Florida (12-1) vs. Cincinnati (13-0)
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.