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Keys to victory against the Canes; Plus a bold prediction

FIRST, your daily UF-related links in today's sports section of The Miami Herald...
LINK: Top Florida Gators booster has unique link to Tebow family
LINK: Tackle this, UM: UF has the fastest skill-position players in the country
LINK: The War Canoe Trophy is at stake on Saturday
LINK: Canes have attitude; Just need the game

GAINESVILLE -- Let's dispense with the needless formalities. Here are 5 keys to victory for the Gators on Saturday:

1. Hit UM quarterback Robert Marve early. Marve, a redshirt freshman, hasn't played in game since a high school state championship two seasons ago. On Wednesday, UF defensive coordinator just smiled and said the Gators "have a game plan" when I asked him if the defense wanted to rattle Marve on the first drive.

2. Hold UM's running backs to under 150 yards combined. Saturday is the first big test for the Gators' defense. Limiting UM running backs Javarris James and Graig Cooper will be a challenge for the Gators' linebackers. Miami coach Randy Shannon calls James and Cooper the best running back tandem in the country.

3. Score first. Miami's young quarterback and the Canes running game aren't built for a comeback.

4. Special teams. In the last meeting between the Gators and Canes (2004 Peach Bowl), UF's special teams were awful. If Miami's talented defense can limit Florida's offense, Florida's sound special teams play might be the biggest key to victory.

5. Don't make UF quarterback Tim Tebow win the game. Tebow managed the game against Hawaii and the Gators looked pretty good. Tebow's job this season should be simple against favored opponents: Get the ball into the hands of the playmakers.

PREDICTION
UF 31, UM 28: I'm not expecting a blowout. Are you?

-jo-

MESSAGE FROM THE GATOR CLUB OF MIAMI
The Gator Club of Miami's email to fans about viewing parties for UF vs. UM: "We will be at Shula's Steak 2 in Miami Lakes. Come early to find a seat. If you can't make it to Shula's then go to our second location on South Beach at BBQ Beach (1555 Washington Avenue). East location will have 15 percent off on food and beverages once you provide your UFAA membership card. If you are not a member please go to www.miamigators.com to join today. Don't forget that this game is a "blue" out. Come on Gators! Get up and go!"

FROM Florida's UAA ...
LINK: Gator great Wilbur Marshall to be honored on Saturday
LINK: Broadcast information for UF vs. UM
LINK: No.22 Florida soccer defeats Nebraska 6-1

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31-28?

In the words of Ron Burgundy, "Agree to disagree."

Gators win this one B-I-G. Last year's 45-12 dismantling of FSU in the Swamp and the 2005 beatdown we put on them as well (34-7) should be indicators as to just how seriously Urban Meyer takes playing in-state rivals at home. He's going to use this game to dazzle recruits and show them just how far ahead of the rest of the state the Gators are right now.

Gators win this one 48-13.

Upset! The Canes are victorious with 34-17 win in the bog.

The only thing that's going to be "UPSET" this weekend is the miniscule UM fan base that actually attends the game as they file out of the stadium early in the 3rd quarter, realizing they're still a few years away from competing with college football's upper echelon teams.

Boo-yah! lol

A three point win JO? C'mon man. Florida should cover the spread easily. UF will stack the box and make Marve beat them with his arm. Aint happenin ! THREE POINTS JO ?? Okee dokee.
This thing gets ugly Jo. 52-6.

Let's predict how many fair weather canes fans will actually attend the game. I think less than 5,000. They don't travel well. Hell, they don't do home very well either.

Quality smack right there.

-jo-

There will be plenty of Cane fans in Gainesville this weekend, just not very many UM alumni.

Lot's of crap from a team who lost 4 games last year and one was Michigan??? See you SAT night!

Go U!

50-17. Gators cover spread, and stop those whining, non-UM graduates, who seriously claimed UM could beat the Detroit Lions in the day.

This could possibly be UM's worst team since the 70's.

Sack the UM 1/4 back duo no fewer than 6 times

Go Gators! Silence the JV.

The only thing that's going to be "UPSET" this weekend is the miniscule UM fan base that actually attends the game as they file out of the stadium early in the 3rd quarter, realizing they're still a few years away from competing with college football's upper echelon teams.

