Gators this year's UT?

Each preseason one team in college football is grossly overrated. Its strengths are exaggerated, its weaknesses underestimated. Its schedule is ignored. The Tennessee Vols were that team for 2005. Pegged as a top-five program in August, the Vols limped home 5-6.

So who is the MOP (Most Overrated Program) for 2006? My vote would go to Florida. Coach Urban Meyer has a quarterback (Chris Leak) whose skills do not fit the spread offense and whose meddling father is a potential distraction. Meyer has a team that fell by 28 points to Alabama and by 8 to a less talented South Carolina team last fall. Meyer has a receiving corps that will miss Chad Jackson, even though he was under-utilized in 2005. And Meyer has a fan base that would rather see Steve Spurrier at the helm.

In spite of all this, the Gators are being projected as a top-five team for 2006, much as Tennessee was for 2005. Frankly, I don't get it. Nor does Pete Fiutak, who writes the "Ask CFN" column for collegefootballnews.com. The lead item in today's mailbag is a question regarding which program has the best chance to flop in '06 the way UT did in '05. Fiutak pegs Florida.

The reader's question and Fiutak's answer are as follows:

Who's this year's Tennessee? You know, the highly ranked team that's going to fall flat on its face? – CQ

A: One team stands out as having all the makings of being this year's mega-flop … Florida. Expected by just about everyone to win the SEC, or at least the East, and being talked about as national title contenders, the Gators 1) don't have a running game, 2) have a shaky, shaky, offensive line, 3) have a powder keg waiting to blow if star freshman quarterback Tim Tebow is merely competent and if Chris Leak struggles at all, and 4) has a schedule that would make most teams forget about playing the season altogether.

Remember, Tennessee really wasn't that bad, and, of course, neither is Florida. Before the end of last year when the Volunteer snowball was unstoppable, Tennessee lost at Florida, to Georgia, at Alabama, in a nail-biter to South Carolina, and at Notre Dame. That's not anything to cry about. Florida could be one of the ten best teams in America and still finish with five losses having to play at Tennessee, at Auburn, at Florida State, at home against Alabama, LSU and South Carolina, and in the World's Largest Outdoor Gathering That Has Nothing To Do With Cocktails Or Alcohol In Any Form against Georgia.


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