Gators Pregame: LSU

Pregame Jaws
Florida is 22-5 since 1980 in the 7th game of the season. In 1988, Florida lost to Vanderbilt 24-9, the last time that’s happened. In 2002, Florida lost to LSU 36-7; in 2004 it lost to Mississippi State 38-31 in the game that cost Zook his job; in 2005 it lost to LSU 21-17; and in 2006 it lost for the only time to Auburn 27-17.

Urban Meyer Fanfare
Urban Meyer is 4-2 in the 7th game of the season as a head coach. At Bowling Green, he beat Akron 16-11 in 2001 and Ball State 38-20 in 2002. At Utah, he defeated UNLV 28-10 in 2003 and 63-28 in 2004. At Florida, he has yet to win the 7th game of the season, falling to LSU 21-17 in 2005 and to Auburn 27-17 in 2006. In both of those cases, it was the last game before a bye week; this year it’s the first game after the bye week. Urban Meyer is 22-2 as a head coach when he has more than one week to prepare for a game.

Orange and Blue
This game would be one of the few times where it is not just acceptable but recommended for Florida fans to wear orange to the game since they are in Big Blue country. I doubt it’d ever happen, but it would be pretty cool if a bunch of Gators invaded Lexington wearing orange to create a nice orange and blue effect in Commonwealth Stadium.

Men of Florida
We haven’t had to see the Men of Florida deal with back-to-back losses in a while, and the bulk of this team has not dealt with it yet in college. Urban Meyer promised the team would come out smokin’, but will that happen? The Wildcats’ 99th ranked pass defense should be accommodating, but the 27th ranked pass defense will have something to say about that.

Chimes/Alma Mater
Florida will be playing with a heavy hear following the deaths of Michael Guilford and Joe Haden’s girlfriend in the unfortunate motorcycle crash. I’m sure it will be good for the team to get out of Florida for a bit and get back to playing to help get their minds off of it. It will be an emotional game for the team, and it will be emotional for them the next time they play at the Swamp where there will undoubtedly be a tribute.

Boys March
For the first time in a while all of Florida’s receivers are healthy. That would generally indicate the chance to throw the ball down the field, but Kentucky will probably play zone to prevent those from working. That means a steady diet of Moore and Tebow rushing with Harvin and Ingram over the middle should work well. Then, if the Cats adjust to that, the longball should be wide open.

Gators Spell Out
G: GameDay

Today is the first time College GameDay has ever visited Lexington, and the fans are out in full force. Kentucky is not your standard nouveau riche football program like USF where the fans are just trying to imitate the big boys. Kentucky has the craziest basketball fans in the world, and they can just move over to the football stadium and be some of the craziest football fans in the world. Especially since UK could sell out the football stadium if they put some hardwood down and played the Wildcats’ SEC schedule there.

A: Andre Woodson
One of two Heisman trophy candidates in the game, Woodson must have a great game from the QB spot to win. He must be able to avoid pressure, should it get to him, and avoid costly interceptions and bad plays like what hurt his team in the last loss. If Woodson makes big plays and leads his team to victory, not only will his team move up in the polls, but he’ll become a permanent fixture in the Heisman race for the remainder of the season.

T: Tim Tebow
One of two Heisman trophy candidates in the game, Tebow must have a great game from the QB spot to win. He must be able to avoid pressure, should it get to him, and avoid costly interceptions and bad plays like what hurt his team in the last loss. If Tebow makes big plays and leads his team to victory, not only will his team move up in the polls, but he’ll become a permanent fixture in the Heisman race for the remainder of the season.

O: Offense
As in, you’ll see plenty of it. It’s the SEC’s best drop back passer against one of its most suspect defenses. It’s the SEC’s best running quarterback against a defense that has no idea how to stop a running quarterback. It should be a shootout for sure. First to 40 wins.

R: Rich Brooks
He looked like a dead coach walking to a lot of people just 14 games ago, but those people forgot about the sanctions Kentucky was dealing with at the time. After going 11-2 in the last 13 games, he looks like the new King of Lexington, at least until Billy Gillespie gets to playing games. Believe it or not, up at Autzen Stadium they call the playing surface Rich Brooks Field since he brought them from nothing to the Rose Bowl and built the foundation that Mike Bellotti has enjoyed during his tenure there.

S: Soreness
Kentucky has it, Florida doesn’t. While the Cats were getting beat up playing essentially 5 quarters against the brutal LSU Tigers, the Gators were chillin’ in Gainesville, sipping delicious cool drinks, and perhaps even cranking that soulja boy. LSU wore down at the end, probably as a result of getting beat up by LSU, just like Florida wore down at the end versus LSU after getting beat up by 7 consecutive quarters against Auburn and LSU. Now it’s Kentucky’s turn, and so hopefully Florida’s defensive line will be able to flush Woodson out of the pocket at least once today.

Suwannee
Derrick Locke can really run, being a track star and all, but he did everything you’d want a running back to do. He picked up tough yards, was a decent blocker, and overall didn’t look like a 4th string track guy trying to play running back. With Rafael Little still out, Kentucky will need Locke to flow through the UF defense like a river to free up Woodson and the passing game.

Tunnels
Kentucky had a great game last week, and is definitely tougher at home than on the road. However, the Wildcats are beat up, and they can’t stop a running quarterback like Tebow. Florida is hungry, looking to avoid a three game losing streak, and looking to stay alive in the SEC East race. Urban Meyer will have them ready, and Florida should win this game.

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