CBS announced it's College Football schedule this week, and Florida Gator fans should be very pleased.
The Gators could have as many as six games nationally televised. There is a very good chance that we could see the Tennessee, LSU, Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, and FSU games.
CBS is under the impression that they can't lose airing the Florida Gators stating, "never has it been a more marketable team than Florida, which has captured two of the past three national titles. Nor has he seen a more celebrated player than Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow."
CBS went on to say, "that they haven't seen anything like it in the Southeastern Conference and this is a conference that had the likes of Peyton and Eli Manning."
Now I think it's great to have my Gators in the spotlight as much as possible. But, I wanted to break down the significance of each game and what it means to a national picture at that time.
No game in the SEC is predictable, as we may have already surmised. So if the Gators can navigate this schedule and come out on the other side of FSU undefeated, there is a chance that they can repeat as SEC champions and be talked about in BCS Championship discussions.
There is a interesting plot and subplot to each of these games, which should do nothing but boost ratings for CBS and show the West Coast some good ole hard hitting football. And, show that nation why the SEC has come out on top in the last three national championship games.
I am one of those that believe that the SEC has strength from top to bottom.
That even the Kentucky's and Vanderbilt's of SEC could beat some of the top ranked teams in the rest of the NCAA, on any given Saturday. Or just ask anyone in the nation about Ole Miss. They will be forever known in 2008 for their big win in Gainesville.
So, with that being said lets take a look at some great matchups for the Gators in 2009.
September 19th Tennessee Volunteers Come to "The Swamp"
This will undoubtedly be the most anticipated game of the early 2009 season.
There has been so much talk coming from Knoxville by Coach Kiffin and of course, it's been well documented. But, the fact that Kiffin and staff has his fans fired up makes this a "gotta be sitting in the stands next to the 'this is Gator Country wall' or in front of your flat screen with strict rules not to disturb" game.
You have to admit Kiffin has beat Meyer at his own game. He came into the SEC and has taken some prime recruits. He has compiled a star-studded staff and left whatever humility he had in Oakland.
So, make no mistake Meyer will be ready for this one. He will have so much planned for this game but will never admit it. He will downplay this the first two weeks of the season and then say that the importance of the Tennessee Game is to start the SEC playoff on a positive note.
But, we in Gatornation know that this it. This is the 2009 version of the Georgia game.
I suspect the sky will be orange and blue in Gainesville on this day. I suspect all the Kiffin pinups in the Heavener Complex will make the heart rate in the game off the charts. I suspect the Spikes will give off many Knowshon Moreno hits and Major Wright will make sure the sidelines is covered.
I say Tennessee will be lucky to leave "The Swamp" with all their players healthy.
This promises to be very physical. Position for position, the Gators are better no matter what defensive look Monte brings. And, in all phases of the game I give the Gators the nod.
With two games before this one to shore up their offensive plays, prepare their special teams, and get their two deep defense lots of action and confidence. That all leads to a lopsided score versus Tennessee: Florida 56 and Tennessee 7.
October 10th Florida Travels into Death Valley and Faces the Bayou Tigers
The last time the Gators and Tebow were there, they lost a comfortable lead and Coach Miles embarrassed the whole program and went for five 4th down plays and converted all of them.
So the team and Meyer should remember that sick feeling leaving Baton Rouge and have revenge on their minds.
I think this our toughest matchupof the season. LSU has recruited like their jobs were on the line and like it's win or go home in March Madness. With their quarterback position being solidified in the latter part of 2008 and then adding the top class of 2009 recruiting, by ESPN standards this will be a tough one.
And, of course LSU will have revenge on their minds too, as we took it to them last year in the Swamp. At that time LSU was predicted to win by most. Lots of talk was swirling around about the strength of the Tiger defensive line. It was thought that the Gators could not handle them. Well, that was proven wrong.
This year though, the Gators offensive line and the Tigers defensive line are not returning those same players.
I think the Gators have an edge in defense, experience on offense, and special teams.
That of course could change by the time this game is played, but I say this will be close in the first half, just from the raw talent that the Tigers have picked up, but our defense will dominate and will not be phased after being on the national stage in January.
Florida 35 and LSU 14.
October 17th Florida Gets Arkansas in the Swamp.
Having Bobby Petrino as their head coach makes them legitimate for an upset. Just ask LSU and Les Miles.
You can point to this game, last year, as the turning point for the Gators. I think it is when the Gators, their fans, and the SEC discovered that Rainey and Demps were pretty good.
