When Florida won the NCAA basketball championship in 2005-06, the nucleus of the team, Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Taurean Green and Corey Brewer decided to return. I thought that was odd. You've won a national championship, you will likely be high draft picks, why not leave for the NBA?
In 2006-07, Florida won another national championship. And Donovan accepted a job with the Orlando Magic, only to quickly change his mind and return to Florida. Why, I wondered. A co-worker said "Because Gainesville's a nice place." Sure, I thought.
Fast forward to 2009. Florida wins its second BCS championship in three years.Its two best players, quarterback Tim Tebow and middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, announce they will return for their senior seasons. I turn to my co-worker and jokingly say, " Yea, I know. Gainesville's a nice place."
Gainesville, indeed, must be a nice place. All the women are 10s and the streets are paved with gold. All kidding aside, Florida has it going on in football. The 2009 season should be no different.
With the exception of running back/receiver Percy Harvin, Florida lost no one of significance. The Gators are overrun with receivers. All but the left tackle return on the offensive line.
Speed? Well, there's Jeff Demps. Branden James. Chris Rainey. Newcomer Andre Debose is as fast as them. Tight end Aaron Hernandez returns, as does Cornelius Ingram, who was injured last year.
Then there's Tebow. The NFL guys might not love him. But us college football fans do. Has anyone ever seen a better competitor?
Defense? The line is big and fast. The linebackers aren't all big, but they're fast. The secondary is fast, physical and covers with the best of them. All of the defensive starters return.
Another BCS title is a distinct possibility.
If you're a Gators fan, count your blessings.