Saturday, December 26, 2009
Sugar Bowl takes another bizarre twist
By Brian Bennett
While in New Orleans next week for the Allstate Sugar Bowl, it may be hard to remember that there is an actual game scheduled.
Cincinnati was already playing for an interim coach (Jeff Quinn) as Brian Kelly left the 12-0 Bearcats for Notre Dame earlier this month. Tonight brought the stunning news that Florida coach Urban Meyer will step down after the game for health reasons.
Thus, nearly every interview and media session leading up to the game will be at least in part about the coaching story lines. There were questions about how Cincinnati would deal with all the distractions, especially since Quinn has already taken the Buffalo job and most of the assistants are figuring out whether they're going to Notre Dame, Buffalo or staying put for new coach Butch Jones.
Florida's interest in this game was questionable, as the Gators still hadn't sold their full allotment of tickets as of last week. The fan base, and perhaps the team, was still smarting from losing the SEC title game to Alabama.
But now will the Gators rally behind their two-time national championship winning coach, who's not abandoning them for another job, but because of concern for his own physical well-being? Will Florida now be extra motivated to play the Bearcats?
No BCS game will have more bizarre story lines leading up to the game than this one. Get ready for a weird week in New Orleans.