With nothing happy to think about last night, I was reflecting on some of my great memories of UF in the Sugar Bowl. Beating Florida State for the championship, wiping the floor with Cincinatti and West Virginia. And then some of the not so great memories, Louisville, Miami, Florida State, and Notre Dame (and then I did some research and realized that we had also lost to Nebraska in 74 and Missouri in 66, I knew that Spurrier lost to Missouri in a bowl game, and that he was the Sugar Bowl MVP despite playing for the losing team, but those two pieces of information weren't connected in my brain).
As I was thinking about all of that, I remembered how West Virginia and Cincinatti being ranked third and hoping for a piece of a national championship made destroying them so much more enjoyable. Then I realized that we had been ranked third when we lost to Louisville and Notre Dame. Curious. Time for some numbers
Since our loss to Notre Dame in 1991, the third ranked team going into the bowl season is 11-11, against opponents ranking, on average ninth in the country. If you only look at bowl games against opponents outside the top 5, the third ranked team actually has a losing record, 6-7, when the rankings would predict a winning record. Against teams ranked 4 or 5 they are 4-2 (with one win being in OT), about what you would expect. And against teams ranked 1 or 2 they are 1-2 (GO GATORS!!), again about what you would expect. And if you look at their games against teams outside the top 15 they are 1-4, with that only win coming in OT. (and unfortunately two of those losses being us, does our being on the other side of two of the biggest wins against third ranked teams make up for that?)
What does it all mean? That I'm bored at work and don't have a Gator win to enjoy. And likely that this pattern will shift down to the fifth place team going into bowl season as we move to a four team playoff.