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The national media has had this game circled since Lane Kiffin's hiring press conference earlier this year.
Kiffin and Tennessee will travel to the Swamp this Saturday to meet the #1 rated Gators, and national columnists (many of whom don’t follow much college football) will be anxious to pen their stories of “trash talk” and “revenge”.
For the unemotional fan not aligned with either school, this contest simply looks like a team favored to win the National Title versus a rebuilding program with a limited roster. The reality is that no other team in the country would be picked to win in the Swamp this weekend, so does it really matter that Kiffin may have fired up the Gators?
Yes and no.
There is little doubt that this is a statement game for Florida, but it's not just about revenge.
The main reason Phil Fulmer is no longer the head coach at Tennessee is due to recruiting issues. Lane Kiffin is only two games in as a head coach so the jury is still out there, but as a recruiter, Kiffin has already shown that he can compete with the Gators in their own backyard.
The statement Meyer wants to make isn't the same kind of statement he made to Georgia last year. Meyer wants and quite frankly needs to run up the score to show he and his team are light years ahead of young Kiffin's Vols.
Win or lose, Kiffin still knows that the most important aspect of the game will be its recruiting effect. If he can also improve his sluggish offense that was horrible against UCLA, then that's a big bonus for his developing program.
It might not end up bring much of a game on the field, but mark this down as only round one in Meyer vs Kiffin. Recruiting top talent has a way of turning around a program in a hurry - just ask the Canes.
The Vols and Kiffin are betting on the same type of turn around while Meyer is going to work as hard as he can to make sure Tennessee stays beneath him.
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