SIX BITS: Sugar Bowl and New Year edition

By Adam Silverstein
January 1, 2010

1 » Friday’s game has plenty of implications for both sides, but the 2010 Sugar Bowl will be especially sweet for a senior class that ranks as the most accomplished in Southeastern Conference history. Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow leads a group that will wear Orange and Blue for the last time (at least in college). “It’ll be fun. It’ll be exciting to go play for the last time as a Gator and have another opportunity to suit up and get that bad taste out of our mouth,” Tebow said. “Honestly, that would be really nice. [Winning this game] means a lot. Not just for being my last game, but for all of our seniors. I want to go out the right way and finish the season 13-1.”

2 » Though OGGOA has shied away from the story over the past week in lieu of other more pressing matters, one big, local non-game story was an argument between FOX and Bright House Networks, whose contract comes to an end Friday before the Sugar Bowl. The two entities have had trouble negotiating a new deal, leaving thousands of Gators fans in Central Florida to wonder whether or not they would have the opportunity to watch the big game. In fact, the companies were even sued by two Florida lawyers for a stay so locals could watch the Gators play. Though the suit played no part in the decision, FOX and Time Warner Cable (which owns Bright House) have agreed to a three-hour contract extension, allowing the game to air in that section of the state.

Four more BITS including spoiled fans and end of era questions after the jump!

3 » Florida fans have been the butt of jokes over the last few weeks, not only from rival fans looking to pile on the coaching issues the team is having, but also from the media and Cincinnati Bearcats fans for not selling out the Sugar Bowl. “Cincinnati has taken over New Orleans. I think you should know the UF pep rally took place in a phone booth earlier today – that’s how many fans they had,” Cincinnati pep rally emcee Dan Hoard said. “I understand the University of Florida has got about 3,000 they’re trying to get rid of. How about those Gator fans!” For a school that boasts the best fans in the country, the Gators’ appearance at the Sugar Bowl is, indeed, embarrassing. Call it a let down from not making the BCS National Championship game or simply sour grapes from how bad the loss was in the 2009 SEC Championship – either way, Florida’s lackluster showing is surprising, unacceptable and leaves fans open to the “spoiled” and “fair weather” tags that was once associated with the program. Though the Sugar Bowl is usually an SEC home game, Bearcats fans will be there in huge numbers while the Gators will not be well-represented.

4 » Pat Forde of ESPN believes the Sugar Bowl will mark the end of an era for Florida football. “Is Friday the last night of the Florida dynasty?” Forde ponders. “Nothing lasts forever – not talented coaching staffs, not superstar recruiting classes, not even a coach’s health. So this Sugar Bowl looms like sort of a Beatles farewell concert.” On poor attendance by Gators fans at the game, Forde continues to bash. “That’s a sign of a spoiled fan base, which probably decided last year that any bowl in which they don’t award a crystal football to the winner isn’t worth attending.”

5 » In his latest Big Board, ESPN NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. continues to rank three Florida players. Junior cornerback Joe Haden leads the group at No. 7, junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap falls in at No. 17 (falling one spot) and junior tight end Aaron Hernandez rounds out the group at No. 19 (down one spot as well). As many as seven Gators juniors may declare for the 2010 NFL Draft along with the numerous seniors graduating and moving on.

6 » Former Florida QB Cameron Newton, kicked off of the team after being arrested and charged with stealing another UF student’s laptop, has been playing (quiet well) at Blinn College in Sealy, TX, over the last year. Now that his transition season is complete, the nation’s top JUCO player has committed to play for the Auburn Tigers in 2010 season and beyond.

5 Comments

  1. matt says:

    not spoiled but the sugar bowl is not cost effective for many UF fans if there isnt a crystal ball attached. think of the population density of UF fans…if the Gators were in the Orange Bowl I am sure it would be 25% orange and 75% blue…

  2. I don’t think that is a legitimate excuse. Sugar Bowl is within driving distance. A lot of Gators fans would have flown to Pasadena.

  3. SC Gator says:

    I have been a Gator fan for near on 3 decades now, since well before the glory days of either the OBC or UM… and I’m having a hell of a hard time getting particularly excited about the game.

    It’s not a good thing…but it happens.

  4. matt says:

    I disagree…NOLA is a far trip, and the expenses begin to mount…the density of Gator fans in SFla plus not having to spend on hotel, eating out, car, etc would have easily sold the Orange Bowl out against any opponent…

    you also cant compare going to the National Title game vs a regular bowl game because I have made the justification that its a once in a long time opportunity, never know when we might be back…money becomes secondary whereas we should be in the Sugar Bowl discussion every year bc the SEC locks into it…

  5. Daniel M. says:

    Forde makes it sound like the game is a funeral.
    We’ll be the best rebuilding team in the nation.

    Even with the departures there will still be talent all over the place. On offense: Brantley, Moody, Demps, DT, C. Moore, Gillislee, Debose, Patchan, Nixon, Wilson. Well certainly miss Hernandez at TE and will need recievers to mature. But this group has the potential to be pretty good. If the Pounceys stay well have a very good unit.

    Defense: Janoris Jenkins, Wright, Will Hill, Dee Finley, John Bostic, Jelani Jenkins, Hicks Trattou, Marsh(?), Jaye Howard, Omar Hunter, Gary Brown. This is not a bunch of also-rans people. They’re all studs or have stud potential.

    Who in the east can stop us from returning to Atlanta? I think 10-2 is realistic. Don’t see us finishing worse than 9-3. When you’ve been kicking the stuffing out of football for years its easy for people to predict you falling off. Let em hate. Despite all the current drama I see the Gators having a fun and successful season in 2010. This team will still be talented.

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