Fason looking for fond farewell

The Gators will get just enough plays from QB Chris Leak to knock off the inconsistent Hurricanes.

Originally Published: December 22, 2004
By Todd McShay | Scouts Inc.
The subplots are endless in this in-state New Year's Eve clash. For starters, the recruiting backlash could be enormous, as the game will essentially serve as a state championship. Both Miami and Florida defeated Florida State earlier this season.

Who: Florida vs. Miami
When: Dec. 31, 7:30 ET (ESPN)
Where: Atlanta, Ga.
Miami is trying to bounce back from a demoralizing home loss to Virginia Tech that cost the Hurricanes an automatic BCS bowl bid as ACC champs. QB Brock Berlin will look to cap off what has been a surprisingly successful senior campaign, but it could be RB Frank Gore who shoulders the offensive load against a subpar Florida run defense. Head coach Larry Coker needs this win in order to build momentum for his young team heading into 2005.

For Florida, interim head coach Charlie Strong has one opportunity to shine in what could serve as a nationally televised interview for several head coaching vacancies across the country. The Gators played their hearts out for Ron Zook with a win at Florida State in Zook's final game as head coach.

New head coach Urban Meyer will be watching from Arizona, as he prepares to coach his final game for Utah in the Fiesta Bowl. As a result of the coaching change, RB Ciatrick Fason has already elected to leave school following the Peach Bowl. Could it also be the last time we see LB Channing Crowder on the college gridiron?

We know it will be the farewell for one of the nation's elite defensive players, Miami DC Antrel Rolle. Will he be able to carry an inexperienced and inconsistent Hurricanes' defense against QB Chris Leak and the potentially explosive Gators' offense?

Todd McShay

ESPN Senior Writer