FOUR BITS: Defense is Strong; Gator Growl; Bet

1 » No. 1 Florida Gators and No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide are on top of the college football mountain – both literally and figuratively. While a meeting between the leaders of the East and West in the SEC Championship game seems inevitable, it is not the teams’ high-powered offenses that will take them there. Instead, it is defense that separates Florida and Alabama from the pretenders. Dave Curtis of the Sporting News may have put it best to Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated: “You know how in the NCAA tournament you have those years where the Final Four has two No. 1 seeds on one side and a four and a six on the other?” he said. “Well, if the Dec. 5 SEC Championship were a national semifinal, Florida and Alabama would be those dueling No. 1 seeds.”

2 » The Gators top-ranked defense has only given up 6.4 points per game, five less than their average last season. In fact, Florida’s defense is so dominant that its players may finally earn defensive coordinator Charlie Strong the head coaching gig he so richly deserves (and has for years). After I posted this, I came across a new article by the New York Times stating that a previously snubbed Strong is making a major case for himself. “It’s time for college football to make a statement,” writer Lenn Robbins says.

3 » With the LSU Tigers in the books as a 13-3 win, the Gators look ahead to the Arkansas Razorbacks next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in The Swamp. But before kickoff can commence, Florida’s annual Gator Growl homecoming event will be taking place Friday night. Featuring comedian Dana Carvey, band O.A.R. and dance group the JabbaWockeeZ, the largest student-run pep rally looks to be as entertaining as always. And if that wasn’t enough, former Gators star quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel will be hosting the festivities instead of Albert and Alberta. 2009′s show theme is “Legends of the Swamp,” and the students plan to honor one of the best senior classes ever to run out onto Florida Field.

4 » It was not just the Gators that won on Saturday night as Florida Congressman Adam Putnam won a friendly bet with Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana’s First Congressional District. Putnam, a UF graduate, won a case of root beer produced by the Abita Brewing Company of Louisiana from Scalise, who would have received some of Florida’s Natural Orange Juice should LSU have been victorious.

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