11 Days of Bowling:  The Sugar Bowl

Fri, Jan 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm ET

College Football

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Tim Tebow says goodbye to the college football world in tonight's Sugar BowlStill just in our 6th day of Frumpzilla’s 11 Days of Bowling feature, we now come to what is probably the biggest game of the day, if not the entire bowl season.  Not necessarily the biggest because of the game itself, mind you, but rather because it may mark the first time any of us have witnessed another, at least part, human being ascend into Heaven (dome stadiums be damned).

Yes, having bid farewell to another legend earlier this day (FSU coach Bobby Bowden), come 8:30 PM ET the world of college football must also say goodbye to yet another of the game’s most notable and prolific, albeit polarizing, icons (as prophesied by the Fox Network).  Indeed, after tonight’s Sugar Bowl test against Cincinnati, Tim Tebow’s work in this world, this college football world, shall be done, and, love him or hate him, even the most staunch of persecutors must admit that said work has treated us to one of the greatest careers in college football history.

For a moment it looked like we may also be bidding adieu to Tebow’s spiritual Father and mentor, Coach Urban Meyer (hereinafer referred to only by the acronym “CUM,” the acronym system being commonly employed in coaching discussions and such, of course), but for now it seems CUM is probably sticking to his beloved Gators through thick and thin.

Frump it here for a deeper look into this marquee game, including the best bet(s) to pad your, play money, wallet…

Sugar Bowl, Florida vs. Cincinnati.  Current Line: Florida -12.5, O/U 58

Tim Tebow loves the press, and the press loves Tim TebowDon’t let the photo to your immediate left fool you.  Regardless of one’s judgment of Tim Tebow, he’s not on trial here.  After all, if it weren’t for Tebow, tonight’s game might have been entirely overshadowed by all the recent shakeups going on with the two teams at play here.

I’ll start with CUM (a Cincinnati alumnus) and the Gators.  As if losing to Alabama in the SEC Championship wasn’t enough, Florida has also lost several prized assistants as of late.  Vaunted Recruiting and Defensive Coordinator, Charlie Strong (CCS), finally got the right head coaching gig he was looking for when Louisville came calling, WR coach Billy Gonzalez (CBG) and Vance Bedford (CVB) have left for LSU, and, when you tack on CUM’s messy media explosion as of late, one could almost mistake Florida for a program in complete disarray. 

I mean, ever since he left Bowling Green for Utah, after telling the players he was sticking with the program, I’ve never trusted CUM; always thought his hands might be a bit dirty if someone ever inspected them closely enough.  Announcing he was pulling out on Tebow and the Gators before such a big game, only to slip back in the back door, virtually immediately thereafter, was even surprising for CUM, though. To be fair, it appears to be quite a sticky situation right now, however, and CUM’s reasons to take a leave of absence seem legit, so I guess it would be wise to withold judgment until all the facts on CUM’s situation come out (timing could have been better, though).

The Bearcats have experiecned some turmoil as of late, too.  Brian Kelly (CBK), the architecht of Cincinnati’s perfect season thus far, has bolted to South Bend, abandoning his team and a shot at completing a flawless year prior to the biggest game in school history.  Now Jeff Quinn (CJQ) takes over as interim coach for the bowl game, but with the knowledge that the school has already hired Central Michigan’s Butch Jones (CBJ)to take over the direction of the program starting next season.  Needless to say, I imagine there’s quite the feeling of disorientation within the Bearcats’ lockerroom.Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard has caught 80 balls for 1,150 yards receiving and 11 TD's this year

Despite true, top tier talents like WR Mardy Gilyard and QB Tony Pike on Cincy’s side, the whirlwind of change surrounding the program right now can’t be good for the Bearcats’ prospects tonight, especially considering how overmatched they are (and they’re really overmatched).  Cincinnati hasn’t faced an opponent even remotely as talented, across the board, as Florida is this year, and the Bearcats have been struggling as of late to beat teams that aren’t nearly as talented as even their own. 

Now, I don’t at all expect this to be another Georgia-Hawaii type Sugar Bowl result, but I fully expect the Gators to chomp down on Cincy hard and handily tonight.  Any thoughts of another Utah-Alabama anomaly should be cast aside, as, despite being under very analogous circumstances as the Crimson Tide were last year, Florida has a leader like Tebow at the helm; something completely foreign to Alabama teams, if not nearly all teams, of recent memory. 

This 4th ranked Gators defense may have 15 1st day NFL draft picks making up its two-deep, and I imagine they could all be playing on quite an emotional high tonight. Pike, Gilyard and the Bearcats’ top ranked passing offense will most likely bend them at points, but I don’t expect to see many breaks this evening. 

By the (betting) numbers, Florida is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games at neutral sites, and on a 20-6 ATS run against teams with winning records.  The Gators have also gone 25-12 ATS overall the last three years, including 5-1 ATS when getting at least 2 weeks rest, and have handled non-conference opponents at a 9-2 ATS clip.  While Cincy displays an impressive 7-1 ATS trend as an underdog over the past three years, as well as going 5-1 ATS with 2 weeks rest, I think the trends, talent and coaching are overwhelmingly in Florida’s favor. 

The Gators also have one of the greatest of all-time on their side in Tebow, of course, not to metion possibly the best coach in the business in CUM, and that’s quite a load. That said, as much as I’d love to see this one blow up in CUM and Tebow’s faces, the Bearcats are probably gonna take one on the chin tonight.  Florida wins by 13+ and send Tebow out on very high note.

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One Response to “11 Days of Bowling:  The Sugar Bowl”

  1. Cochese Says:

    great picture on the front page!!

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