College football season is well within reach!
With less than 100 days until kickoff, we here at Team Speed Kills are introducing a brand-new, quotidian countdown series to help you prepare for the first slate of college football action on August 26th.
In this series, we will post a daily SEC-related fact and/or story that corresponds to the number of the day in the countdown. Hopefully, you’ll find this series enlightening and entertaining. If you do, click that ‘share’ button we all know and love. If you do not, quit lying to yourself.
95: Danny Wuerffel’s Efficient Season
After watching many Florida Gators football games over the past few seasons, it’s easy to forget that—at one time—they were a school that was actually home to good quarterbacks. Throughout the school’s history, there have been plenty of greats, including three Heisman Trophy winners: Steve Spurrier, Tim Tebow, and the great Danny Wuerffel.
In 1995, the year before Wuerffel took home the Heisman and led Florida to a national title, Wuerffel—then a junior quarterback—truly made his mark on the college football landscape. While most people think about his 1996 season as his best (and rightfully so, for the 3652 passing yards and 39 touchdowns he racked up were nothing short of outstanding), it was his ‘95 season that was his most efficient.
All season long, the Florida Gators completely dominated opponents, going 12-0 before suffering a crushing loss at the hands of the ultimate 1990’s team, Nebraska (sorry if this offends). In that 12-game win streak, the Gators won every game by double digits, winning each matchup by an average of roughly 28 points.
Now whom was at the helm of this impregnable ship? None other than Danny Wuerffel.
Throughout the year, it was Wuerffel’s efficient passing game that led the Gators to their 12-1 record and an SEC title. Throwing for 3,266 yards with a 64.6 completion percentage, Wuerffel was a model of excellence for the rest of the Southeastern Conference. Not only that, but his 35 touchdowns and 10 interceptions told the tale of a quarterback who found no difficulty in being nearly flawless.
Still, it is Wuerffel’s efficiency rating that is most exceptional. The 178.4 efficiency rating that Wuerffel posted in 1995 was the highest number for an SEC quarterback since the league started using that metric in 1967. It was a record that would stand for 14 more years until Ryan Mallett came along and posted a 278.8 efficiency rating in 2009.
In a season full of performances that many other college quarterbacks would give anything to experience, it was the game against the Tennessee Volunteers that proved that Wuerffel was a legitimate college football great. Throwing for six touchdowns against a top-10 opponent was historic stuff in a conference that helped write the sport’s history. The game is far too great to be memorialized with simple words. It merits its own viewing:
By the time the end of the season rolled around, Wuerffel’s consistently extraordinary performances were recognized by the college football landscape. Before everything was said and done, Florida’s standout quarterback was named to both the All-SEC and All-America teams; he would go on to win the Davey O’Brien and SEC Player of the Year honors.
While 1996 was the year where it all came together for Spurrier, Wuerffel, and the Gators, 1995 must be recognized as the year where Wuerffel first made an impact in the SEC and around the country. It was everyone’s first impression of the man who would be Florida’s first Heisman winner in three decades, and it couldn’t have been better.
95 days till kickoff...