Gators Heading Back to New Orleans

The Gator Football team will return to New Orleans for their bowl match up in the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati. The Bearcats will bring a super offense and a horrible defense to the Big East for a battle with the Gators on New Year's Night.

Florida had to settle for the Sugar Bowl invite after being overpowered by Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. There were many that hoped the loser of the SEC game would get another shot, but that hope disappeared with the Texas Longhorns' 13-12 win over Nebraska.

Cincinnati should get the Gators attention because they come into the Sugar Bowl with a 12-0 record. The Bearcats are an outstanding offensive team that just scored 45 in a come from behind win over Pittsburgh that wrapped up the Big East Championship. They have scored 24 or more points in every game and they gain 463 yards a game.

The big question surrounding the team is not this game. Instead it's the status of Head Coach Brian Kelly who many believe will be the next coach at Notre Dame.

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Cincy is lead by QB Tony Pike who has incredible numbers (2,350 26/6), despite missing three games with an injury. He was hurt earlier this season and at that point Zach Collaros stepped in and played extremely well. He's had a fine season (1,434, 10/2) as a main reserve guy and he may be a factor in New Orleans.

The ‘Cats have a superb receiver in Mardy Gillyard (80 - 1,150, 11 TD) and a terrific second receiver in Armon Binns (56 – 859, 10 TD).

They run the ball reasonably well with 144 yards a game with the main guy being Isaiah Pead (758, 6.6, 9 TD).

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The big problem with Cincinnati is the defense which frankly is not very good. Cincy has allowed 21 points a game but the key numbers are 45 against Connecticut, 36 against Illinois and 44 in the Pittsburgh game. Good teams have run all over them and it'll be interesting to see if they can do anything to change the way teams have overwhelmed its defense.

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The Gators have a pretty long history in New Orleans keyed by the Gators 52-20 win over Florida State to win the National Championship at the end of the 1996 season. However Florida's last trip to the Big Easy was not exactly a fun one. Florida dropped a 37-20 decision to Miami after the 2000 season and has not been in New Orleans since.

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We'll have a lot more on this matchup and college football's postseason in the days and weeks ahead, but for now one thing is clear. Florida will be facing a terrific offense and terrible defense when its tries to recover from the loss to Alabama and end the season on a high note.


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