ORLANDO - Happy New Year from the Capital One Bowl. In the next three hours, we'll find out whether Michigan or No. 9 UF (9-3) will have a great New Year's Day.
Kickoff is coming in about 10 minutes, as the stadium is still filling up.
On the way to the stadium, Michigan fans seemed to be out in full force. But the Gators have a much stronger contingent in the Citrus Bowl, where temperatures are in the 60s with partly cloudy skies. UF will need its athletic offense to use its speed to beat Michigan today.
The Wolverines cannot match the speed of Percy Harvin, Andre Caldwell and Louis Murphy.
For Michigan, the key will be keeping its offense on the field and keeping Tim Tebow off of it. Running back Mike Hart needs to have a big day, and you know he's pumped for his last college game. UF has had trouble against strong running attacks this year, see Georgia and LSU, so Hart could have a field day.
Let's take a look at some of the main storylines for today's game:
1) Carr's last game: Michigan should come out with extra motivation today, since their beloved coach, Lloyd Carr, is retiring after today's game. The Wolverines have hired Rich Rodriguez from West Virginia to take his place, but he has had little, if any input with the team leading up to this game.
2) Tebow and the jinx: On the UF side, will sophomore quarterback Tim Tebow succumb to the Heisman Trophy jinx. Several Heisman winners have fallen flat in bowl games, perhaps because of the extra award banquets and buffets that force them to miss practices in December. Gators fans remember what happened to Ohio State's Troy Smith in his post-Heisman bowl last year, and they sure hope Tebow does not suffer the same fate.
3) Bragging rights: Much has been made of the Big Ten/SEC rivalry since the national championship game last year, when UF blew Ohio State out of the water. The SEC with its fast, athletic attacks differs greatly from the power game of the Big Ten. The Capital One Bowl, the second of three SEC/Big Ten matchups, should follow that storyline.