Florida (7-5) vs. Pennsylvania State (7-5) (+7)
At the end of the regular season, I thought it would be Mack Brown who left his program after a rough rebuilding year. Turns out it was Urban Meyer and his enormous ego that couldn’t take single-digit wins and a non-BCS bowl game.
Meyer’s “leaving to be with his family” is possibly the most transparent excuse for leaving in the history of coaches randomly quitting. Yes, he’s had some health scares, but if any of that was serious, he wouldn’t have come back this year. Furthermore, there’s no reason for him to start working with ESPN if he’s trying to stay home with the wife and kids. It’s not like the guy needs the money.
Maybe it was all just a ploy so his Gators would sent him out in style at the Outback bowl. After all, there’s no way this team could beat a more formidable team, so Penn State and JoePa should be a nice last victory for Meyer before he returns to coaching in two years.
Normally, this would be a really easy pick since Penn State is the worst kind of Big Ten stereotype: slow, uncreative on offense or defense, dull to watch.
And yet, this Florida team was so f*cking bad all year, that this game is totally winnable for Penn State. Or at least it feels winnable. The closest thing to Penn State that Florida played this year were Georgia and Tennessee, and they beat both of them, but the Georgia game was close (a UF win in OT).
The other reason besides Meyer’s “retirement” that gives Florida extra incentive to win is that every player returning for 2011 is auditioning in this game for Will Muschamp. Every practice since he was hired and now this game is their only shot at impressing their new coach. That’s motivation, especially for John Brantley, who cannot afford to suck if he’s going to try to be Muschamp’s signal caller next year.
On a side note, why is Brantley all in the press talking about how a pro-style offense suits him better than the spread attack Meyer ran at Florida? It’s not like they just changed the offense or something. He knew exactly what he was committing to three or four years ago and what was going on all the time he was on the bench. He was sitting behind Tim f*cking Tebow! What did he expect!?! Guh.
Anyway, after the sendoff Ralph Friedgen got from his players, how Florida plays will tell everything about how his players feel about him. I think they’ll win an ugly one since they want to give him one last victory but just aren’t very good.