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January 9, 2007
Final Poll: Gators on top; Boise State No. 5
No. 1 Ohio State
No. 2 Florida
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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Florida didn't have to lobby to win this vote. The Gators are No. 1 in a landslide.
For unbeaten Boise State, No. 5 will have to do.
The Gators finished atop The Associated Press Top 25 after upsetting Ohio State 41-14 in the BCS national 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.
Florida received all but one of the 65 first-place 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."
In the USA Today coaches poll, the top four was the same as the AP's - Florida, Ohio State, LSU and USC. Wisconsin was fifth with Boise State sixth, followed by Louisville, Auburn, Michigan and West Virginia.
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.
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.
Notre Dame finished No. 17. The Fighting Irish were ninth in the final poll last season.
Three Atlantic Coast Conference teams rounded out the top 20 with No. 18 Wake Forest, No. 19 Virginia Tech and No. 20 Boston College.
Oregon State, TCU, Georgia, Penn State and Tennessee completed the rankings.