Gators-Bearcats: Sugar Bowl 2010 a Big Easy Catharsis

Larry SnarkvilleAnalyst IJanuary 1, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 02:  The Utah Utes band performs before the Utes football team takes on the Alabama Crimson Tide before the start of the 75th Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Both teams have some cleansing to do.

The oddsmakers think Florida is 10 points better.

The pundits like our chances too.

Everything points to a Florida win in the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati.

And that's what makes me nervous.

As Gator fans have become all too familiar with this year, nothing is a given with the 2009 Florida Gators.

We've been teased and taunted about the team's play by our opponents and rival fans for much of the season.

Why should this game be any different?

This Cincinnati team has a chip on their shoulder. Playing in the still-not-respected Big East, they'll be playing to impress the country and the big, bad SEC.

They've recently lost their coach, Bryan Kelly, who unceremoniously bolted to the golden arms of South Bend.

And they're not a happy bunch.

On our side, we've dealt with turmoil the entire year, with things coming to an uneven head in the last month.

The resignation and about-face of coach Urban Meyer, the trouncing at the hands of Alabama in the SEC Championship game, and the myriad of off-field troubles have given the Gators the negative publicity our competitors are reveling in.

Nevertheless, there's one more thing left to do: play Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl.

Here are some story lines I'll be paying attention to from a Florida perspective:


1. Will the vaunted Gator defense respond after the SEC Championship debacle?

2. Tim Tebow's play in his last game as a collegian.

3. What will Carlos Dunlap's return mean to the defense after having been suspended for the SEC title game?

4. How will the defense play in Charlie Strong's (Gator defensive coordinator) last game? Strong is leaving right after the game to take over as head coach at Louisville.

5. How will the team perform in head coach Urban Meyer's "last game," before taking a leave of absence?

6. Will newly appointed interim head coach Steve Addazio have an expanded role during the game?


Yes both teams have some clean-up work to do.

I'm hoping that the Gators clean up just a bit better.