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Did Bin Laden Cost Florida A National Title?

You gotta love the way no team has ever lost a game legitimately… at least not according to its fans.  The refs stole it.  The other team must’ve paid its players.  The sun got in our guys’ eyes.

Well how ’bout this one: “Osama bin Laden screwed us out of a national title!”

That’s the view of at least one Florida fan who contacted columnist Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel this week.  Here’s the fan’s theory, as told by Bianchi:

The Rex Grossman-led Gators had an open date and were schedule to play Tennessee in the third game of the season in 2001, but then 9/11 happened and the Southeastern Conference made the absolute right decision in cancelling all games that week.  The Florida-Tennessee game was moved to the end of the season — after the Gators’ previously scheduled regular-season final against Florida State. 

The Gators ended up routing Florida State 37-13, but star running back Earnest Graham injured his knee in a much-publicized incident with FSU defensive tackle Darnell Docket…

… Playing without the injured Graham and not entirely focused on Tennessee, the Gators lost 34-32 to the Vols.

If the Gators had beaten Tennessee, they would have advanced to the SEC Championship against LSU.  If they had won that, they would have advanced to the national championship game against Miami in the Rose Bowl.

Instead, Tennessee reached the SEC title game and was upset by Nick Saban’s LSU Tigers, knocking them out of a BCS Championship Game matchup with Miami.  The Hurricanes wound up pummeling Nebraska for the national crown.

What’s laughable about this complaint is that it’s so eerily similar to Tennessee fans’ loudest complaint of the last two decades.  The Gators have won 14 out of 18 against the Volunteers.  That’s 14 out of 17 if you only count those games played in September and dump the ’01 contest from the stat sheet.  As a result, many UT fans have hooted and hollered for the SEC to move the Vol-Gator matchup to the end of the season.  The 2001 game was even used as proof by some that the results of the series would be more even if the game came later in the season each year.

Perhaps both fanbases should simply focus on winning the game and forget about the calendar.  When the two foes meet — be it in September or December — both teams have to take the field and play.

The calendar is simply an excuse used by the losing fans.  Much like this bin Laden assertion.


B Roberts
B Roberts

We played Auburn on a Sat night. Spurrier refused to event ry to run with Graham out against Auburn. All I remember is Tennessee had Henderson and Haynesworth on the DL and UF had some sorry ass dude named Jergenson who couldn't block a lick and sexy rexy had zero time.


Of COURSE it's ridiculous on the face of it--but as it clearly bugs the HELL out of all the Vol, Tiger and assorted other Gator-Hater Trolls out there I'm all for it, a sudden convert. We were robbed!
(Actually, I remember that game better than I wish I did; Grossman had a terrible game, and he wasn't the only one...I remember bemoaning when it was played and how it had come to that, but didn't take that final, petty step of BLAMING the loss on anything but a poor retrospect, we STILL only JUST got beat: we WERE the better team, overall, just not at the end that day...But SCREW the scoreboard, "We were robbed!!!" By whom? Why, by al-Quaida and the NCAA!! Collusion!)


How do you know UF wasn't focused? I remember a different game. A game that UT ran all over them. A game where Grossman kepted fumbling, throw backward passes that the Ref (Ford) kept calling incomplete passes. A game that not for that wouldn't have been close. Only John Pennington bias could leave out key TN points. Mr. SEC or Mr. Bullsh!t


I had a hunch UT might do well in that delayed game. At the beginning of every season, Spurrier always had UF focused on the Vols and no one else. But at season's end, there was their other big rival, FSU. BTW, didn't Spurrier leave to go coach in the NFL after that season?? Big game in UT and UF history...


I don't remember all of the circumstances around the 2001 season, but I do remember that Auburn beat UF on a Thursday night game. So that would have given UF at least one loss. John Lovett created a masterful plan on defense to slow the Gator offense down. Also, Tuberville benched the freshman, Jason Campbell, in favor of Daniel Cobb at QB.

B Roberts
B Roberts

If I recall UT had several players either hurt and or suspended for the september game as well, in addition to a healthy E Graham.

And to the guy that said LSU would have beaten UF in the SEC CG, UF waxed that ass 44-15 in Baton Rouge earlier that year.

that was Spurrier's best team in Gainesville. I'm still not sure how Travis Stephens ran for 225. I blacked out somewhere in the 4th Q when the liter of bourbon was empty.


There was only one UT/UF game that was not correct (since Spurrier and UF handed our lunch to us most of the time), that was the phatom catch in the endzone that won one of the games. I think Gafney "caught" the ball. But as Fulmer rightfully said - never let the game be decided by the refs. That game was decided by the refs. It was one of the games that led up to instant replay. On the other hand, UT had plenty of times to win the game before then. When it all comes down, it is just a game. There are a lot more important issues in life to deal with every day than a game played 10 years ago.


Never mind the BCS controversy surrounding the 2001 season. When Colorado throttled Nebraska 62-36 to win the Big 12 North before going on to Texas in the Big 12 Championship. 10 and 2 Big 12 Champion Colorado was skipped over for 11-1 Nebraska for the National Championship. Colorado was chosen to play Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. The argument was also made that 10-1 Oregon, the Pac 10 champion, whose only loss was a close loss at home to Stanford should have been in the National Championship too. Especially over Nebraska who, as I mentioned above, didn't even play in their Conference Championship.

My point is, that year, like most in the BCS was FUBAR. We knows what would have happened had UF played LSU.

In full disclosure I am an AU alum and have no connections to the Big 12 or Pac 10. I just love CFB!!!

Jack Dennis
Jack Dennis

Is there such a word as lamest? If so, that was the lamest lament I've ever seen.


UF wouldn't have beaten LSU in the SEC championship without Earnest Graham either...

That was a decade ago.. glad you now have closure..


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