Game 13: Florida Gators (7-5, 4-4) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-5, 4-4)
Kickoff: 1pm ET
Weather: 74 degrees and clear.
Series History: 3rd meeting, Florida leads the series 2-0 (1962 Gator Bowl, 1997 Citrus Bowl).
Line, O/U: Florida -7, 48 O/U
Count me as one of those who believes Urban Meyer leaves behind an incomplete project at Florida. He will be included as one of Florida's greatest coaches, but aside from Steve Spurrier, Florida has not had many great coaches. (You could make the case for Doug Dickey and Ray Graves, but neither won a conference championship.)
Obviously, if I think Meyer is leaving behind unfinished work, I also think that this should not be a victory lap. There are far more significant and more important things to worry about than if Meyer goes out a winner. Heading into 2011, we have no idea who the quarterback is, who will be our defensive backs and if the growth of our young players was permanently stunted by Meyer's lame duck season.
Which brings us to today's game. If Florida shows the same lack of focus and inconsistent play calling that they have demonstrated all season, we should all be extremely disappointed. As I mentioned in yesterday's game preview, we need to see guys competing for jobs in 2011 and others fighting for their survival. As for the coaching staff, they might be as good as checked out, especially if Will Muschamp is cleaning house. That means it falls exclusively on the players to win the game.
For those who will no longer be with us after today, raise a glass for Ahmad Black and Mike Pouncey. Black has been absolutely fantastic this year, attacking like a linebacker and supporting a front seven that was never going to be able to hold up for 12 games. Plus, I have a soft spot for him since he has become my little sister's second favorite Gator.
Pouncey got a lot of criticism, all of it deserved. But like John Brantley or Chas Henry kicking, Pouncey was put into a position that he was not going to be successful in. Before you freak out and yell at your computer monitor, remember that Mike did whatever was asked of him as a Gator; defensive line, tight end, guard and center. He didn't have to return to Florida, but he did. Like the Vancouver Canucks' Sedin twins, the best thing that could happen to Pouncey would be to join the Steelers in 2011.
If there is something to give Meyer credit for, it is that he brought guys like Black, the Pounceys, Tebow and Harvin to Florida. All of those players have proven themselves to be men who would die for their team, playing with broken legs, hands and performing roles they never thought they would have. As Meyer's time ends, his years will be a short verse in the 105-year history of the Gators. But those players will be a legacy that continues past his time.
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