Friday, January 1, 2010

Florida-Cincinnati Prediction: Sugar Bowl Preview

Are there enough story lines for you in this game? Let's see if I can run down the big ones.

Florida loses the SEC Championship Game thus losing out on back to back BCS Championships. Their consolation is the Sugar Bowl.

Cincinnati finished third in the BCS despite going undefeated. Their head coach Brian Kelly leaves the Queen City for the Notre Dame job.

Well, Alabama was in the same position last year as Florida and got pounded by Utah in this game. The Gators know that coming in to not take the Bearcats lightly.

Florida Defensive Coordinator Charlie Strong will leave to take over the Louisville head job after the bowl game. Strong is one of the best in the business, but this has to be a distraction for one of the best defenses in the nation.

Then a wrench the size of the New Orleans Superdome is thrown in about the same time everyone is wrapping up Christmas - Urban Meyer quits because of health concerns.

One of the top coaches in the nation will leave one of the top jobs in the country.

Then the next day he reconsiders and decides to take a leave of absence after the bowl game.

And, oh yeah, one of the best college football players ever will be playing in his last game.

I could break down all the matchups for this one: Florida's defensive backs against Cincinnati's receivers, the Gator's pass rush against Bearcat QB Tony Pike, the Gator speed on offense against a struggling UC defense.

But the only one that really matters is what is going through the Florida's players and coaches heads during their game preparation, especially this past week.

I know Cincy is going to come to play wanting to the show the nation they can play with the big boys. But if Florida comes focused and motivated, I am not sure they aren't the second best team in the country this year.

Problem is that Florida has only "shown up" twice this year against LSU and Georgia, both convincing wins.

The only advantage I see for Florida in this game is talent and that is many times the difference maker, but is it enough with everything else going on?

I know Tim Tebow will be motivated to go out a winner. He bleeds orange and blue, but can he get his team ready and motivated to win this game with all that is swirling around the Gator program right now?

My heart tells me Tebow can will his team to victory, but my head tells me he is just one guy on a team and coaching staff full of turmoil.

Cincinnati 34 Florida 28

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