Florida Gators Football

Sugar Bowl 2013: Louisville's Charlie Strong vs. Old Team Makes Riveting Matchup

Louisville head coach Charlie Strong
Louisville head coach Charlie StrongAndy Lyons/Getty Images
Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterDecember 3, 2012

The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was created to get the top two teams in the country together for a national championship game. With No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama facing off in the BCS National Championship, it certainly accomplished its goal.

But save for the Fiesta Bowl matchup between Oregon and Kansas State, the rest of the BCS matchups leave a lot to be desired.

At least, on paper.

The Sugar Bowl between Florida and Louisville, the Rose Bowl between Wisconsin and Stanford and the Orange Bowl between Florida State and Northern Illinois aren't exactly marquee matchups. For evidence, look no further than the fact that two of those three feature double-digit spreads, according to Pregame.com's R.J. Bell.

1st Vegas numbers from Wynn: Stanford -6 ov Wisconsin, Florida St -13.5 ov N. Ill, Florida -14.5 ov Louis, Oregon -8 ov K St

RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) December 3, 2012

But one of those double-digit spreads is a bit deceiving, because the Sugar Bowl between the Gators and the Cardinals is still loaded with intrigue.

With four wins over teams that finished in the top 12 in the final BCS Standings, Florida has the best resume of any one-loss team in the country. But noticeably missing from that resume is a functional offense.

The Gators finished the regular season ranked 104th in the country in total offense, averaging just 338 yards per game. The reason for the offensive ineptitude is an incredibly one-dimensional attack that features running back Mike Gillislee but a woeful passing game that averages just 143.9 yards per game through the air.

While that may not seem attractive on the surface, facing off against a Cardinals defense that ranks 25th in the country in total defense, having given up just 344.8 yards per game, does present an interesting matchup of strength on strength.

Plus, this game will have some variation of a storyline featuring Louisville head coach Charlie Strong.

If he bolts to take another job, whether he or an interim head coach is at the bowl game, watching the Cardinals respond will be intriguing. Will this be like Florida's beat-down of Cincinnati after Brian Kelly left the Bearcats?

But, if he stays, it's a chance to show his former employer how good he really is.

Strong made a name for himself as the Gators defensive coordinator from 2002-09, as the defensive coordinator for both Ron Zook and Urban Meyer. During that time, the Gators won two BCS National Championships, three SEC East Championships and finished in the top 10 nationally in total defense in three of his final four years in Gainesville.

Critics will scoff at the 2012 bowl matchups because, let's be honest, they aren't overly intriguing. I'm probably in the minority, but I am excited to see Florida vs. Louisville. 

 

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