Comparing Meyer's and Spurrier's legacies


Published: Monday, January 5, 2009 at 12:42 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 5, 2009 at 12:42 p.m.

I have a friend who jumped my case recently about my penchant for ranking everything. Best this, best that. Top 10 these of all times, top 100 fill-in-the-blanks.

Facts

Three keys to win

Florida
1. Much has been made about OU's potent passing game, but the Sooners are equally efficient on the ground. The Gators will have to shut down the run, force the Sooners into some obvious passing situations, then try to put some pressure on Heisman-winning quarterback Sam Bradford.

2. Quarterback Tim Tebow needs to spread the ball around to his playmakers (including himself, of course) and the Gators must sustain drives, which would keep the OU offense on the sideline. Given how many points the Sooners have scored, the Gators need to cash in every scoring opportunity.

3. The Gators need to make big plays in all three phases offense, defense and special teams. UF appears to have a considerable edge in special teams, and the Gators will have to take advantage of it by making things happen in the return game and by blocking a kick or two.

Oklahoma
1. The key to OU's offensive success has been the Sooners' great balance between the pass and the run. If OU can establish the run early, the opportunity will be there for quarterback Sam Bradford to have a huge game.

2. The OU defense has given up lots of passing yards and points, but the Sooners are fast and athletic and capable of making big plays. OU needs to force some turnovers and put some pressure on UF quarterback Tim Tebow.

3. The Sooners will be without their best special teams weapon, return star DeMarco Murray. Someone needs to step up in the return game, and the Sooners have to try and put a fence around UF returner Brandon James, who seems due after being a non-factor in the final few games of the regular season.

Robbie Andreu

I've done it with everything from Beatles songs to chicken wings. Just the way I am. I like things to be in order.

My order.

I mention this because I can see it coming. If Florida wins the national championship game Thursday night, the question will be asked.

Heck, it is being asked already.

Who has the better Florida legacy Urban Meyer or Steve Spurrier?

You never thought that question would be asked, did you? But nobody expected what has happened in the first four years under Urban Meyer.

Just for the fun of it, let's do a comparison based on a Florida win over Oklahoma.

Meyer would have two national titles to Spurrier's one. Both would have played in two national title games.

Spurrier won six SEC Championships in 12 years for 50 percent. Meyer would have two in four years. Spurrier had eight Eastern Division championships to two for Meyer.

Spurrier's winning percentage was .817, 122-27-1. Meyer would be at .830 with a win.

Of course, Spurrier did it first. He changed the culture of Florida football. Meyer came into a better situation where the groundwork was already there. Florida football was about something when Meyer came in.

So we put all this together and what do we get? Has Meyer passed Spurrier?

The answer?

My friend was right.

In this case.

Florida fans don't need to worry about who is better.

Just enjoy the fact that you've had them both. Spurrier-Meyer, Meyer-Spurrier. Doesn't matter. What matters is 165-36-1. That's what the two coaches combined have accomplished during their tenures. That's what fun Gator fans have had during the 16 years of the two coaches.

Think about that for a second.

Let's forget the Ron Zook years and think about what life has been like in the Gator Nation since 1990 under the two best coaches in the school's history.

Only 36 times have fans of Florida been depressed over a loss. Make that 37 because the one tie against FSU sure felt like a loss. Wow. There are schools that are depressed 37 times in half-a-decade.

It has been an amazing run for the Gators and the best news of all is that it is far from over. Despite the members of the media that keep trying to push Meyer to Notre Dame, he knows that this is a better gig. He knows he is building something special here that isn't going away. Spurrier knew that, too, in the early 1990s and that's one reason he stuck around for 12 years rather than going to one of the many NFL jobs that were dangled in front of him.

Meyer isn't going to do this forever. I would be surprised if he lasts as many years on this job as Spurrier did. He's one of those coaches who is so focused and so determined and has so much tunnel vision that eventually it's going to make him want to come up for air.

But that's not something to worry about right now.

Instead, just enjoy what is happening. And know that this title game isn't the end of a run.

Even with the possibilities of NFL defections, Florida is going to be one of those teams that looks sexy to the preseason magazines in 2009. And 2010. Etc.

Meyer is building a program, not a one-year wonder. He might have made it to Glendale with Zook's players, but he made it to Miami with his own. That's the same thing that happened with Spurrier, who won with Galen Hall's recruits early and then with his own during that magical run through the SEC from 1993-1996.

They are very different, the two coaches. They are almost polar opposites.

But they have something in common.

They have made life great for the Gator Nation.

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