First Thoughts: Florida Gators vs. Cincinnati Bearcats, Sugar Bowl


So it’s not exactly where we as


fans want the Gators to be, but it sure as hell beats the Outback Bowl (which I’ve been to way too many of in recent years).  If you can’t play for the national championship, you might as well head to a BCS bowl with a chance to knock off one of the few remaining undefeateds in



The biggest story leading up to this game will of course be that this will be the last time we get to see Tim Tebow play college football.  There are only somewhere around 60 more plays in which #15 will be on the field.  Like him or not, he is one of the greatest to play the game.  People tend to get upset at Tebow himself for how the media portrays him.  He’s a Heisman Trophy finalist again and somehow that’s his fault.  I’ll never understand that, but then again I had an extreme dislike for J.J. Reddick when he was at Duke for no good reason either.  No one is completely sure what Tebow will do at the next level or even what position he’ll play, but take in this final game for what is it.  One more chance to see one of the greatest in the history of college football and one Gator fans will surely miss.

You’re also going to hear a lot about Urban Meyer being a Cincinnati alum, but that really doesn’t affect much.  He has a great amount of respect for the school and for the program Brian Kelly has been able to build in a very short time.  You’ll hear that a lot and it’s a very good thing.  These two coaches seem to have a good deal of admiration for one another and are both happy to be in this game (even if deep down inside they’d both rather be playing in that other game a few days later).

Unless something is finalized before then, and even if it is, you’re also going to hear about two other schools not involved in this contest: Notre Dame and Louisville.  If Charlie Strong ends up being named the Cardinals’ next head coach, he could still run the Florida defense in the Sugar Bowl.  After all, Dan Mullen did is last season.  Of course that was the national title game.  Louisville may want Strong to come in immediately if he does in fact end up being their choice.  And on the other side, you have Kelly and the Fighting Irish.  Meyer to Notre Dame is a dead issue for the time being.  That’s not to say he might not end up there sometime down the road, but right now, he’s staying put.  So that puts Kelly as the one that could be on the move.

This game is really a defining moment for both teams.  For the Bearcats, they can prove their worth.  Unfortunately for Cincinnati, they were in a situation this season where they really couldn’t win.  Too much had to happen for them to get a realistic shot at the national title.  They weren’t in a position Alabama, Texas, or Florida was where they just had to win out and were almost guaranteed a shot.  For the Gators, it’s erasing memories of the SEC Championship Game.  Florida has had a very successful season and can put an exclamation point on it by ending it all with a win.  We already tend to forget exactly how good Alabama was last season due to what they followed up their SECCG loss with.  The Gators don’t want the same to happen to them.