The 2007 Peach Bowl was the championship game for the 2006 college football season. The game pitted the #1 Florida Gators against the #2 Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The game is regarded as one of the best games in the decade, besides the 2004 Liberty Bowl and the 2009 Rose Bowl, due to its climatic finish. In the final 40 seconds, Rutgers would successfully fake a punt and then kick a game winning field goal.
1 - Florida Gators
2 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights
3 - Red Oak Colonels
4 - Texas A&M Aggies
5 - New Hampshire Wildcats
6 - Oklahoma Sooners
7 - South Carolina Gamecocks
8 - Colorado Buffaloes
1 Florida Gators defeat 8 Colorado Buffaloes
2 Rutgers Scarlet Knights defeat 7 South Carolina Gamecocks
6 Oklahoma Sooners defeat 3 Red Oak Colonels
4 Texas A&M defeat 5 New Hampshire Wildcats
1 Florida Gators defeat 4 Texas A&M Aggies
2 Rutgers Scarlet Knights defeat 6 Oklahoma Sooners
2 Rutgers Scarlet Knights defeat 1 Florida Gators
The Gators returned from a 10-2 season and a Poinsettia Bowl victory. Lead by veteran quarterback Chris Leak, the Gators entered at #9, but many pundits had them as serious contenders for the national championship. Freshmen Percy Harvin was the team's leading wide receiver, along with Andre Caldwell and Dallas Baker, with DeShawn Wynn leading a strong ground attack. The Gators entered the season in stride, going undefeated in both non-conference and conference play. The Gators blasted away rival Georgia in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, and defeated #12 Florida State in an intense away game. With #1 UCLA falling to USC, the Gators would move to the #1 seed. The Gators defeated Ole Miss in the SEC conference championship to secure their top spot in the playoffs.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Rutgers opened the season at #13, with 16 of 22 starters returning, most notably senior quarterback Kirk Stewart, who had led the Knights' explosive offense since midway through freshmen year. By now, the senior quarterback had perfected the offensive scheme known as the Air Raid. Under Coach Mike Leach, in 2005 the Scarlet Knights led the FBS in yards and points scored, and blasted away their competition until losing the Big East title to Temple. The Knights would finish the year with a Bayou Bowl victory in Houston over the Rhode Island Rams.
The Rutgers offense, now known as "Air Rutgers" due to their explosive offense, returned in full form in the 2006 season at #11 in the nation. Air Rutgers could not be stopped, as they rolled over every opponent in their path. Steward had a record breaking season, setting the record for single season passing yards (5927), single season passing touchdowns (62), career passing touchdowns (163), and career passing yards (20,011). Steward has a wide selection of talented receivers to throw to, such as Dwayne Bowe and Robert Meachem.
Rutgers defeated rival Syracuse in the Maple Bowl, then later gained revenge against Temple in the Big East conference championship. As Florida moved up in the rankings, Rutgers followed, landing at #2 when the playoffs began. Stewart threw for over 350 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Knights blasted past South Carolina, who's only loss in the regular season came from Florida. Rutgers then met Heartlands Conference champion Oklahoma in the semifinal. In a fierce back and forth battle, Rutgers defeated the Sooners 38-31, with Stewart throwing a touchdown on the Knights' gaming winning drive. Air Rutgers was headed to Atlanta.