Thursday, December 31, 2009
Behind The Scoreboard
In the midst of the “Bowls Run” this season, a bombshell was dropped on Saturday which had ripples not only in the SEC but throughout the entire NCAA. One of the conference’s most recognizable coaches announced that he was stepping away from the game.
Head coach Urban Meyer made it public that he was dropping the reins of the Florida Gators at the end of the season. Coach Meyer has one last task before riding out of the swamp. He will lead the Gators in the Sugar Bowl against the Cincinnati Bearcats on New Year’s Day in the Super Dome at New Orleans. The defending and former national champions are 12-1, facing an opponent which is 12-0.
Florida’s single loss this season came from the Crimson Tide in the SEC championship game on December 5. Coach Meyer was hospitalized immediately following that game. Meyer has also cited health concerns as the reason for his leaving the Gators and football at the present time. The coach has one of those rare and enviable resumes. He has never had a losing season since becoming a head coach almost a decade ago. His post season record is 5-1. His Gators are placed as 11-point favorites over the Bearcats by the odds makers.
Given his youth and love for the game, there are many who hope that the football world has not seen the last of Urban Meyer. As one active coach put it – “Perhaps, like in the days of (Bear) Bryant, every coach would long for the chance to play against a Meyer-led team.”
(Update: Coach Meyer changed his mind Sunday and said he was taking an indefinite leave of absence instead of resigning.)
The departure of coach Meyer notwithstanding, there are still many coaches in the SEC who are carrying on. It seems as if we are tooting the same horn for a few seasons but the proof is in the pudding, or rather bowl participation. Of the 30-something bowls spread out between now and January 7, the SEC has entries in 10 of them. And, of course, just like last season, one is in the top game. And would you believe that in at least seven of those, the SEC teams are planted as favorites?
The Ole Miss Rebels play the day after New Year’s in the Cotton Bowl. They are holding on as three-point faves over Oklahoma State. This should be a lock except for one small detail – we all know how football fans in this area seem to gravitate toward anything “Cowboys!”
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