Boo-yah! lol

Posted by: Vic-Man | September 04, 2008 at 12:58 PM

I guess 9-4 seasons are now the standard for upper echelon teams. What has college football come too? That used to be considered average.

haha....4 losses against one of the toughst schedules in the nation. I guess that team can talk smack to a team that lost 7 games against one of the weakest schedules in the nation last year. Tell me cane fan, how did you lose 48-0 to a virginia team? Did your team talk trash like this year?

Ohh by the way, a mosquito bit me the last time I went to miami and I blamed coker for it!

Jack - How did you lose to Michigan who lost to App State?

Just like a Miami fan to live in the past. Tell me again about how you have 5 national championships and how good you used to be. The Gators were 9-4 last year, but did not lose any significant starters. The Canes were 4-7, and actually got younger and less experienced than a year ago. Gators win big and bring Miami fans back to reality.

Go Gators! Pound the Ibis.

zac - gives Us credit where credit is dUe - we were 5 - 7 not 4 - 7!!!!!! anyway, for all you who want to hate on the CANES thats fine cawz i bet most of U were not even aroUnd the last time the "gayterds" beat the CANES!!!! this will be close coUnt on it - as always
GO CANES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

zac - gives Us credit where credit is dUe - we were 5 - 7 not 4 - 7!!!!!! anyway, for all you who want to hate on the CANES thats fine cawz i bet most of U were not even aroUnd the last time the "gayterds" beat the CANES!!!! this will be close coUnt on it - as always
GO CANES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Returning starters is the most over played stat in college football. How much better is a 4 loss team returning most of the starters only one year later. Marginally better. Its all about replacing starters that lost you those 4 games.

Returning starters factor in to a team that just missed out last year. A team like UGA that almost made the BCS champ game looks good with returning starters.

Joe (not Goodman), you obviously have no clue about football. To say that returning starters only makes a team marginally better is ridiculous. Having veteran returning starters is the key to winning Championships. Why do you think everyone says Miami will be good in a couple years?...duh, because all these young guys starting now will have a couple years under their belt.

Before the year had started, a lot of folks had chaulked this game as a blow-out for the Gators. Now I'm watching ESPN and everyone is saying this is going to be a close game. I'm wondering what changed after Week 1??? What I find really interesting when analyzing Miami's depth chart is that they are not as youg as I thought they were. They got 30+ Freshman coming in from a big recruiting class, but not many of them are in the 2 deep. That means they have experience at the starting positions (excpet the most important-- QB), but the back-ups are all Freshman. It's very interesting-- Jr/Sr starters, lots of Freshman, but not much in the middle (Jr's and Soph's).

One thing to remember...this is a Miami team Kirk Herbstreit picked to win the National Title last pre-season (no joke..), and now he picks FL to win it. Funny. I'm not a Herby fan after the whole Michigan love-fest, but the guy is supposed to be the expert. No matter how good Gators do this year, I can't seem them lining up with Trojans after watching that UVA game-- total domination.

Bottom line, you have to be a really good team to win a night game in the Swamp. I know Auburn did it last year, but last year had 9 new starters on defense and sometimes trends do get broken (not to mention I think we really overlooked Auburn after they lost to S Florida). Not many team can go to UF or LSU at night and win-- a lot of strange things have to happen to pull a road victory in that cray environment, and I can assure you Gators are not overlooking this game. This game reminds me of Urban's first year, when Vols came in for the night game. They were a better team, but I think the stadium willed our team to victory. The poured their hearts onto the field and won (and the proceded to get clobbered by Alabama, LSU). I expect the same this Saturday.

From one year to the next it is a marginal difference. Most are saying it will be 2010 before Miami challenges for a NC. We are replacing all the players that caused a 5-7 season. This turnover in talent will hopefully get us to 8-4, then the next year 10-2, then challenge for a NC in 2010. A team that loses 4 games usually will not all of a sudden be great because of returning starters. A team that loses 4 games and returns most of their starters will only see a one maybe two game improvement. The biggest jumps are when seniors leave and the replacement outplay them.

Quality posts here. Thanks, fellas.

Gumby, great post but can we get a score with your insightful analysis?

Shout out to UF Peru! I know you're out there. Give us a freaking prediction you crazy freedom fighter!

