A national title, or a championship in any sport, resonates for years beyond just one small victory for a group of tall men. It stands for something not just in athletics, but for a university as a whole, a matter of civic pride, an achievement disparate groups of people can all stand alongside, joyous.
That's a really windy and pretentious way of saying: It rules when your team wins it all, and it changes the way people think of your team, your school and yourself.
With tonight's national title game rapidly approaching, we asked fans of both Ohio State and Florida to describe what a victory tonight would mean, what it would stand for, how it would change matters, what would be the team's place in history. We thought it would be kind of fun.
Right now: The Florida Gators, written by Dan Shanoff, of DanShanoff.com. Words come after the jump.
What would a Florida win tonight mean?
It means this Gators starting five goes out as the greatest in the history of college basketball.
(But it really means the debate is on: "Wait, this Gators starting five is the greatest in the history of college basketball?!")
It means Joakim Noah is the NBA's problem now.
(But it really means no more gratuitous TV shots of Noah's famous father or MILF-ish mother.)
It means one more thing for Florida fans to be arrogant about.
(But it really means one less thing for Duke fans to be arrogant about.)
It means Billy Donovan finally might return all those screened calls from that "859" area code.
(But it really means Donovan is going to get p-a-i-d.)
It means Urban Meyer is still one behind.
(But it really means Jim Tressel isn't the only Buckeyes coach with a huge Gator bite taken out of his ass.)
It means a few more NBA-bound college underclassmen stars perhaps will feel inspired to return to school to pursue goals beyond value.
(But it really means Greg Oden probably can't win either way.)
It means that the "Year of the Gator" would become the "YEARS of the Gator."
(But it really means Erin Andrews is re-coronated as our national college homecoming queen.)