So the near-impossible has actually happened: The national media and coaches really, truly underestimated Florida this year. Any chance that wasn't the case evaporated as the Gators ripped off 24 straight points near the end of their 37-26 win over rival Florida State, a team that spent nearly the entire season in the top 10. Florida was ranked 23rd in both polls in the preseason (slumming with the likes of No. 21 Stanford and No. 22 Kansas State) and looked to be pleasantly beatable.
The Gators went on to lose just one game, 17-9 to Georgia—a team that could be playing for the national championship, pending the SEC title game outcome. Hell, if Georgia wins, Florida still has an outside chance of playing the Bulldogs again for the national title, assuming USC finishes off the last cupcake on its schedule.
What went right for Florida? Close wins against LSU and at Texas A&M, a lockdown defense, the emergence of sophomore QB Jeff Driskel as a very steady if unspectacular starter. Against Georgia he fumbled three times, losing two, and threw two of the three interceptions he tossed this season. Yet with five minutes left he still threw what might've been the tying score, had his receiver not fumbled in the end zone.
Mostly, though, you've got to hand it to this gentleman with the disembodied tongue, whose parents have to watch him on the sidelines each Saturday knowing his behavior there ultimately reflects upon them. Will Muschamp jetted from the listing tanker that is Texas football and with speed that caught everyone unawares turned the Gators back into contenders. Those bastards.