-jo-

45-13 Gators

Canes keep it close early but get worn down in the second half. Gators cover the spread. I collect in my offshore gambling account. Canes fans call in talk radio and want Patrick Nix fired. Marve gets arrested for hiding in Tim Tebow's backyard and trying to get more photographs of his idol. Canes fans disappear from the herald.com, then return talking about the 80s and how next year is their year, they were too young, Marve and Harris are freshmen, Marcus Forston had a cold. Manny Navarro writes a blog about how this was expected and the locker room was upbeat and the Canes tried really hard, hustled, and played with a smile. They proceed to lose to Texas A&M. Joe Rose abandons ship. Hurricanes fans continue to talk about Vinny Testeverde and George Mira Jr. and quietly shed and burn their Canes clothes while purchasing a USC hat. Donna Shalala is arrested for offering a transvestite 15 dollars. The next home game to North Carolina draws 35 people.

OMG! Post of the year.

-jo-

Joe,
Where are you getting these stats from? 1-2 game improvement? Is that just a guess or do you have something to back it up? So, if youre the Gator coaches you would bench the entire secondary (which was mostly Freshmen and Sophomores) and replace them with Freshmen who have never played a down? Yes we lost four games last year, but we were in all of those games in the 4th quarter. We were just missing the experience to get it done. When was the last time you saw an extrememly young team win a Championship? Look at the past BCS Champions and you'll see something in common...starting upperclassmen!

loser murphy wears jorts at his sorority social

Gator fans are full of hate and venom. I just hope none of UM's players lose an eye from having things thrown at them. I also pray that no UM fans at the game end up in the hospital. Gator fans are unlike any other fans in the country. They are violent, and the country must do something about them in the near future.

Unbelievable, all these 50 point win predictions by SCUM fans.

You never made it, and you never will.

5 NCs, you got 'em ? You are scUM!

Predicting these kinds of games is where the MEN are separated from the BOYS.

I am GATOR alum and life-long fan, living 25 years in Palm Beach, Broward and Dade Counties. I love the Gators.........but a reasonable sense of the game is this:
#1. It will be a very very close game.
#2. Miami has every bid the speed and talent as FLORIDA. Think about it with an open mind: Coker didn't stop being able to get recruits. Every one has some misses and Miami had a few misses (such as at QB) and a few early defections to the NFL (we FLORIDA fans know about early defections to the NFL - we went from National Contender last year to 4 losses b/c Nelson, Siler, Moss and Smith left early). Shannon has already brought in 47 great athletes in 2 years. So please stop with the bullcrap that FLORIDA has great speed and talent. DON'T buy the hype.
#3. Miami has a huge emotional edge now because people aren't even talking about it being a good game, but rather a blow-out. That is ridiculous.
#4. Miami has always had a huge psychological edge. I've been at many FLORIDA/miami games and seen it first hand. In the OB in '81 when stupid Danny Miller kicks the longest FG of his career to beat FLORIDA 21-20. This was just stupid stuff.
#5. FLORIDA playcalling is still suspect. How do you let Tebow run 9 times against Hawaii? This is stupid stuff.
#6. If you saw FLORIDA vs Hawaii game, you know that FLORIDA defense/special teams scored 3 of the TD's. First point - The int's by FLORIDA were not due to great athletic plays. The Hawaii qb was way off target. FLORIDA will not int vs miami and they will not score on special teams.

I hate to admit it, but the game will be incredibly close and I do think miami will pull what pundits and average "sheep" fans say is an upset - but as you see, it won't really be an upset.

I dare all of you "sheep" who don't really understand college FB (or competitive sports) like I do to rebut this intelligently.
Please come back here Monday and pay homage to me.

Jay makes an excellent point about our 4 losses last season. Every single one was down to the wire, and Urban rarely gets blown out in a loss (I would have said "never", but his first year Alabama and LSU did blow us out). We probably should have won at LSU last year(eventual national champs). Also, we had 9 new starters on defense, and it was actually documented that the Gators were the youngest team in all of College Football last year (no joke...this was proven through statistical facts). The Canes losses last year were blow-outs, which actually says more about the coaching staff than the talent-- they let players give up when they got down. It will be interesting to see, suppose the Gators get a 14 point lead early, what happens with the Canes players (throw in the towel? Memories of last year?).

