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NCAA Football Insider - The Florida Gators

8-27-09

With less then two weeks before the 2009 College Football Season officially kicks off, there appears to be only one story that everyone is talking about.  That would be the Florida Gators.  Oh, sure, there is a lot going on in the Big-12 where the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns figure to duke it out for the right to take on the Gators in the BCS Championship Game, but all the talk, all of the predictions, all of the money actually, is going to the Florida Gators.

One only needs to look at the latest AP Poll to realize that 2009 is expected to bet the Year of the Gator.  Florida amassed 588 out of the 60 total votes for number one.  Texas received the other two votes, but the Gators, by and large, are considered a lock to win their third BCS Championship in the past four years.

There’s good reason to believe this, of course.  Florida is a 73 point favorite in most sportsbooks to win their first game against Charleston-Southern in roughly two weeks.   Since they play in the SEC East, they only have to face one SEC team, until the SEC Championship game that could possibly challenge them.  That would be the LSU Fighting Tigers on October 10th, and LSU isn’t nearly as loaded as Florida.

Or, are they?  LSU doesn’t return 11 starters on defense like the Gators do, but LSU has 24 returning seniors as opposed to Florida’s 19.  LSU also has Jarrett Lee returning at quarterback and there’s no doubt that Les Miles’s team will be as fast on defense as Florida will be on offense. 

LSU could challenge the Gators.  Another challenge, and this one could lead to a number of e-mails to the BetUS Locker Room editor, could be the Tennessee Volunteers whom the Gators play on September 19th.  Before everybody sends those e-mails asking if I’m crazy, let me just say that Tennessee returns 22 seniors, 24 juniors and will have, without a doubt, one of the most interesting defensive teams in college football this year.

The Kiffins, father Monte and son Lane, are now in charge in Tennessee.  Monte is one of the architects of the famed Cover 2 defense made popular by Tony Dungy in the NFL.  The Cover 2 is considered the premier defensive scheme used in the NFL.  Could it shut down Urban Meyer’s offense?  I doubt it, but the SEC has been ripe with huge upsets the past few years.

Save for Tennessee and LSU, the only other team that could potentially trip up the Gators on their march towards the BCS Championship game would have to be the team they face in the SEC Championship game.  The likely contenders, besides LSU again, would be Alabama and Mississippi.  Out of those two teams, Alabama would provide the stiffest challenge to the Gators.  ‘Bama has the experience and the coach while Ole Miss has a revamped offensive line that could lead to trouble for themselves.

With two weeks to go before the start of the 2009 College Football Season, the talk has all been about the Florida Gators and for good reason, but college football fans should be careful about betting too much on the Gators right now to win the BCS Championship.

LSU, Alabama and possibly Tennessee all might have something to say about the Gators even getting to the game.

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