 isn’t added). A win over a team that finishes with three losses in a bowl game also gets counts as 1.
5. Bad Loss
The number of losses to teams that finished with three wins or fewer, or a loss to an FCS (DI-AA) team. Each loss counts as minus-1. Take away an additional 0.5 for a Bad Loss at home.
6. Bad Win
The number of wins to teams that finished with three wins or fewer, or a win over a an FCS (D-IAA) team. Each win counts as -0.25
7. Elite Loss
The number of losses to teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each loss counts as 0.25.
8. Point Differential
Points for minus points against divided by 100.
9. Winning Percentage
Created as a sort of tie-breaker, the winning % is added to the total score.
Photo courtesy of University of Florida
CFN 20th Anniversary lists compiled by Rich Cirminiello, Pete Fiutak, Phil Harrison & Russ Mitchell