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Gators wonder where to focus - BCS or FSU?

By ANTONYA ENGLISH
Published November 20, 2006


GAINESVILLE - Maybe it's time for Urban Meyer to re-evaluate his strategy.

Early this season, he refused to let his players discuss the possibility of playing for a national championship. Then as the Gators found themselves among the top 4 in the BCS standings, he and the players began to speak publicly about it. "It's out there, let's go after it," Meyer said.

But now everything has changed - again. Despite a 62-0 win over Division I-AA Western Carolina on Saturday, the Gators 10-1 dropped from No. 3 to No. 4 in the Associated Press poll, while one-loss Michigan remained at No. 2 after its 42-39 loss to No. 1 Ohio State. Southern Cal moved to No. 3. The Gators also dropped to No. 4 in the coaches' poll and remained No. 4 in the BCS.

Meyer said he may consider forgetting about the mess that is the BCS and focus solely on the Florida State game this week and Arkansas in the SEC championship game on Dec. 2.

"I heard (USC coach) Pete Carroll say that (Saturday night) and it would be a mistake for me to probably worry about that," Meyer said Sunday morning. "I think anything to motivate our guys, I haven't made that decision yet (whether to cease the BCS talk). I'm going to kind of get a feel for our players today when they come in. I'm going to ask them. I have such great confidence in Jemalle Cornelius, Chris Leak and some of the guys on our team; even a Tim Tebow. And I'll sit with Brandon Siler and we'll visit about the most important things to have our team motivated and ready to go. Once I get that feel, we'll make that decision (today) in a team meeting."

GOING 'OUT WEST': Saturday's game was barely over when player's thoughts turned to FSU.

"Right now," freshman Percy Harvin said when asked when players would start thinking about the Seminoles. "Coach, his last words (as he dismissed the team from the locker room) were, 'Now we've got to worry about the team out west.' He said this was a great win, go have fun, but we've got to come back Monday ready to work."

Meyer said practices will be different and that Florida will not underestimate FSU (6-5).

"I don't think you have to worry about that here," he said. "Our guys know exactly what's on the line."

DID YOU KNOW?: With its victory Saturday, the 2006 team became the fourth to win 10 games in the regular season. The others: 1991, 1995 and 1996.

Antonya English can be reached at (813) 226-3389 or english@sptimes.com.