I'm writing this while listening to Houston win the C-USA championship over Southern Miss in the background. The SMQ is not going to be happy about this.
For the first time since 2000 (the freshman campaigns of Sexy Rexy and Superstar Jabar) the Gators are headed to Atlanta for a shot at the SEC Title, an award that has been relatively hard to come by when compared to the mid-90s. Steve Spurrier set the bar high for the following head coaches, winning a total of six over his time at Florida. After Ron Zook failed to reach the SEC title game in his tenure at Florida, head coach Urban Meyer will try to match Spurrier in bringing his team a title in his second year at the helm.
These things are what bring this season into perspective. While a shot at the national title would be VERY nice, we as Gators fans still need to look at the situation at hand. We have not been able to even play for the title in 6 six seasons, and have a very good shot at winning it tomorrow. Instead of having the national title game (and perhaps a snubbing) on our minds, why not focus just focus on this game?
If the Gators win tomorrow they will have had a 12-1 season, an SEC title and a berth in a BCS bowl. That, my friends, is what I would call a solid season, national title appearance or not.
Anyways, on to the game. Arkansas is coming off of a heartbreaking loss against the LSU Tigers (a game that perhaps catapulted the Tigers into a BCS bowl), and will be ready to avenge the loss against the Gators. This is without question. They have had some impressive wins this season, but what probably stands out most about their campaign was the thrashing they took at the hands of the USC Trojans in game 1. They've lost 2 games on the season, one coming in week 1 and one coming in the final week...something that has perhaps changed the whole outlook on the Hogs season despite all of their success.
The reasons for the Hogs' success has been the running of superstar RB Darren McFadden, an amazing talent that has brought upon Heisman talk with hard-nosed runs and a do-everything attitude. Even when McFadden isn't running down the opposing defense's throats Arkansas has several other dangerous options on offense, including RB Felix Jones and WR Marcus Monk. The Razorbacks, just like the Gators, have several dangerous options on the offensive side of the ball and will need to use those strengths in this game.
The keys to the game are simple in my opinion. The Gators defense must do something to stop the run, and the Gators offense must find a way to develop a run game. If they can do these two things the Gators will have a very good shot at winning this game. However, easier said than done.
Arkansas has had trouble stopping passing offenses this season (just ask John David Booty), so the goal of the Florida offense must be achieving some sort of balance. If they can gain any kind of positive rushing attack, the multitude of athletes at WR for the Gators could be very crucial to the Gators success. In this case I hope that DeShawn Wynn is fully healthy and ready to go tomorrow night...if not, c'mon Moore, Manson or Williams.
Anyways, I'm headed to Atlanta in the morning. Consider this an open thread if you're watching the game at home and want to leave any comments, frustrations, or questions...if you need to register a username, please check the right menu bar near the top.