Harrison's Sugar Thoughts: Florida's issues

Posted Jan 3, 2013

Phil Harrison's thoughts on Louisville's win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN

-Raise your hand if you saw this coming. Good, now if it's up, look yourself in the mirror and flip off the light because you're a liar. Even the most ardent Louisville supporter that predicted a victory, did so via the close-shave variety.

- Florida seemed to fall prey to what its arch rival from Tallahassee did not. The Seminoles were able to stay focused despite reading press clippings for a month that they were the more dominant team in its matchup with Northern Illinois. The Gators, on the other hand played, with a lack of motivation and interest early on. By the time it woke up out of its overconfident stupor, it was too late.

- Take nothing away from Louisville. The Cardinals played with much more desperation and emotion from the jump. Most surprising was the Cardinals ability to neutralize a Gator D-Line that had been lights out coming into the game. Part of it was game-planning with multiple screens and quick drops, but a lot of it was men whipping the men opposite of them.

- The Big East gets knocked for its play during the regular season, but it seems to show up for bowl games. that is of course as long as it remains a football-playing league.

- Louisville could have made the slight drama at the end go up in smoke if it would have cashed in on more opportunities. The Cardinals still scored a bushel of points against a very, very good defense, but got scored as many points as I did sitting on my couch on at least two occasions where it could have either punched it in or made good on field goals it Charlie Browned. The Cardinals performance was more dominating than the score and yardage would indicate.

- Is the talent gap between the SEC teams and the rest of the country really as big as many would have you believe? In one word--no. After tonight, we've seen Mississippi State, LSU, and now Florida go down to teams they were favored against. On top of that, South Carolina didn't look like an elite SEC team against Michigan, and Georgia vs. Nebraska showed more warts than a witch with psoriasis. Still, if the Tide win on Monday night, it won't matter because it'll be the seventh straight national title for the league, and the chest thumping will continue.

- Will Muschamp has to work on developing a real-live passing game next year. You kept waiting for the lack of offense to hurt Florida all year, but it kept riding shotgun with its defense instead. In the end, the inability of Jeff Driskel to rack up air miles hurt tonight. If Florida has designs of building a mansion of expectations next year, it'll have to figure out much better balance on offense in the offseason.

- We are not making this up. The University of Louisville sent out postcards of Teddy Bridgewater earlier in the year accompanied with bubble gum. The theme? Teddy Bridgewater can do more than chew gum. He showed it tonight by bursting the Gators bubble to the tune of 266 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air. Let's venture a guess that the mailings for next year's Heisman campaign have already started. Goetze's would be more appropriate because the quarterback from Miami is smooth as caramel.

- So maybe the decision Charlie Strong made to stay at Louisville might just work out okay.