Johnson Sugar Thoughts: The big surprise
Posted Jan 3, 2013

Terry Johnson's thoughts on Louisville's win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

- Without a doubt, this will go down as the biggest surprise of the bowl season. Sure, some people thought that Louisville had a chance, but no one would have expected it to win this convincingly.

- Why did so many schools, including a few in the SEC, pass on Charlie Strong as a head coach? After transforming the Cardinals from an also-ran in the Big East to a Sugar Bowl champion, he should have his pick of coaching jobs in the future... assuming he decides to leave Louisville.

- Yes, Teddy Bridgewater is the real deal. The UL signal caller was virtually flawless, completing 20-of-32 passes for 265 yards and 2 TDs. His yardage total was the highest allowed by the Gator defense this year, outperforming Johnny Manziel, Aaron Murray, and EJ Manuel.

- However, the game ball belongs to the Cardinal defense, which turned in its best performance of the season. Florida had no answers for Louisville's D, going three-and-out on 4 of 10 possessions. That's an outstanding effort for a unit that ranked seventh in the Big East against the run.

- UL's win proves that the biggest issue facing the four-team playoff is establishing the guidelines for a selection committee to follow when choosing the field. Should the committee take the four best teams (which would have included Florida and Oregon), or should it give more weight to major conference champions (Stanford, Kansas State, Florida State and/or Louisville)?

- I'm curious to see what changes Florida makes on offense next season. As tonight's contest pointed out, the Gator O (in it's present form), is ill equipped to come from behind. With 8 of the 14 teams in the SEC averaging 30 or more points per game, it's imperative that UF find a way to score more points if it's going to win a conference championship.

- Despite its disappointing loss in the Sugar Bowl, Florida's 2012 season was a smashing success. Sure, they didn't win a championship, but Gators improved from 3-5 in league play to 7-1 this season. That's a remarkable turnaround in a conference that had six teams finish with ten wins or better.