GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It's bright and early on a crisp fall Saturday. If you're like me, you're going to feel the void of college football today (Sorry, don't mean to disrespect our armed forces). So, let's catch up on everything ESPN has to offer that's Gator-related. We'll call this edition, "Follow the (worldwide) leader."
In a look at early conference trends, Joe is feeling bullish on the Cats, says the Big East is what he thought it was, points out the likely race in the Big 12, and looks at some early over-achievers. He's got the Gators as a No. 3 seed in the East behind Syracuse (1) and Duke (2), and ahead of Xavier (4). If you've been living under a hardwood floor and don't know what Bracketology is, read Lunardi's 2011-12 FAQ.
The first edition of this season's rankings arrive with Florida sitting at No. 12. The comments: The Gators showed heart in their win overtime win over Arizona earlier this week. Their talented backcourt players continue to build chemistry.
Andy Katz has Florida at No. 2 in the Southeastern Conference. The comments: The Gators lost on the road in two places (Ohio State, Syracuse) where most teams will fall this season. Wednesday's OT victory against Arizona was a must-win for this team. Having Patric Young score 25 points is a good sign the Gators will keep getting better.
All right, that was a lot of hoops, even for a basketball school (I kid). Let's interrupt this roundball lovefest with something completely different ...
Our legion of college football bloggers check in with their top picks for every major conference. I won't blame you if you want to skip right to Chris Low's and Edward Aschoff's All-SEC team, but Gator fans will see the same reminder of a sour season -- just one selection, and it's place-kicker Caleb Sturgis.
And now for your daily Tebow ...
Grantland staff writer Bill Barnwell checks in with an incredibly in-depth breakdown of what Tebow has done thus far as a way to predict what's in store. Barnwell does an amazing job with the statistics before concluding, as all Gator fans know, that Tebow pretty much defies statistical analysis because there's no one else like him. The phenomenon continues.
Can the hobbled Bears slow the surging Tebows? Find out what video-game programmers have to say about it. Probably better than a crystal ball, tarot cards or a magic 8-ball.
What's a day without a teenager changing his mind? We call it recruiting coverage ...
Find out what made Southern Cal coaches positively delighted about their in-home visit with four-star wide receiver Nelson Agholor on Thursday. Will the latest development help SC lure a top talent 2,500 miles away? Agholor wavered on his plans to visit Florida this weekend before making a decision on the trip.
Here is a good question that has gotten some well-deserved attention this season -- why don't top teams care more about recruiting kickers? Florida fans can take comfort in the knowledge that next season the Gators will have the aforementioned Sturgis, a decorated veteran, and one of the top high school prospects in the nation, Austin Hardin, will be on campus as his understudy (he'll likely handle kickoffs, too).
What's this? Another volleyball story from espnW ...
Colleen Ward transferred to the University of Illinois two years ago. Now the former Gator is back in Gainesville -- but with a victory for her Illini in mind.