NEW ORLEANS — Riding a 22-game winning streak and feeling no one could beat them, the Florida Gators got knocked down a huge notch in the SEC Championship Game. Alabama humbled and embarrassed the No. 1 team in the nation. That’s why the Gators are here now instead of getting ready to go to Pasadena for theBCS Championship Game against Texas.
Clearly, for some strange reason, the Gators did not appear ready to play in the SEC title game. Mentally and physically, they didn’t seem themselves. There was
no juice, no passion, no sense of urgency. As a result, they were splattered 32-13 by a hungry Alabama team looking for atonement for the 2008 SEC Championship Game loss to Florida.
If you listen to senior outside linebacker tell it, the Gators went up to Atlanta a little to full of themselves.
“I feel like we played poorly because we were up on that high throne and felt like we couldn’t get beat,” Ryan Stamper said. “Things went our way every time on the football field all season. We always came out winning the football game. We thought teams would lie down for us.
“Alabama came out and took it to us and we couldn’t get in the flow of the game. Everyone had it in their head, ‘We’ll score and be all right. We’ll come back.’ Even when we were down late in the game. But it didn’t happen. We didn’t make it happen.”
The Sugar Bowl is not where this team wanted to end the season. But now that they’re hear, the Gators say they’re using it to regain their hunger.
Based on what happened to Alabama here last year (a loss to Utah) after falling at the SEC title game, the Gators know if they don’t come ready to play they’ll end their season with a two-game losing streak.
“We can’t let that happen,” Stamper said. “We’re going to prepare and be ready to play. We’ve got that hunger again.”