2006 SEC Championship: Arkansas vs. Florida
By Douglas Kroll
Despite being steamed about the BCS, the Florida Gators (11-1) have a conference championship to play this weekend. Head coach Urban Meyer and his Gators will travel to Atlanta to take on Arkansas (10-2) on Saturday at 6pm on CBS. It will be the eighth time Florida will appear in the SEC Championship game, more than any other team in the league. Alabama is second with five appearances. This is Arkansas' third trip.
Its been six seasons since Florida last won the Championship in 2000. After winning five titles in six years from 1991-1996, the Gators have won just one in the last nine years.
For only the second time in school history Florida has 11 wins in the regular season, which is made even more special when looking at the schedule they faced. Many outlets have them with the toughest schedule in the nation based on past opponents and their cumulative record. The Gators are one of three teams to have faced ten bowl
eligible teams this season.
Florida met Arkansas in Atlanta for the SEC title in 1995, downing the Razorbacks 34-3 when Danny Wuerffel was the Gators quarterback. Arkansas is 1-5 all-time against Florida, 0-5 since joining the SEC, as their only win in history over the Gators came in the 1982 Bluebonnet Bowl.
Arkansas also played for the title in 2002, losing 30-3 to Georgia. Combined with the 1995 loss to Florida, Arkansas has been outscored a cumulative 64-6 in its' two SEC title appearances.
Senior QB Chris Leak has been hot of late, winning SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week. Leak is averaging 211.7 yards per game and has tossed 21 touchdowns this season. Add his completion percentage of nearly 64-percent and you have an efficiency rating of 151.06. His favorite receiver has been Dallas Baker, who has reeled in nine touchdown catches, and averaged 72 yards per game receiving.
The Gators may have a tough time on offense against a very underrated Arkansas defense, but freshman QB Tim Tebow is a weapon worth no amount of money. Tebow has scored seven times on the ground, and is the second leading rusher on the team. He has also thrown four touchdowns passes.
Arkansas has a Heisman Trophy candidate on its offense, and his name is Darren McFadden. Although he will likely only get a trip to New York and not win the Trophy, he has put up some impressive numbers in Fayetteville. McFadden has 1,485 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. Not to mention hes also 5-for-5 for 70 yards through the air and has two touchdowns. The Razorbacks QB situation has been a bit dicey this season, but they will stick with Casey Dick over Mitch Mustain this week. Dick has thrown for 745 yards this year and eight touchdowns.
Its been a magical run for the Razorbacks, but the question will become whether or not they have recovered from their second loss of the season last week against LSU. They will also be going up against one of the best defenses in the country in Florida, who gives up only 12 points per game.
Douglas Kroll is an independent contributor to College Football Poll.com.