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Predictions 101 — Sugar Bowl

Will Muschamp AP

No. 4 Florida vs. No. 22 Louisville
Wed., Jan. 2 – 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
New Orleans – Louisiana Superdome

It’s hard to consider a team that lost to Syracuse and Connecticut a threat to Florida, but we aren’t going to rule out any squad coached by Charlie Strong.

We also won’t make a fuss about Strong going against his old team. Yes, he was the defensive coordinator for a pair of Florida national championships before taking over the top spot at Louisville, but he won’t be suiting up.

What he will do, however, is have the Cardinals well prepared to take advantage of this massive opportunity.

Florida (11-1), which has allowed only five touchdown passes this season, has one of the best defenses in the country.

That theory will be put to the test by Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The sophomore from Miami (one of 17 Floridians on the Cardinals’ roster) has completed 69 percent of his passes for 3,452 yards and 25 touchdowns, against seven interceptions.

Bridgewater finished out the regular season playing with a broken wrist and sprained ankle. It’ll be fascinating to see how he does against the Gator defense, which ranks first in the country in pass efficiency defense.

Florida has a far less dynamic triggerman in Jeff Driskel. His mission is more about not losing the game than winning it, leaving the heavy lifting to Mike Gillislee, who is the Gators’ first 1,000-yard rusher since 2004.

The senior running back was at his best in the big games, rushing for 146 yards and two scores in a 14-6 win over LSU, and 140 yards and a pair of TDs in Florida’s most recent outing, the 37-26 victory at Florida State.

Louisville (10-2), which has the seventh best rushing defense in the Big East, doesn’t figure to hold up well against the Gator ground game and some are expecting this to be similar to the 2010 Sugar Bowl in which Florida dismantled Cincinnati, 51-24.

The game might degenerate if the Cardinals fail to stay within striking distance and place Bridgewater in harms way too often, but we believe this will be a four-quarter contest.

Opening point spread: Florida by 15

The pick: Florida 34-26

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12 Responses to “Predictions 101 — Sugar Bowl”
  1. southernpatriots says: Dec 3, 2012 7:05 AM

    Florida will bulldoze over Louisville. I expect the Gators to put on a clinic. Running up and down the field. Passes mixed in at random…a fun time for the Gator players and coaches, not much competition.

    Florida may score over 40 points. If the Gator defense shows up that is near their championship defense, it will be quite bad for Louisville.

    We fans would like competitive bowls, but this one likely will not be one.

  2. smoothreentry says: Dec 3, 2012 8:06 AM

    I am moving and have been without TV or wi-fi for days. How did #21 Louisville make it to the Sugar Bowl? #21–meaning there should be 20 teams better suited for invitations—#21 is the best the Sugar Bowl can do? WTF?

    Yes, FL will bulldoze Louisville. Not a fair game.

  3. truefootballinsight says: Dec 3, 2012 9:20 AM

    Should have been Oklahoma, Oregon or KSU vs Florida

  4. whdreed says: Dec 3, 2012 9:40 AM

    This is a joke… Florida playing Louisville and not Oregon or KSU… What a laugher this will be. too bad it isn’t basketball, might be a different winner. Do they think by making a prediction of only an 8 point florida win that will make anyone believe it???

  5. blitz4848 says: Dec 3, 2012 10:00 AM

    This game is unfortunate one not only for we fans but for Coach Strong and his Louisville team.

    Coach Boom will use this as a springboard for a VERY high ranking in next yrs preseason poll. The Gators will be loaded and it will be Muschamps 3rd yr.

    The Gator “D” takes a lot of pride in their stats and have already faced a half dozen better passing teams & Qbs than Bridgewater. He better heal up quickly or he will find out the true meaning of “being Gator bait!!!”

    This will be uglyyyyyyyyyy unless you are a Gator……Florida 38 Louisville 10 and they will be very lucky if they get 10. Gators avg giving up 12 against SEC competition.
    i

  6. davebrownspiral says: Dec 3, 2012 11:37 AM

    If this game was 16 quarters long, than perhaps Louisville would be able to put up the 26 points on the Gator defense that you are predicting.

    This one will be similar to when Florida took on another Big East “powerhouse” a few years ago in Cincinatti, except this is going to be uglier.

    41-9…Bridgewaer doesn’t make it through the game.

  7. canehouse says: Dec 3, 2012 4:24 PM

    Florida is gonna destroy Louisville… DESTROY!

  8. wustlumdnj says: Dec 3, 2012 5:24 PM

    @smoothreentry

    I’m confused…when you say, “I am moving and have been without TV or wi-fi for days”, and then “Yes, FL will bulldoze Louisville.” are you trying to tell us that you don’t know what’s going on because you haven’t had the ability to follow along, or you do know what’s going on and have the ability to make an educated prediction

  9. sd1024 says: Dec 3, 2012 5:47 PM

    People shut up. Games are played on the field, not on nitwit comment boards.

  10. kansas525 says: Dec 3, 2012 7:33 PM

    Wonder who the SEC paid off for this match up. Last year it was 1 vs 2 and 3 vs 4. This year, with Oregon sitting at 4 and the SEC fairly certain that Oregon would blow the socks off Florida, with the same type of offense, only better, than A&M ran against Alabama, the SEC wanted no part of them. So, K-State vs Oregon is the 2nd best game of the post season.

    The SEC will continue to pad its bowl stats the same way they pad their regular season, against mediocre opponents.

    The SEC opponents for the post season?
    3 ACC teams, 3 Big 10 teams, and everyone knows how tough the Big 10 is this year, 1 Big -12 team, which, other than Notre Dame, is the only decent team they will play and 2 Big East teams. Sounds like a tough schedule to me.

  11. dolfan66r says: Dec 4, 2012 11:23 AM

    The SEC is matched against opponents based on the conference ties to those bowls. The order of selection in the BCS Bowls determined the opponents for conference reps. The Fiesta Bowl had the first choice in the at large pool. Of course they took Oregon. The other two choices were Louisville and NIU. The Sugar Bowl would have loved to had Oregon as a choice! BTW the last day of the regular season. South Carolina beat Clemson, Florida beat Florida State, and Georgia beat Georgia Tech.

  12. 1historian says: Dec 29, 2012 8:40 AM

    This puts me in mind of the Florida – Cincinnati game a few years ago. Cincy was undefeated during the season but Kelly was hired by Notre Dame and there was some turmoil, plus Florida had just gotten a rather thorough ass-kicking in their previous game and they took it out on Cincy.

    It was basically 2 & 3 star players playing against pissed off 3, 4 & 5 stars and it was ugly.

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