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Greatest Seasons of Gator Football: 1984

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
The 1984 season, Charley Pell's 6th, could have been the Gators' first claimed national championship, as nominated by the New York Times and the Sporting News. The Gators finished #2 in the AP poll after going 9-1-1 (5-0-1 SEC).

DateOpponentRankSiteResultAttendance
September 1vs. No. 10 Miami (FL)*No. 17Tampa Stadium, Tampa, FLL 20–3272,813
September 8LSUFlorida Field, Gainesville, FLT 21–2170,197
September 15Tulane*Florida Field. Gainesville, FLW 63–2165,265
September 29Mississippi StateFlorida Field, Gainesville, FLW 27–1268,186
October 6Syracuse*Florida Field, Gainesville, FLW 16–070,189
October 13at TennesseeNo. 18Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TNW 43–3094,016
October 20Cincinnati*No. 17Florida Field, Gainesville, FLW 48–1773,690
November 3No. 11 AuburnNo. 13Florida Field, Gainesville, FLW 24–374,397
November 10vs. No. 8 GeorgiaNo. 10Gator Bowl Stadium, Jacksonville, FLW 27–082,349
November 17at KentuckyNo. 5Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KYW 25–1752,823
December 1at No. 12 Florida State*No. 3Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FLW 27–1758,930

The loss to defending national champion Miami was the only one of the season. In 1984, the #10 Miami Hurricanes faced the #17 Florida Gators and came away with a win in what was the second game of their season. The week before, Miami knocked off #1 Auburn. The Canes went on to lose to #14 Michigan, #15 FSU, unranked Maryland, #10 Boston College (the Hail Flutie game), and in the Fiesta Bowl against #13 UCLA. To the Gators' credit, redshirt freshman Kerwin Bell was making his first start after senior Dale Dorminey was injured in practice four days before the game. Bell led the Gators to a 20-19 lead with under a minute remaining, but Miami senior QB Bernie Kosar drove the Canes down the length of the field and put the Canes ahead with 6 seconds on the clock. The Gators failed to move the ball and Bell threw a pick-6 as the clock expired.

The one tie to LSU did not hurt the Gators, since the Tigers finished at #15/16 after going 8-3-1 (4-1-1) behind 1st-year coach Bill Arnsparger and future Gator offensive coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher. LSU benefited from the Florida postseason ban and faced #5 Nebraska in the Sugar Bowl where they lost 10-28 and ended up ranked #11.

The 1984 season was marred with controversy as the 13-0 BYU Cougars were named national champions despite having a weak WAC schedule. The BYU Cougars only had one ranked win, a 20-14 victory over #3 Pitt. Runner-up Washington Huskies finished 12-1, with a 7-16 loss to #14 USC and ranked wins over #3 Michigan and #2 Oklahoma. One of the QBs for the Huskies, Hugh Millen, is the father of 2024 Gator QB, Clay Millen. By comparison, the Gators beat #11 Auburn, #8 Georgia, and #12 FSU. Based on strength of schedule, quality of wins, and quality of loss, the Gators had a legitimate claim to the national title to go along with the SEC title that was stripped from them. The 1984 SEC trophy is still at the University of Florida.

The 1984 Gator roster was stocked with several stars:
- RB Neal Anderson
- RB Lorenzo Hampton
- FB John L. Williams
- QB Kerwin Bell
- The Great Wall of Florida
- WR Rickey Nattiel
- S Vernell Brown
- LB Alonzo Johnson
- LB Ron Moten
- CB Jarvis Williams
- K Bobby Raymond
 
Last edited:

DRU2012

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
The NCAA played favorites
No doubt about it--They all hated US, Charlie Pell, and everything "Gator"--and back then did everything but give us the death penalty when given the slightest pretext to come after us.
One more note, along with the trophy still in our case: A few years later, when the NCAA again denied us a clear and legitimate claim to what would have STILL been our first OFFICIAL SEC Championship once SPURRIER finally arrived as our Coach, SS went ahead and had exquisite "SEC Championship" rings made for everyone on the team anyway, at his own expense.
There was a LOT of lingering bitterness, resentment and bad blood that clearly went back at LEAST that far, probably a lot further, and SS, in his own way, was addressing all that not just for the sake of just THAT year's team but for fans, players, and yes even COACHES who'd endured so much for so long.
Our subsequent success forced much of this to fade into the background of history for most modern fans and followers--but a lot of us DO REMEMBER...And enough of an undercurrent remains as to cause a tense tightening in the Gator gut when things begin to mount against us once more. Like lately?
 

