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

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

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OGGOA Presents: Florida Gators All-Decade Team

The 2000s were quite a decade for University of Florida athletics. Florida Gators football and basketball were especially exceptional, combining for four National Championships (five appearances) and five Southeastern Conference Championships (six appearances) while earning five BCS bowl game and eight NCAA Tournament berths, respectively, over the last ten years. To end this decade of champions, OGGOA has compiled our own Gators All-Decade Team for each sport.

Continue Reading » OGGOA Presents: Florida Gators All-Decade Team

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FOUR BITS: Tickets, injuries, Gators honored

1 » The University of Florida is considered one of the best football traveling schools in the country. However, you would never know that if you looked at the ticket sales for the upcoming 2010 Sugar Bowl against the No. 4 Cincinnati Bearcats. Out of the No. 5 Florida Gators’ 17,500 allotted tickets, the team still has almost 5,000 remaining. In fact, the University Athletic Association usually only allows boosters and students to order tickets, but they opened it up to alumni and regular fans via Ticketmaster almost two weeks ago. Should fans wish to attend, they can choose to sit in the Gators section.

2 » Getting ready for a trip to Sunrise, FL, for the 2009 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, the No. 13/13 Florida basketball team (8-1) is dealing with a rash of injuries. Junior forward Chandler Parsons (torn leg muscle), sophomore F/C Kenny Kadji (back spasms) and freshman F Erik Murphy (shoulder) are all missing practice while sophomore guard Ray Shipman (foot) just recently returned to action. “We’re about at a point where we’re playing 3-on-3 in practice,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “You’ve got 10 guys and you’re down to six right now, so that makes it challenging, especially with exams going on.”

3 » The Gators football team keeps racking up honors as six players were named to the Sporting News All-SEC Team on Thursday. On offense, senior quarterback Tim Tebow, junior tight end Aaron Hernandez and junior center Maurkice Pouncey all received the nominations; senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, junior cornerback Joe Haden and junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap represented the defense. Haden was also named the 2009 Defensive MVP by the publication.

4 » Speaking of honors, soccer’s Erika Tymrak was named to the 2009 Soccer America All-Freshman team as a second team selection. She has already been listed on the NSCAA All-South Region second team and SEC All-Freshman team.

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SIX BITS: Juniors in NFL, Henderson’s visit, Loeffler, Azzanni, Bell, Kiper’s Big Board

1 » According to Florida Gators strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti, the team’s liaison with the NFL, 8-10 juniors have submitted their paperwork for evaluation by the league’s Draft Advisory Board. One can assume those names include cornerback Joe Haden, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, tight end Aaron Hernandez, center Maurkice Pouncey and guard Mike Pouncey. Others who may have submitted their information include safeties Ahmad Black and Major Wright, defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh and offensive linemen Carl Johnson and Marcus Gilbert.

2 » Five-star offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson (St. Paul, MN), considered by many recruiting services to be the No. 1 overall recruit in the country, will be taking his official visit Gainesville, FL, this weekend. Henderson is also seriously considering the USC Trojans, Ohio State Buckeyes and Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

3 » Florida quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler, who has only been on the job one year in Gainesville, is considered a top candidate for the Central Michigan Chippewas and Buffalo Bulls head coaching jobs vacated by Butch Jones and Turner Gill, respectively. Some believe a year with next season’s starting quarterback John Brantley could earn Loeffler a much better gig just 12 months from now.

4 » Another name being thrown around the CMU job is brand new Gators wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni, who joined the program one week ago after the departure of Billy Gonzales to the LSU Tigers. Suffice to say that Florida head coach Urban Meyer would be none to pleased to be forced to replace a second WR coach in a matter of days.

5 » Former Gators QB and current Jacksonville Dolphins head coach Kerwin Bell met with Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong on Wednesday about the Cardinals’ vacant offensive coordinator position. Though working with Strong could be considered a promotion of sorts, Bell may prefer being his own boss at Jacksonville. “Kerwin really likes running his own program and calling the shots,” his athletic director Alan Verlander told The Florida Times-Union. “Unless they throw a lot of money at him, I’m about 95 percent certain that he will be at JU next year.”

