<
>

Florida finishes No. 1 in a landslide in final college polls

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Florida didn't have to lobby to win this
vote. The Gators are No. 1 in a landslide.

For unbeaten Boise State, a top-10 ranking will have to do.

The Gators finished atop The Associated Press and USA Today coaches Top 25 polls after
upsetting Ohio State 41-14 in the BCS Championship Game
Monday night, a matchup Florida lobbied hard for late in the
regular season when it looked as if the Gators would be left out.

The Buckeyes had been No. 1 since August and were looking to
become the third team to hold the top spot in the media poll from
preseason through the bowls. Florida State was the first in 1999
and Southern California did it in 2004.

Instead, Ohio State finished No. 2. LSU was third, and Southern
California and Boise State rounded out the top five in the AP poll. Wisconsin received the No. 5 ranking in the USA Today poll and Boise State was No. 6.

Florida received all but one of the 65 first-place AP votes. Boise
State (13-0) got the other from Greg Archuleta of the Albuquerque
Journal in New Mexico.

"This is the greatest feeling in the world," Florida senior
quarterback Chris Leak said. "All the hard work and sacrifice that
we have gone through the last two years to get where we are today
makes this unbelievable."

The Gators were stuck behind Michigan and USC in the polls in
late November, and it looked as if no matter what they did the BCS
Championship Game would be out of their reach. Urban Meyer and the
Gators made it known, loud and clear, that they believed they
deserved a shot at the national title.

The first weekend of December, the Gators got their wish with
the help of a major upset. UCLA knocked off USC and Florida jumped
Michigan, a loser to Ohio State, in the polls and the BCS
standings.

Florida proved more than worthy of its chance at the title by
blowing out Ohio State.

No. 6 Louisville was followed by Ohio State's Big Ten rivals
Wisconsin and Michigan. Auburn, the third Southeastern Conference
team in the rankings, and West Virginia finished off the top 10 in the AP poll.

Louisville, Auburn, Michigan and West Virginia rounded out the Top 10 after Boise State in the USA Today poll.

For the second consecutive season, No. 2 beat No. 1 in the
national title game and kept a team from going wire-to-wire as No.
1. Texas and Vince Young upset USC in the Rose Bowl last season,
but this season No. 2 hasn't been a great place in the rankings.

Six teams held the second spot in the poll before the bowls --
including Florida twice -- and the Buckeyes won two 1 vs. 2 games.
They beat Texas and Michigan. Notre Dame, Auburn and USC also
reached No. 2 then lost.

Florida was the first No. 2 to break through.

The Gators' last AP national title was in 1996 with coach Steve
Spurrier and Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel.

The SEC champion Gators were joined in the Top 25 by five other
league rivals. No other conference finished with more in the top
25.

Oklahoma, which lost a 43-42 overtime classic to Boise State in
the Fiesta Bowl, finished 11th. No. 12 Rutgers has its highest
final ranking and finished ahead of Texas, California, Arkansas and
BYU.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.