DRU2012

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
The 1984 season, Charley Pell's 6th, could have been the Gators' first claimed national championship, as nominated by the New York Times and the Sporting News. The Gators finished #2 in the AP poll after going 9-1-1 (5-0-1 SEC).

DateOpponentRankSiteResultAttendance
September 1vs. No. 10 Miami (FL)*No. 17Tampa Stadium, Tampa, FLL 20–3272,813
September 8LSUFlorida Field, Gainesville, FLT 21–2170,197
September 15Tulane*Florida Field. Gainesville, FLW 63–2165,265
September 29Mississippi StateFlorida Field, Gainesville, FLW 27–1268,186
October 6Syracuse*Florida Field, Gainesville, FLW 16–070,189
October 13at TennesseeNo. 18Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TNW 43–3094,016
October 20Cincinnati*No. 17Florida Field, Gainesville, FLW 48–1773,690
November 3No. 11 AuburnNo. 13Florida Field, Gainesville, FLW 24–374,397
November 10vs. No. 8 GeorgiaNo. 10Gator Bowl Stadium, Jacksonville, FLW 27–082,349
November 17at KentuckyNo. 5Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KYW 25–1752,823
December 1at No. 12 Florida State*No. 3Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FLW 27–1758,930

The loss to defending national champion Miami was the only one of the season. In 1984, the #10 Miami Hurricanes faced the #17 Florida Gators and came away with a win in what was the second game of their season. The week before, Miami knocked off #1 Auburn. The Canes went on to lose to #14 Michigan, #15 FSU, unranked Maryland, #10 Boston College (the Hail Flutie game), and in the Fiesta Bowl against #13 UCLA. To the Gators' credit, redshirt freshman Kerwin Bell was making his first start after senior Dale Dorminey was injured in practice four days before the game. Bell led the Gators to a 20-19 lead with under a minute remaining, but Miami senior QB Bernie Kosar drove the Canes down the length of the field and put the Canes ahead with 6 seconds on the clock. The Gators failed to move the ball and Bell threw a pick-6 as the clock expired.

The one tie to LSU did not hurt the Gators, since the Tigers finished at #15/16 after going 8-3-1 (4-1-1) behind 1st-year coach Bill Arnsparger and future Gator offensive coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher. LSU benefited from the Florida postseason ban and faced #5 Nebraska in the Sugar Bowl where they lost 10-28 and ended up ranked #11.

The 1984 season was marred with controversy as the 13-0 BYU Cougars were named national champions despite having a weak WAC schedule. The BYU Cougars only had one ranked win, a 20-14 victory over #3 Pitt. Runner-up Washington Huskies finished 12-1, with a 7-16 loss to #14 USC and ranked wins over #3 Michigan and #2 Oklahoma. One of the QBs for the Huskies, Hugh Millen, is the father of 2024 Gator QB, Clay Millen. By comparison, the Gators beat #11 Auburn, #8 Georgia, and #12 FSU. Based on strength of schedule, quality of wins, and quality of loss, the Gators had a legitimate claim to the national title to go along with the SEC title that was stripped from them. The 1984 SEC trophy is still at the University of Florida.

The 1984 Gator roster was stocked with several stars:
- RB Neal Anderson
- RB Lorenzo Hampton
- FB John L. Williams
- QB Kerwin Bell
- The Great Wall of Florida
- WR Rickey Nattiel
- S Vernell Brown
- LB Alonzo Johnson
- LB Ron Moten
- CB Jarvis Williams
- K Bobby Raymond
What a great team. I had already graduated and moved to the west coast but I believe we finally had hit #1 on at least the USA TODAY sports section rankings that season, and I had that page cut out and nicely hung on the wall for WEEKS so that fellow grad students at film school had to at least see it and TRY to ignore it (I was in contact with a lot of both USC and UCLA film people, along with other California school grad students, at the time, and they really believed the sun rose and set on the then-"PAC 10" brand of college football. The SEC was in the process of disabusing them of that notion in those years.
 

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