6 » ESPN analyst Mel Kiper’s latest NFL Draft Big Board has been published and little has changed for Florida’s players. Dunlap crept up one spot from his season-low of No. 17 to No. 16, with Kiper saying his “physical tools are off the charts” and that he “has unlimited upside.” Also on the list are Haden, a “polished cover corner with tackling ability to match,” who held strong at No. 7, and Hernandez, who also popped up a spot to No. 18.. Kiper says Hernandez has “great hands and excellent run-after-catch skills for a TE.” Noticeably absent from the board for a third-straight week is senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, who last appeared at No. 25 on Nov. 18.

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Gators named Sporting News, AP All-Americans

The Sporting News and Associated Press released their respective All-America teams on Tuesday, and each features a number of Florida Gators among the ranks.

Four Florida players were named Sporting News first-team All-Americans, the most student-athletes on the first team of any school in the country. Juniors tight end Aaron Hernandez and center Maurkice Pouncey represented the offense while the defense had senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes and junior cornerback Joe Haden on the list. Senior quarterback Tim Tebow was the sole Florida player on the second team; none were placed on the third team.

The AP named six total Gators to its three teams, with Hernandez and Haden the sole UF players representing on the first team. Tebow, Spikes, Maurkice and junior guard Mike Pouncey were all selected for the second team.

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TWO BITS: Walter Camp, volleyball in NCAAs

1 » Three Florida Gators were named to the 2009 Walter Camp Football Foundation All-America team, the nation’s oldest such honor. Senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, junior cornerback Joe Haden and junior center Maurkice Pouncey were all awarded first-team honors while senior quarterback Tim Tebow was given a second-team distinction. For Haden and Pouncey, it was the first time they were given this honor; however, Spikes was also named to the first team in 2008 while Tebow was named to the second team last year and first team in 2007.

2 » No. 14/15 Florida volleyball team (25-5) will face the undefeated No. 1/1 Penn State Nittany Lions in the regional semifinals of the 2009 NCAA Tournament on Friday night. Opening serve at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center is set for 6 p.m. The match will not air live on television.

Extra Bit » On Wednesday, OGGOA reported that the Tennessee Volunteers were the subject of a “wide-ranging investigation” by the NCAA for some of its recruiting practices including the usage of “hostesses” in order to lure high school players. Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated has his own photographic proof that improper contact did indeed take place in one way or another.

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Pouncey, Hernandez win; Tebow, Spikes, Haden and Henry shut out of College Footbal Awards

Two Florida Gators juniors came home from The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards in Orlando, FL, Thursday evening with awards; unfortunately, four other players were not as lucky. Center Maurkice Pouncey was awarded the 2009 Rimington Trophy (best collegiate center) and tight end Aaron Hernandez was honored with the 2009 John Mackey Award (best collegiate tight end). Each was the first Gators player in history to take home his respective award.

Senior quarterback Tim Tebow, who was up for the 2009 Davey O’Brien Award (best collegiate quarterback) and 2009 Maxwell Award (best all-around player), was defeated for both by Texas Longhorns QB Colt McCoy. Tebow took home the O’Brien Award in 2007 and is a two-time winner of the Maxwell Award (2007, 2008). Senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes lost the 2009 Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player) to Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh; junior cornerback Joe Haden was defeated by Tennessee Volunteers safety Eric Berry for the 2009 Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back); and Georgia Bulldogs punter Drew Butler won the 2009 Ray Guy Award (best collegiate punter) over junior Chas Henry. 2009 Heisman Trophy ceremony is on Saturday at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

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Nine Gators named to All-SEC coaches’ team

Nine Florida Gators football players were named to the 2009 All-SEC team as voted by the league’s head coaches. Senior quarterback Tim Tebow was Florida’s only unanimous selection. Joining him on the first-team offense are juniors tight end Aaron Hernandez, offensive guard Mike Pouncey and center Maurkice Pouncey. For the defense, senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes and juniors cornerback Joe Haden and Carlos Dunlap received first-team honors. Seniors DE Jermaine Cunningham and LB Ryan Stamper earned spots on the second team. The Gators tied the Alabama Crimson Tide who also had a league-high nine All-SEC selections.

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