BCS: 2010 SUGAR BOWL – (New Orleans, LA) – No. 5 Florida Gators vs. No. 3 Cincinnati Bearcats

By Adam Silverstein
January 1, 2010

Location: Louisiana Superdome – New Orleans, LA [Capacity: 72,968]
Time: 8:30 p.m. (EST)
Weather Forecast: N/A

TV: FOX / FOXHD
Sirius: 120; XM: 140

No. 5 Florida Gators No. 3 Cincinnati Bearcats
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Interim Head Coach: Jeff Quinn
Record: 12-1 Record: 12-0
Division: SEC East Division: Big East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -13, O/U 57
Head-to-Head Stats: Gainesville Sun

KEEP AN EYE ON…
– Florida’s 2009 senior class…the winningest group in Southeastern Conference history with a 47-7 overall record. The seniors will be playing in their third BCS game and fourth January bowl in four years.
– Seniors quarterback Tim Tebow and linebacker Brandon Spikes…two of the best players in school history who do not wish for their last memories in the Orange and Blue to be back-to-back losses.
– Junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap…who is returning from suspension for a DUI and, according to coaches, is raring to make up for his mistake to his teammates, coaches and Gator Nation. It is undecided if Dunlap will start.
– Junior cornerback Joe Haden and wide receiver Mardy Gilyard…who will face-off in what could potentially be the match-up of the game between one of the best CBs and one of the best WRs in the nation. Haden has already been a menace to Alabama Crimson Tide WR Julio Jones and Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green this season.
– Head coach Urban Meyer…who is 3-0 in BCS bowls and a combined 5-1 in his career in bowl games. Meyer and his wife Shelley both attended the University of Cincinnati. As a player for the Bearcats, Meyer faced the Gators in the teams’ only previous meeting, a 48-17 Florida victory on Oct. 20, 1984.
– Experienced players…the Gators feature 19 starters and 44 players who saw action in the 2009 BCS National Championship.

STREAKS:
– The Gators are appearing in a bowl game for the 19th straight season, the second-longest active streak in the nation. Friday’s game is Florida’s sixth appearance in a BCS bowl game and eighth appearance in the Sugar Bowl.
– Though the Gators are 5-1 against teams from the state of Ohio (1-1 in bowl games), they are only 7-3-2 all-time against the Big East.
– Florida has allowed 15 touchdowns this season, tied for fewest in the nation; the 11.5 points per game it allows ranks No. 3 in the country.
– The Gators are the only team in the country that has posted over 2,800 rushing and passing yards and are only one of four teams in the nation to score at least 25 rushing and passing touchdowns.
– Florida’s defense has recorded interceptions in 11 of 13 games and 23 of 25 games.
– The Gators have not lost back-to-back games since Sept. 29 and Oct. 6, 2007.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators vs. Cincinnati Bearcats preview after the jump!

2010 SUGAR BOWL Preview
No. 5 Florida Gators vs. No. 3 Cincinnati Bearcats

Though the 2010 Sugar Bowl will feature two of the top teams in the nation in the No. 5 Florida Gators (12-1) and No. 3 Cincinnati Bearcats (12-0), the stories leading up to the big game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, LA, have been less about the game itself and more about the head coaches who will and won’t be on the sidelines.

First, Cincinnati lost head coach Brian Kelly to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish; replacing him on Friday is interim coach Jeff Quinn, who was named the new Buffalo Bulls head coach just days after being tabbed as the Bearcats’ temporary coach for the bowl game. Florida fans thought they might have an upper hand here, but defensive coordinator Charlie Strong was hired away by the Louisville Cardinals almost simultaneous with Kelly’s departure. Then an unexpected blow came for the Gators when head coach Urban Meyer resigned last Saturday, only to change his mind a day later. Meyer, who is a Cincinnati alum and former player, is 56-10 at Florida and said the Gators are “full speed ahead. We’re going to do everything possible to win this game.”

While uncertainty may surround those calling the shots on the sidelines, things on the field are pretty cut and dry for each team. Florida senior quarterback Tim Tebow hopes to close out one of the single greatest careers in college football history with a bang. Fellow seniors linebacker Brandon Spikes, LB Ryan Stamper, wide receiver Riley Cooper, LB Dustin Doe, WR David Nelson, cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis and a host of others are also playing their last collegiate game in Orange and Blue. With so many talented players on staff, the Gators could also lose a bevy of juniors to the 2010 NFL Draft including CB Joe Haden, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, center Maurkice Pouncey, guard Mike Pouncey and safeties Major Wright and Ahmad Black.

The Bearcats come into the game on the shoulders of two seniors of their own – QB Tony Pike and WR Mardy Gilyard. One of the best and most productive quarterback-receiver duos in the country, Pike and Gilyard present the best aerial attack the esteemed Florida defense has seen all season. The head-to-head match-up between Gilyard and Haden should prove to be the most interesting and dynamic of the game. Defensively, the Gators simply outmatch Cincinnati. Florida’s defense has only allowed 150 points in 13 games (mostly against Southeastern Conference offenses) while Cincinnati has let up 249 points in their 12 contests.

The Gators come into the game with the stronger pedigree, but they have a heavy heart after missing out on a 2010 BCS National Championship appearance while simultaneously ending a school-record 22-game winning streak by falling to the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2009 SEC Championship. Florida is also dealing with some injuries. Senior kick returner Brandon James (foot) and redshirt junior LB A.J. Jones (knee) were ruled out weeks ago and redshirt junior DT Terron Sanders (hip) is a surprising inactive after Strong said the entire team (aside from Jones) was healthy and ready to go just last week.

OGGOA will be with you before, during (via twitter) and after the game with full coverage of the 2010 Sugar Bowl. A post-game story will be up shortly after the game.

2 Comments

  1. Gio Showtime says:

    The Sun-sentinel is reporting that Chris Dunkley no longer has Florida as a favorite. We’re even with Alabama, Georgia, and he’s paying a visit to Tennessee soon.

  2. This is true. But he is supposed to be announcing tomorrow.

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