JACKSONVILLE, Fla. In a year in which the term winning gained new fame thanks to actor Charlie Sheens colorful rumblings, the Gators fit right in by reeling off four consecutive wins to open head coach Will Muschamps first season.
They were cruising along and hanging with No. 2-ranked Alabama late in the first half when fifth-year senior quarterback John Brantley suffered a serious ankle injury that cost him two games and any momentum the Gators had gained from their fast start.
Florida struggled down the stretch to win only two of its final eight regular-season games. A few hundred miles north in Columbus, Ohio, there was little momentum to be had, leaving only a tradition-rich program engulfed in an off-the-field controversy that cost popular coach Jim Tressel his job.
Florida and Ohio State, two programs that have known only winning for most of the past three decades the Gators defeated the Buckeyes in the BCS national championship game five years ago face off Monday aftern...