Another pick for the Gators


Published: Monday, July 6, 2009 at 8:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, July 6, 2009 at 8:43 p.m.

One of ESPN’s most popular and engaging radio personalities has his pick in.

Colin Cowherd, host of The Herd, was featured on a conference call last Thursday to promote his new show, SportsNation, on ESPN2 and predicted that defending champion Florida will face Texas in the BCS Championship in January.

Cowherd cited Florida’s talent and the championship snubbing the Longhorns got in 2008 — along with the play of quarterback Colt McCoy — as reasons for his prediction.

“Florida’s really good, but Texas has a real chip on their shoulder because they didn’t get to play for the national championship (last season),” Cowherd said. “That’ll be a big motivator.

“Colt McCoy is absolutely amazing – most fun player to watch.”

Cowherd might foresee a Gators-Longhorn finale, but he’s unsure if ratings would be at an all-time high. Despite the Gators’ recent success, to him they aren’t as popular a program outside of the South.

“Florida doesn’t have a lot of national swag. You would think because they’re so dominant,” he said.

“I think it would be fine for the sport. Two high-profile coaches, two high-profile teams. Huge state universities, so it’ wouldn’t be bad. I’d like to see it.”

C owherd dove into a few issues with college football, particularly the Southeastern Conference.

Cowherd pegged Mississippi as one of his sleepers this year, because of the mixture of an upgraded coaching staff lead by head coach Huston Nutt and the talented players left from the Ed Oregeron era. Cowherd also said LSU will be “better than a lot of people think.”

He wasn’t as impressed with defending SEC West champion Alabama, calling the Crimson Tide “overrated.” Cowherd also said that Georgia “won’t be as good” this fall.

Cowherd devoted most of his college football talk to the offseason antics of Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin. Only a few months as UT’s new head coach and Kiffin has already been surrounded by multiple minor NCAA recruiting violations and trash talk.

Kiffin wrongly accused Florida coach Urban Meyer of cheating but later apologized and even took shots at South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.

“Very low key,” Cowherd said jokingly about Kiffin’s transition to the SEC. “In the SEC, like you need to make more enemies, like the conference isn’t daunting enough. He’s a young guy and he sort of led with his chin, and he’s got the beautiful wife. It makes for great theater.”

While Cowherd said he didn’t agree with some of Kiffin’s decisions thus far, he thinks he fits the SEC norm.

“The SEC for me is already really captivating, but I think Lane just adds another layer to it,” he said. “What’s great about that conference, what’s funny is they have all these high-profile coaches. (Nick) Saban is everybody’s enemy, and (Steve) Spurrier is cocky, and Urban Meyer is too intense and Lane Kiffin. It’s just a really remarkable conference.

“Mark Richt is like the southern gentleman, but other than Mark they’re all kind of going sideways. They all have reputations. They’re all really polarizing so I think Lane really fits into that conference.”

The Kiffin-everyone else drama might annoy some, but Cowherd said it’s one of the things that makes the SEC so intriguing because unlike other conferences, everything’s personal.

“The sign the SEC is really great is that everybody hates everybody,” he said.

“People make stuff up if they don’t have any facts. Even Lane Kiffin, ‘Florida cheated.’ Not really. ‘I know. I apologize.’ … They can’t stop themselves and there is all this animosity. It’s what makes the American League East in baseball great, it’s what makes the SEC in football great or the ACC in basketball. Animosity serves a real purpose in sports especially in radio and TV.”

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