The game will be either a close Gator victory or a blow-out (I know...great insight...but, I'm trying to tell Canes fans they won't blow us out, and if they do beat us, it will go down to the wire).

I hope to God that FL doesn't attempt any FG's, becasue I don't think our kicker has it (yet), and not a good game to attempt his first FG. Therefore, my prediction only has TD's for the Gators. I do expect a B James TD on Special Teams or at least a long return. I know Miami has speed on special teams, but a lot of James' returns are more based on making people miss tackles, especially the first wave of gunners.

Also, crowd noise will impact Canes on offense and really help the Gator D. I don't know if these set of Canes have ever played where the QB can barely talk to his lineman/receivers which is what will happen at Swamp.

Gators win 35-20 (2 FG's by Canes). Close game until through-out and Gators milk clock in 4th Qtr with a slight lead.

Jay,

All the BCS teams were on the cusp of being great. Not a 4 loss team. If you really need stats, here you go. These are the BCS teams since 2001 and their record the year before:

2007 LSU 11-2 OSU 12-1
2006 Florida 9-3 OSU 10-2
2005 Texas 11-1 USC 13-0
2004 USC 12-0 OU 12-2
2003 LSU 8-5 OU 12-2
2002 OSU 7-5 Miami 12-0
2001 Miami 11-1 NU 10-2

LSU and OSU both won after 5 loss season but neither team had a large amount of returning players. In fact, both started QBs and RBs that never took a snap the season before.

As I said, returning players make a marginal difference. They can turn a team on the cusp into a championship team but they do not make an average team into one.

Other points to consider for this game which will be extremely close and miami will probably win in the last few minutes....
1. FLORIDA offense vs Hawaii other than a few big plays looked average, certainly for 1st and 4th quarters. They actually lost the 4th q to Hawaii 10-0.
2. Keystahn Moore and Emmanuel Moody didn't do a thing. FLORIDA will need these bigger backs to step up, otherwise it's lights out bc the little backs will get thrown aside like ragdolls by miami (and SEC defenses).
3. Without Cornelius, a huge part of the "clutch" play in big games is gone. CI singlehandedly turned the Tenn game around in tne NC season.
4. Tebow was underthrowing and overthowing almost everybody last Saturday. That is not a good sign.
5. Tebow got run down from the backside last Saturday and fumbled the ball and was lucky to get the ball back. The point is - he makes as many mistakes as any other average to good qb. He is NOT a difference maker (please understand that I love Tebow and his passion and his play. But he is not a difference maker. He got great stats last year for the Heisman b/c of stupid playcalling of his number almost every play and b/c Florida's RB's are not game-changers (which Urban wants) and b/c Moore fumbled in the LSU game.

Oh Davey boy. I was at the '81 game and I remember you gator fans cheering when Jim Kelly went down with an injury. Every man, woman, and child who follows the gators deserves to lose this game.

Hey fellow Italian (cane).
I was disappointed when Kelly went down, bc it's always more satisfying to win against the best the opponent has to offer. Sorry about stupid Gator fans cheering in such a case.
Good luck Saturday and hopefully both teams avoid injuries and fluke plays. Just a good hard-hitting game and best team wins. I do think your miami team will win in the 4th q by running the ball for huge gains of 7-10 yards and a score in the final couple minutes.
Florida's defense did not look good vs Hawaii to the trained eye knowing what to look for.

Cia fratello! Nice post. I just hope UM makes Tebow and the gators work hard and earn everything. If this happens, I think it bodes well for UM the rest of the year.

Grazie and Prego.

People don't seem to look past the scores and realize what went into the scores - the how/what of the scores.

I watched a little of miami's games vs csu on the replay here in Atanta, and miami looked strong, fast and confident. Play calling looked good.

Mark it down - it will be extremely close game (unless Miami jumps out to a big lead via Tebow turnovers - Hawaii should have picked off 1-2 of his passes last Saturday) and Tebow has fumbles several times (most noteworthy against GA in big game last year when he was pressured thoughout the game.
BTW - I just realized that Miami is very similar to Georgia (except Stafford's arm in incredible). Great RB's (strong and fast), decent WR's, great intense defense (assuming that miami new DC will bring miami up a notch to match the great athletes/speed). And so Georgia was the one team that really dominated FLA last year.

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