by Pat Dooley
Well, game day is here. Finally.
It seems like a year ago that Florida dismantled Florida State in Tallahassee and it seems like a month ago that we arrived here in New Orleans.
It has been a typical bowl trip. A lot of writing, a lot of watching football and a lot of stories being told while sitting in hospitality suites.
In other words, another good experience for your intrepid reporters. I’m a big fan of bowl weeks because of all of the above. And sometimes I have to stop and think about how lucky I am not only to have a job like this but to be covering a team that always goes bowling.
During the week, we’ve gotten a feel for the two teams and their coaches. I think Florida is ready to go. So is Louisville. So I don’t think you’ll see either team come out flat.
Here’s a question for you — which coach needs the win more?
For Charlie Strong, it would be a statement game. Just getting here was a statement, but beating a team that was this close to the national title game would almost be enough to turn Louisville into a football school.
Will Muschamp knows that a loss to end this season wouldn’t ruin what these Gators did but it sure would put a big ink stain on it. Even though Florida fans aren’t overly excited about this game judging my ticket sales, a 12-1 season would still be viewed as a tremendous accomplishment.
I was asked this the other day — is Florida back? And my answer was?
What this team did against the schedule it played was pretty amazing. I said before the season that this was an 8-4 team, but a handful of guys made big jumps from 2011 to 2012.
I like what Florida has coming back next year but football is a sport where a handful of plays have to go your way to have a big season. Look at it this way — Steve Spurrier has done an unreal job at South Carolina but he hasn’t been to a BCS bowl game since he left Florida.
Anyway, enjoy the game. And Happy New Year to all.