Friday, December 31, 2010

Florida - Penn State Outback Bowl Preview and Prediction

The Gators and Nittany Lions face off in the first of three SEC vs Big 10 New Years Day games.

When: Jan 1 1PM
Where: Just outside Ybor City, FL
Line: UF -7 (open -7)

Here are the three areas I look at it when making my bowl picks.

Who Has The Better Team?
The Gators have the better players, but have not played up to their capability for most of the season.  Despite its struggles, the offense has a very good 12.5 yards per point ratio.  The defense was not nearly as efficient as in years past especially in the redzone and despite allowing under 300 yards per game they gave up 21 points per game.

Florida's Sagarin rating was 27 aided by the 16th ranked strength of schedule.  Penn State was much worse coming in at number 50 with the 53rd ranked schedule.
Edge: Florida

Which Coach Will Have His Team Better Prepared?
Joe Paterno is one of the best in the business in getting his team prepared for bowl games with a 24-11-1 record.

But Urban Meyer is 6-1 in bowl games losing only to Michigan in Lloyd Carr's final game. 
Edge: Even

Which Team Will Be More Motivated?
This one is tough because the Florida situation is so unique - a great coach in his final game but does UF have the leadership to make sure they have prepared well enough with all the distractions?  They haven't all year.

On the other side Joe Paterno SAYS he is coming back, but honestly he is one bad illness from not and everyone knows the end is near. 
Edge: Even

Under normal circumstances, I would have Florida winning this game by two touchdowns but you just don't know how this Gator team is going to react to Urban's official retirement.  Also, Florida is missing three key defenders including top corner Janoris Jenkins. 

Still I think Meyer finds a way to win pulling out all the stops like he did against Georgia

Florida 27 Penn State 21
Confidence: 19

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