It has been said that Petrino is about two years from SEC relevance. It was also obvious that Arkansas made great strides as the season progressed.
And now that they think they have a gunslinger at quarterback and some weapons around him this should be an interesting game. I expect some new wrinkles and some signs of the Louisville offense, but I still think we will see some growing pains.
I would hate for this to be a pitfall game for the Gators, an Ole Miss. game of '09 if you will.
If all other motivation fails, I would encourage Meyer to remind his players that Petrino picked Alabama to win the SEC Championship game on ESPN First Take. I really don't want the Gators to overlook this game. I am thinking that they won't.
Florida 33 and Arkansas 14.
Oct 31st Florida vs. Georgia
There is not much that needs to be said with this game.
I would assume as in past years that this game could be for control in the SEC East Division. Even without Stafford and Moreno, I consider this to be a formidable matchup.
Richt will have this team ready. I predict, though, that it will not be Cox leading the team into the Cocktail Party but Logan Gray.
I was much more impressed with him during the G-Day game. And, with AJ Green and Marlon Brown together forming good receiving tandem, this could be closer than people think. All in all though I think that the Gators will be better on defense and special teams and more experience at the quarterback position.
Last year's revenge factor is gone for Florida, as it has been replaced by Tennessee. This will just be a good ole border war filled with long time hate for each other.
I'm not sure what to think of the Bulldogs, though. I do think that they get to fly under the radar this year and may surprise some people. They are very talented, just young at some key positions.
Florida 28 and Georgia 14.
Nov 14th Florida Travels to Columbia, SC to Face the Gamecocks
This is the Florida Coaches Bowl old and new No. 5. Spurrier won the first one and came close in the second matchup. But since then, Florida and Meyer have gotten the best of the "old ball coach" and his team.
Being an avid Gator fan, I am thankful to Spurrier and I always want him to do well, except when his team plays Florida. But, last year I was embarrassed for Coach Spurrier and the team that he fielded against Florida.
They completely self-destructed.
And, if that was not enough, they looked uninterested in their bowl game against Iowa. They did not uphold the image of the SEC at all.
I pray this year that Coach Spurrier can find the quarterback for him.
That he can get some athletes around his quarterback to make a difference. The review from the Garnett and Black Game is that Stephen Garcia looked much more comfortable in the offense and much more in control. Traditionally, their defenses are solid.
Even with all the improvements the Gamecocks seemed to have made, I don't think they will be able to take the Gators.
I suspect there will be a better showing by the Gamecocks at home. The x-factor in this game as well as others is that I look for our defense to be just as stingy as they were last year. And, they gave up less than 13 points per game last year.
I don't see their specials teams being better than the Gators and, again, the advantage goes to the Gators on offense and at quarterback. I look for the Gators to pull away early. I don't think this one is close at all.
Florida 35 and South Carolina 10.
Nov. 28th Florida vs. Florida State
I look for this to be the last Florida vs. Florida State game of the Bowden era. That in itself makes this a must see. There have been some heated games in this rivalry.
But, there has been to much controversy in this FSUprogram. The sentiment amongst those on the outside looking in is that Coach Bowden is to out of touch with the program, the players, and the game.
And, I for one don't think that his name is no longer holding much weight in the living rooms, during recruiting.
Now on the other side, Tebow's last game as a Gator at "The Swamp."
You can be sure that that element alone will get much hype and much attention from Gator fans. There will be every version of Superman on this day.
But, with all that being said. This game will give CBS it's money's worth. I think this is one of the classics of College Football. I may be bias, but it's right up there with Auburn vs. Alabama and Michigan vs. Ohio State.
And, just from a rivalry standpoint, you never know what's going to happen.
On paper, right now, the Gators look unbeatable in this one.
But, this is the end of the regular for both. You don't know what injuries will have taken place by then. You don't know how much confidence and ability Ponder will have in his pocket by this game. Ponder has good row talent and good speed.
They have to be a dark horse to win the Atlantic Coast Conference this year.
If the Seminoles realize any success at all, they could come into "The Swamp" with some confidence and upset the Gators. I think this is another watch out game for the Gators.
If the Gators come in undefeated, at this point, or with one loss you this could be just as important to the national discussion game as it was last year. In the end, I think the Gators have too much for them at home.
Florida 33 and Florida State 14.
Of course my predictions may be adjusted as the season progresses. But, I do believe that the Gators have an excellent chance to go undefeated. If they can just fight off the air of complacency.