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Yet another football party going on in Gainesville

Florida will hold a special one-hour celebration for its newly crowned BCS title team Sunday.

The event is set for 1 p.m. at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville. Gates open at 11:30 a.m., and it will be broadcast live on Sun Sports. This is Florida's second BCS title in the past three seasons — and its third football national championship in school history.

"I want to make sure that our players, this team, goes down as one of the great teams in Florida football history," coach Urban Meyer said Friday. "It's one of the greatest groups of young people I've ever been around, and I'm starting to get a little bit of experience behind me now, 20-something years."

On Thursday, police estimate, 28,000 students poured onto the streets near campus. Gainesville Police Capt. Paul Osey said there were minor problems with people who climbed poles and scuffled with officers, but no serious injuries. There were five arrests by city police, and university police arrested five students, mostly for drinking violations.

The team arrived Friday afternoon as airport fire trucks shot plumes of water over the jet on the runway. But only about 15 fans were on hand as the school kept the arrival time from the public.

CONSENSUS NO. 1: Despite talk that Utah's undefeated season, capped by a 31-17 win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, might lead to a split title, the Gators finished No. 1 in the USA Today coaches and the Associated Press media polls, although it wasn't unanimous. Florida (13-1) received 48 first-place votes in the media poll (1,606 points), while Utah (13-0) received 16 (1,519 points). In the coaches' poll, the Gators received all but one No. 1 vote; Utah coach Kyle Whittingham gave his team that spot. By agreement, coaches are supposed to vote for the team that wins the BCS title game. "We played a team ranked No. 1 in the country for five weeks and decisively won the game," Whittingham said. "I did what I thought was right."

RAINEY UPDATE: Freshman RB Chris Rainey's leg injury in the second quarter looked much worse than it actually was and he is expected to be fine. Rainey was tackled after an 11-yard reception, and his right leg twisted underneath his body. "It was a high ankle sprain," he said. "Everybody thought it was my knee."

FOND FAREWELL: Senior WR Louis Murphy couldn't have written a better ending to his college career. Murphy had two receptions for 44 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown that gave the Gators a 7-0 lead over Oklahoma. When the Gators won the 2006 national title, the St. Petersburg native was a sophomore role player. This season, he was a major contributor, finishing with 38 receptions for 655 yards and seven TDs, though he left his last game with cramps.

"It's much sweeter to really be a part of it," he said. "I did contribute a little bit on special teams (in 2006), but to really be a go-to guy, it just means the world. I know my mom is loving it right now."

Murphy's mother, Filomena, died last year of cancer. He took 19 credit hours last summer, then completed a fall internship to graduate in December.

"I made a promise to my mom that I wouldn't leave school until I get my degree," said Murphy, who majored in recreation event management. "She died in February, and in March I came in (to academic advisers) and said, 'I've got to graduate before I leave here.' My determination went to a new level. That's the determination my mom gave me."

NEW LOOK: If you're a Gators fan who likes the way Oklahoma runs its no-huddle offense, take note: so does Meyer. He said he may implement a similar style next season. "I've been really intrigued by the no-huddle," said Meyer, who said UF experimented with it in spring practice last year after he sent former offensive coordinator Dan Mullen to Missouri to study it.

Information from Times wires contributed to this report.

Yet another football party going on in Gainesville 01/09/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 9, 2009 11:51pm]
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