The Ghosts of Tim Couch and Cam Newton (and a new BM Top 25)

Early in the 1996 season, Gators fans were riding high. Despite the embarrassing end to the previous season, there were signs ’96 was going to be special. Florida had the look. With Sonny Beam and Sam McCorkle in attendance, the Gators took out Peyton Manning and the Vols in Knoxville in a matchup of two top 5 teams in the traditional third game of the year. The next week, Florida welcomed Kentucky to the Swamp. The Wildcats were an awful program back then (yeah they aren’t great now but back then they were hideous). But hopes were on the rise thanks to a young phenom named Tim Couch. But in 1996, Kentucky wasn’t ready for Couch. Bill Curry’s offense didn’t adjust to the young gun’s talents. They had Couch running the option. The result was a 65-0 win, one of 12 that season for Florida on its way to our first national title. I vividly remember sitting in the stands and making fun of Kentucky for RUNNING THE OPTION with a dropback passer. It was laughable at the time.

I found myself thinking back to Couch and that game a lot over the past couple of weeks. You see, Urban Meyer and Steve Addazio are pulling a Bill-Freaking-Curry. John Brantley was the Gatorade national player of the year in high school because he’s a gunslinger. And yet after six weeks, the Florida offense still thinks it makes sense to run the full spread attack. Hopefully, the final straw was the ineptness displayed offensively most of the night against LSU. Until the final drive when Brantley just loaded up and pitched it around, the Gators were never a threat. We’ll see going forward if the coaches learned anything.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about lately, and unlike my Couch memories, I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking this – where would Florida be with Cam Newton? Newton, in case you haven’t been paying attention, is destroying it with Auburn. He has 21 TDs and almost 1,800 total yards through six games. He is a Heisman contender and leads a team that has national title aspirations. He’s Tebow-lite. And we are one stolen laptop from knowing the answer to the original question. At least we can hold our heads high knowing Urban Meyer, despite what popular opinion tells us, does in fact discipline his players.

Onto the rankings… 

1. Ohio State

2. Oregon

3. Nebraska

4. Oklahoma

5. Boise State

6. TCU

7. Auburn

8. Alabama

9. LSU

10. Michigan State

11. South Carolina

12. Utah

13. Arkansas

14. Florida State

15. Iowa

16. Oklahoma State

17. Stanford

18. Arizona

19. Nevada

20. Wisconsin

21. Air Force

22. Missouri

23. Oregon State

24. Michigan

25. Florida

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