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Why Is Everyone So Sure Alabama Is Better Than Florida?

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 20:  Defensive lineman Dominique Easley #2 of the Florida Gators and offensive linesman D.J. Humphries #70 of the Gators celebrate with fans following the Florida Gators victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Gainesville, Florida. Florida defeated South Carolina 44-11.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterOctober 22, 2012

Sunday night came and went, and the release of the updated BCS standings produced more discussion on which team deserves to be No. 2.

The Florida Gators hold down that spot for the second straight week, but Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame are nipping at their heels.

If you saw Florida's dominating defensive performance in Saturday's 44-11 win over South Carolina, you have to wonder why Florida isn't getting more consideration for the No. 1 spot in place of Alabama.

With a road win over No. 20 Texas A&M, another the following week at Tennessee and home wins over No. 6 LSU and No. 13 South Carolina, the Gators certainly have the best resume of any team in the country.

Despite that, the Gators only received one first-place vote between the two major college football polls—the USA Today coaches' poll and the Associated Press poll.

So why aren't the Gators in legitimate consideration as the best team in the country ahead of Alabama? Because they're viewed as a one-dimensional offense that isn't capable of moving the ball through the air.

Offensive coordinator Brent Pease and quarterback Jeff Driskel's offense currently ranks last in the SEC in passing at 137.7 yards per game. But that shouldn't be a point of criticism of the Gators; it should be used to praise them.

The mindset of head coach Will Muschamp is simple—he wants his team to run the ball and play defense. Despite averaging just 1.9 yards per carry Saturday versus the Gamecocks, the Gators do that really well.

Critics of the Gators will undoubtedly point to Saturday's game and argue that Will Muschamp's crew is overrated due to the fact that it was outgained 191-183 by the Gamecocks and dominated the game due to three fumbles that resulted in touchdown drives of two yards, 29 yards and one yard in the first half.

Turnovers aren't given; they're forced. The Gators have been forcing them at a good rate this year, gaining 1.57 possessions per game—the third-best mark in the SEC.

Despite beating subpar competition this season, Alabama has proven that its offense is complete in every facet. The Crimson Tide lead the nation in passing efficiency with a 183.28 rating, and quarterback A.J. McCarron has tossed 16 touchdowns without throwing a pick.

But just because Alabama head coach Nick Saban has asked McCarron to do that and Muschamp hasn't asked the same of Driskel, don't assume that it's because Driskel can't.

It just means that what Florida is doing works, even if it isn't the prettiest game plan in the world.

Would Florida beat Alabama? Nobody knows for sure. Alabama certainly looks like a machine. But Florida's fast and physical defense will keep it in every game, so don't discount the possibility.

 

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