A few years ago, you would have found Florida
at the very top of these rankings
. In a 366-day span, the mighty Gators won three national championships in the two major sports. Since then, the football team maintained its success. After a 9-4 season in 2007, Florida rebounded with back-to-back 13-1 seasons and added another national title in 2008. The basketball team however is a different story. Back-to-back NIT appearances are the real reason the Gators slipped to seventh. Even if those NIT seasons had been replaced by first-round NCAA Tournament losses, Florida would’ve probably been substantially higher. But this year, the Gators made it back to the Big Dance and with that, cemented their status as one of the top 10 schools in the nation with football and basketball success. With Urban Meyer
continuing to lead the football squad and the basketball team looking like they are on the rise, the future is bright. Seventh is probably as far as the Gators will dip for quite some time.
is breaking tradition in 2011 and will play under the lights at the Big House for the first time ever
. And the opponent is a familiar one: Notre Dame
. The Wolverines and Fighting Irish have played each other at night three previous times, but all of those games were at Notre Dame. Michigan may look forward to the change in venue for the fourth nighttime matchup. The Wolverines lost the previous three by an average of only four points. With both programs struggling in recent years, this may not be the marquee matchup it used to be, but it’s still one that has college football diehards excited. If money were no option, this would definitely be on the road trip list. Of course the plan at the moment is to head to Notre Dame that season for the USF
game. I definitely hope that trip becomes a reality.
The pirate expects to be back in coaching
sooner rather than later, but is definitely enjoy his time off. After being fired by Texas Tech
, Mike Leach
moved his family to Key West, FL and is living the relaxing life. Must be nice. But he also knows that isn’t permanent and expects to find a program in the near future. I think you have to believe the same of all of the three coaches fired under similar circumstances: Leach, Jim Leavitt
, and Mark Mangino
. They were all successful coaches at one point and while their methods may not be desirable (and downright despicable to some), they will be able to convince some program to sign them on. And any of them could definitely return to a BCS conference school as a head coach. Think about those programs that have has some very off years as of late. Washington State
for instance comes to mind. One of those programs that isn’t necessarily a championship contender, but needs a boost and could use a guy with fire to prove himself successful again. Expect all three to be back in head coaching spots sooner than you may initially have thought. They won’t be gone from the sport for long.
On the other side of the coaching spectrum, Ohio State
has given the sweater vest an extension
. The extension gives Jim Tressel
two additional years to coach the Buckeyes, having him signed through 2014. There is also an interesting twist to the deal that says if Tressel steps down under good terms, he will be given an associate athletic director spot within the athletic department paying him $150,000 a year. At the moment, Tressel makes somewhere in the ballpark of $3.5 million, so it’s a little bit of a pay cut, but keeps an extremely successful coach in touch with the program. Something Ohio State would definitely want when he does eventually step down. There is no valid reason for Tressel to leave the Buckeyes unless it’s to retire one day. Odds are he sees the end of this contract and beyond.
The List: Today’s list isn’t meant to be a public-service announcement even if it seems that way. Today marks the two-year anniversary of The Bull Gator. I started this site on March 19, 2008 and am proud to have seen it grow into what it is today. Last year, this date took on a very different meaning. Someone very close to me began a battle with leukemia on that day. A battle, sadly, they wouldn’t win. That person was more than an inspiration to me and one of the greatest, most loving people I will ever know. Over the last year, I have learned a great deal about leukemia and cancer in general and am happy to contribute to the fight against all cancer-related illnesses. Here are just a few of the places you can visit to learn more and find out how you too can help.
The Sixth Man: Florida’s season is done and it finished in quite an exciting way. The Gators took BYU to double overtime, before they could no longer hang on. A first-round loss is never acceptable, but it’s much better than the alternative Florida fans are all too familiar with: the NIT. If anything, the Gators can learn from this season and look forward to next year. The one thing that probably needs to be addressed first and foremost has to be turnovers. The Gators turned the ball over 21 times to the Cougars 12. Leading the way was point guard Erving Walker who had 7 turnovers himself. If Walker and company can hold on to the ball, this could be a Sweet 16 team next season. The talent is there – as evidenced by Kenny Boynton’s second half – it just needs to all come together. By making the tourney, Florida took a big step forward. Now improve in a few areas and this will be a much better team.