SEC: Allstate Sugar Bowl
Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m., (FOX)
Florida’s 22-game winning streak came to a screeching halt in the SEC championship game Saturday thanks to a 32-13 loss to Alabama. It was Urban Meyer’s most lopsided loss at Florida since his first season in Gainesville in 2005.
His most difficult task may be getting this team back up for a game that won’t determine the national championship, especially with so many juniors who could end up turning pro. There’s also the uncertain status of star defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who was suspended for the SEC championship game after being arrested last week on DUI charges.
Despite the Gators’ success, it’s been a trying season with multiple distractions along the way. Meyer was hospitalized early Sunday morning and treated for dehydration. He’s also on the verge of losing his defensive coordinator. Charlie Strong is the leading candidate at Louisville.
Nonetheless, the Gators remain one of the most talented teams in the country, and senior Tim Tebow's leadership should be enough to get them back up for one more game.
As for storylines off the field, Meyer graduated from Cincinnati and played defensive back for the Bearcats, who have their own distraction with all the Brian Kelly to Notre Dame talk.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
It's been in the works now for a couple of weeks, but it appears that Kevin Steele's move from Alabama to Clemson is imminent.
New Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is expected to announce on Saturday that Steele will be his defensive coordinator next season. Steele has been with Nick Saban for the last two seasons on the Alabama staff. He was the defensive coordinator in 2007 and had his title changed to defensive head coach this season.
Kirby Smart was named the Crimson Tide's defensive coordinator this season, and Nick Saban is also heavily involved in coordinating the Alabama defense.
At Clemson, it will be Steele's defense. He'll coordinate the defense and make all the calls. He's also expected to receive a raise from the $360,000 he was paid at Alabama this season.
Ironically, Steele will take over at Clemson after his longtime friend, former Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis, declined the Tigers' overtures and instead agreed to become the defensive coordinator at LSU. Steele and Chavis go back to their high school days together in Dillon, S.C.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
It sounds like Alabama was very pro-active in dealing with the Andre Smith situation, and coach Nick Saban made it clear Wednesday in his first comments to the media that the Crimson Tide were not in harm's way with the NCAA.
Other than that, Saban refused to get into specifics.
Smith was sent home Monday and suspended for the Allstate Sugar Bowl following an investigation by Alabama into improper dealings with an agent. The Alabama state attorney general also plans to look into the matter.
Saban confirmed that Mike Johnson would fill in for Smith at left tackle against Utah and David Ross would move into the starting lineup at left guard.