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It goes against everything we've learned over the last three
years: never bet against Tim Tebow. But Tebow's one weakness is a Strong pass rush.
Coach Urban Meyer says Dunlap won't play Saturday, adding
that there is no timetable for his return. Meyer says he is "stunned"
by Dunlap's actions.
Dunlap, the defensive MVP of the Bowl Championship Series
national title game in January, has started every game this season for the
defending champs. He has 35 tackles and is tied for the team lead with seven
Gators are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings.Underdog is 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7
The Gators have unmatched speed and that has served them
well this year. However, the Crimson Tide wear teams down with brute force and
that could be the equalizer this weekend
while the defensive front features huge rush ends like Brandon
Deaderick (6-4, 306) and Marcell Dareus (6-4, 296) and mammoth tackle Terrence
Cody (6-5, 354). Dareus has come on strong this year to pace the team in sacks
with 6.5. In all, Alabama has
done a terrific job rushing the passer (31 sacks), while forcing 25 turnovers.
Nick Saban is convinced his team is up for the challenge of
another shot at the SEC title.
This is the 36th meeting between these two teams, with Alabama
holding a 21-14 series advantage. Florida
however, holds a 4-2 edge in SEC Title games against Alabama,
including last year's 31-20 victory that sent
urban Meyer certainly recognizes the unique challenge that Alabama
"It's a great week coming up for us. We've had a couple of those, so we
have to stay focused on the task at hand. It's a mighty task. I put them in the
great category and I don't do that often; their offense, defense and they have
a dynamic returner. Their return units are also highly ranked. We'll have to do
a great job covering the football. Defensively and offensively they are in the
top statistical categories along with us. They are very good."
1. This will be the 41st time that the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in
the Associated Press poll have met. Of the previous 40 meetings, 23 have come
in the regular season and 17 have been in bowl games. Of those games, the No. 1
team has a record of 24-14-2.
2. Since Florida quarterback
Tim Tebow made “The Promise” after last season’s loss to Ole Miss, Florida
has won 22 straight games. In those 22 games Florida
has outscored its opponents 907-259.
3. Alabama doesn’t appear to
have many weaknesses but here is one. Or at least it is a concern. The Crimson
Tide is ranked 116th nationally in defending kickoff returns. Teams
are averaging 25.56 yards per kickoff return against Alabama.
enough, has kicked off 82 times (68 have been returned) this season. Only
four teams in the country have kicked off more: Boise
State (99), Houston
(95), TCU (90), and Florida (86).
4. Alabama’s Javier Arenas is
one of the best punt returners in the country, averaging 16.64 yards per
attempt. But chances are Arenas will not return the
ball much against Florida.
The Gators only have allowed only four punts to be returned against them all
season for a grand total of 13 yards. No other team in the country has allowed
five or less punts to be returned against them this season.
5. This will be the 18th SEC championship game. Seven times in
the past 17 years the winner of this game has gone on to win the national
championship: 1992, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Two other times
(1995, 1997) the winner has played in a game for at least a share of the national
6. Alabama running back Mark
Ingram suffered a hip-pointer last Friday against Auburn
and was held to a season-low 30 yards rushing. Ingram, however, needs just 43
yards against Florida to set the
school record for rushing yards in a season. Bobby Humphrey ran for 1,471 yards
on 236 attempts in 1986. Ingram, a sophomore, has 1,429 yards on 221 attempts.
7. Only one running back this season—Dennis Johnson of Arkansas—has
rushed for over 100 yards against the Florida
defense. Florida is No. 8 nationally in rushing defense, giving up only 89.2
yards per game and 2.9 yards per rush. Florida
has held four straight opponents to under 100 yards rushing. Alabama
is No. 2 nationally in rushing defense, allowing only 77.08 yards per game and
2.62 yards per attempt. No running back has gone over 100 yards against Alabama’s
defense this season. LSU’s Charles Scott (83) and Mississippi
State’s Anthony Dixon (81) were the
only two backs to run for more than 80 yards against Alabama.
8. Think it will be a low scoring game? Of course. Florida
leads the nation in scoring defense, giving up 9.83 points per game. Alabama
is No. 2 scoring defense, allowing 10.83 points per game. Florida
has allowed only 11 touchdowns this season, four fewer than any other team in
the nation. Alabama, Nebraska,
and Penn State
are tied for second place, allowing only 15 touchdowns.
9. Both of these teams are very good when it comes to stopping third down
conversions. Florida is No. 2
nationally in third down defense. Opponents have converted only 43 of 164 third
downs (26.22 percent). Opponents have converted only 48 of 166 third downs
against Alabama (28.92 percent),
which is No. 5 in the nation. In case you’re wondering, TCU leads the nation in
third down defense. Opponents have completed only 46 of 176 third downs (26.14
percent) against the Horned Frogs.
10. Florida has nine
appearances in the SEC championship game, more than any other school. Alabama
has six appearances in the SEC championship game, all of them against Florida.
Alabama is 2-4 in those games,
winning in 1992 and 1999. The other schools who have appearances in this game
are Tennessee (5), LSU (4), Georgia
(3), Arkansas (3), Auburn
(3) and Mississippi State
(1). Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, South
Carolina, and Kentucky
have never appeared in the SEC championship game.
Florida defensive coordinator
Charlie Strong has emerged as the leading candidate for the Louisville
head-coaching job, multiple sources have told ESPN.com.
A Florida defense without
Dunlap still is imposing, Saban says…..
If Tide's O-line couldn't handle Auburn's
defense, how will it contain top-ranked Gators? ….
Sports columnist Mike Herndon: Alabama's
pass rush will be a key against Florida's