The University of Florida is one of the largest in the United States with over 50,000 students. Gators football has been around for over a century, with the first team being fielded in 1906 and joined the South Eastern Conference in 1932. Florida football has grown to be so popular, that their home stadium, ‘The Swamp’, or Ben Hill stadium as known to students and grads, seats close to 90,000 spectators! Since 1990, the Florida Gators have been the winningest NCAA football team in the nation. With the Gators heading to their second BCS National Title Game in three years, the standard debate arises as to what the top three Florida Gators football teams are of all time. The following highlights our list of the top 3 Florida Gators football teams in school history.
1 – 1996 Florida Gators – Led by Quarterback Danny Wuerffel
After suffering their first defeat of the season in the Fiesta Bowl in 1995, the Gators were on a mission in 1996. Setting numerous scoring records, the Gators got off to a 10-0 start to the season. Florida lost a close game to the Florida State Seminoles in a #1 vs #2 matchup in the regular season finale, 24-21. The Gators defeated Alabama in the SEC Championship game and defeated Florida State in the Sugar bowl. With Ohio State upsetting #2 Arizona State in the Rose Bowl, Florida claimed their first college football national title! Heisman trophy winner, quarterback Danny Wuerffel, was the Sugar Bowl MVP.
2 – 2006 Florida Gators – Led by Quarterback Chris Leak
Coming off a 9-3 season in 2005, the Gators were predicted by many to be in the top 10 in NCAA college football. Lead by quarterback Chris Leak, the Gators only loss of the season was a road loss at Auburn (27-17). With Chris Leak running the offense platooning with Freshman, Tim Tebow at times, the 2006 team was best known for its defensive prowess! The Gators defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes in the BCS Championship game, 41-14 for their second national championship in 10 years. Leak would finish the season eclipsing Danny Wuerffel’s record for total passing yards at Florida.
3 – 2008 Florida Gators – Led by Quarterback Tim Tebow
After a mid-season loss to the Ole Miss Rebels, Tim Tebow has led the Gators on a roll that has landed them in the 2009 BCS National Championship Game against the Sam Bradford led Oklahoma Sooners. Along the way, Florida has defeated five ranked opponents, three of which were in the AP and BCS top ten! Their last victory of the regular season was over the Alabama Crimson Tide who were ranked #1 in the BCS and AP polls in the SEC championship, 31-20 heading into the BCS finals. This will be the first meeting between the two schools, but Oklahoma coach, Bob Stoops, was formerly the defensive coordinator for the Gators in their 1996 title run. If the Gators were to get blown out in the BCS championship, then we would probably have to flip a quarter against the 1995 Gators to decide which team is better!