A look at this week's college football scene. For more, check out sports.tampabay.com.
In time, it may earn one of those catchy titles that are bestowed upon legendary plays, but for now it's just referred to as the play that saved Florida's national championship season: Jarvis Moss' block of South Carolina's last-second field goal in 2006 to preserve a one-point victory. "If I have a vote, I think that it's the greatest play in the history of Florida football," coach Urban Meyer said. "It was certainly a monumental moment in my life and our program's life. It happened to a guy (who) had worked extremely hard the whole year for us. That is one of the finest plays that I have ever been a part of."
After Florida took a 17-16 lead on QB Tim Tebow's 12-yard run with 3:03 remaining in the game, South Carolina came back to put itself within field-goal range. With eight seconds remaining on the clock, Ryan Succop prepared to kick the winning field goal. He had to endure two timeouts — one by the Gamecocks, the last by the Gators — while thinking about his earlier miss from 47 yards.
Meanwhile, Moss was begging his way back onto the field.
"I looked at Moss and I was like, 'Moss, you've played the whole game, you're coming out,' " defensive coordinator Charlie Strong remembered this week. " 'Derrick Harvey, I want you to go in the game.' Moss is like, 'No, coach, don't take me out, don't take me out.' Then he looked at Coach Meyer and said, 'Please don't take me out.' Coach looked back at him and said, 'You better block it.' Moss said: 'I will. I'll block it.' And he ended up blocking it."
UF won the rest of its games and the 2006 national title.
Offensive coordinator Dan Mullen admits he couldn't watch. He sat in the coaches booth with his headphones off and his head down on the desk. Strong said he turned his back and didn't realize what happened until the players started running on the field celebrating. Tebow was praying. OL Phil Trautwein can't remember if he watched, but he was praying.
"That's probably the loudest I've ever heard the Swamp," Tebow said, "and I've been here for a lot of games. It was a very intense moment."
Antonya English, Times staff writer
How USF can still win the Big East
It seems impossible that USF, with its 1-3 record in Big East play, would still be mathematically alive for a share of the conference title and the league's automatic BCS berth. Strange as it seems, the Bulls are still technically in contention, though detailing the scenarios for a USF title right now is something like offering up a combination of numbers that could win next week's lottery.
The first rule in any Bulls championship scenario is a big hurdle in itself: USF must finish its season with wins against Rutgers, Connecticut and West Virginia — possible, but not altogether likely. Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and West Virginia all have to lose two of their remaining three games, which is tricky, because Pittsburgh plays both Cincinnati and West Virginia.
And to be clear, USF wouldn't have the title to itself. Any scenario that puts the Bulls in the BCS wouldn't be pretty for the Big East — a huge logjam of at least four teams with 4-3 conference records stuck at the "top" of the league standings. The tiebreaker (and BCS berth) goes to the team with the best record within the schools tied for first place — or in some cases, the team with the highest BCS ranking within a smaller subgroup of teams tied for the best record within that group. If it seems dizzying, well, it is.
For more on all the things that have to happen for the Bulls to play for a Big East crown against West Virginia on Dec. 6, visit blogs.tampabay.com/usf.
Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report. Information from the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and the Philadelphia Daily News was used in this report.
BCS chaos scenarios
Should the Big 12 South end up in a tie between Texas Tech, Texas and Oklahoma, the team that is ranked higher in the next-to-last BCS standings Nov. 30 is the one that will move on to the conference title game the next week in Kansas City, Mo., probably against Missouri. If it's Texas, that would be a rematch from mid October. And if it's Oklahoma, that would be a rematch of last season's final. Either way, it could create some controversy. For either to happen, Oklahoma has to beat Tech at home Nov. 22. Sounds doable. Assuming there are no upsets before the last weekend, the BCS standings likely would read Alabama, Texas, Florida and Oklahoma, although OU might move up by beating Tech. So let's say Texas then loses to Missouri, while Florida beats Alabama. Again, not impossible. In that case, who plays Florida for a ring? Odds are it would be Oklahoma, even though it wouldn't have played in the Big 12 finale. That's how it unfolded in 2001, when Nebraska was beaten badly at Colorado in the regular-season finale to lose the division, yet went to the national title game anyway. And how about this? What if Alabama loses to Florida on a late field goal? Would the Crimson Tide still have as much right to go to the final game as a one-loss Big 12 club? Nobody wants a rematch (see Ohio State-Michigan 2006). Then again, that's mostly what the BCS is about. For better or worse, it keeps us talking.