1 » Discussing Southeastern Conference basketball in his latest column, ESPN’s Andy Katz paints the picture that the Florida Gators have a legitimate chance to overcome their recent woes. Calling the Gators the most surprising team in the SEC thus far, Katz says: “Even though Florida has struggled in its past three games (losing to South Alabama at home is rather inexcusable), the Gators are still a surprise overall in the conference. Beating Florida State wasn’t a total shock since the game was at home, but it’s still a quality win. And taking out then-No. 2 Michigan State in New Jersey was a stunner at the time. The Gators have proven that they can knock off big-time teams, and they’ll need to do that going forward in the SEC if they are to avoid a third straight NIT appearance.” Even so, Katz projects Florida as one of “at least five squads [from the SEC] in the Big Dance.”
2 » Though he is still trying to decide between the Gators, Texas Longhorns and Ohio State Buckeyes, four-star linebacker recruit Jordan Hicks (West Chester, OH), has decided to announce his college choice sometime in January instead of on National Signing Day, according to Bill Kurelic of ESPN. Hicks is believed to be favoring Texas at this point, but Kurelic predicts “Florida as the eventual winner in this tug of war. The Gators got the last official visit and Urban Meyer is assembling what some feel will be his best recruiting class ever. If in fact he can land Hicks, he will have the No. 2 prospect in the ESPNU 150 and the country’s top linebacker.”
Extra Bit » While reading a column by CBSSports.com’s national columnist Mike Freeman about the recent issues surrounding USC Trojans running back Joe McKnight, OGGOA came across this shot at the Gators that we found particularly disturbing and ridiculously exaggerated. Qualifying the magnitude of USC’s recent off-field issues, Freeman says, “The Trojans aren’t the Florida Gators, who are soaked in DUIs and gun toters, but it’s getting pretty bad out there in Trojanland.” Thoughts?