In January 2007, the Florida Gators demolished the Ohio State Buckeyes in the BCS national championship. The Gators allowed a touchdown on the opening kickoff to Ted Ginn but dominated thereafter, winning 41-14 to spoil Troy Smith’s Heisman Trophy season.
While the 2006 Gators are known for that 27-point blowout, however, they had several close calls during the regular season. A one-point win at Tennessee. A one-point win against South Carolina. A six-point win at Vanderbilt. A seven-point win against Georgia. And, yes, a seven-point win at Florida State.
“That was one of those games where we knew regardless we were going to win the game – because to be honest, we owned those guys,” former Gators wide receiver Dallas Baker said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I could care less what they think. Once you play at Florida, it’s almost like your brain-washed. This is a hate that’s going to last forever. I love (former Florida State and NFL linebacker) Buster Davis. I grew up with him. He stayed nights in my house. But it’s one of those things that, when it’s time to play, I cannot stand the team. That was one of those games where I guess we kind of took them lightly, but not really. It’s one of those games (we knew we would win). The game was close.”
Florida won 21-14 in Tallahassee in November 2006.
While Tim Tebow was Florida’s backup that season, he played a pivotal role in the championship against Ohio State, throwing for a touchdown and running for another.
Baker, who finished that game with four catches for 23 yards and a touchdown, wasn’t surprised – and for good reason. After all, Tebow, then a true freshman, won the Heisman the very next season and led Florida to another national championship as a junior.
“That kid came in,” Baker said, “and what you see is what you get. There would be times when he would run with the receivers, and I’m not afraid to say it – I was probably the slowest receiver we had. So I would barely be beating him, and I would be like, ‘Tell him to go run with the running backs and the quarterbacks.’ And this kid would not go over there. He wanted to run with the wide receivers and the corners to work on his speed. So from the day he came in, that kid was destined for greatness.”