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The entire college football world was in a state of shock yesterday when UFlorida head coach Urban Meyer announced he was stepping down for health reasons.

First reaction:  Yeah, well – I’d be sick over losing my cash-cow quarterback, too.

We later found out that Meyer spent a considerable amount of time in the hospital after the SEC championship game, suffering from chest pains.

(Side note:  There’s been a lot of pressure on Meyer and the Gators to repeat as national champs this year, which may lead one to believe the chest pains are a result of excessive stress.  His doctors, however, may want to look for a blockage somewhere.  I’ve got a stepbrother who was suffering from those types of pains, and that’s what they found.)

Well, hold the phone – looks like ol’ Urban’s not gonna resign, after all.

Florida coach Urban Meyer, who announced Saturday night that he would step down after coaching the Gators in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day, will instead take an indefinite leave of absence following the bowl game, he said on Sunday.

“I was offered and encouraged to take a leave of absence,” Meyer said in a news conference on Sunday afternoon.

Can’t say as I blame him.  Man’s got a helluva scene going for him down there.

Let’s go to the Perfect Football Weekend™.  Four of my six teams are still in action (Dallas, more than once) this week.

Tonight, the Cowboys are in Warshington to take on the Deadskins.

OZY MCCOOL:  You mean…

MERLIN:  Nah, this time he’s got a point.  Did you see what they did against the Douchebags?

OZY MCCOOL:  Yeah, but that doesn’t mean they’ll do that against the Cowgirls.

VENOMOUS:  Point, McCool.  Incidentally, how d’ya like your new Realm™ Intelligence gig?

OZY MCCOOL:  Thank you, m’liege.  I shall not let you down like my predecessor did.  I prefer to keep my  head.

VENOMOUS:  Good man.

Memo to Coach Stay-Puf:  The win over N’awlins means exactly dick  unless you beat the ‘Skins tonight.

Tuesday, Bucky travels to Orlando to take on the University of Miami Windbags Hurricanes in the Champs Sports Bowl.  This game will hinge on how well Bucky can stop UMiami quarterback Jacory Harris.  Vegas has more confidence in them than I do at this point – the ‘Canes are only a 3½-point favorite in what’s essentially a home game for them.  Question for HSS:  can Bucky keep up with all that speed?

Wednesday, Bo Pelini’s 20th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers will be in San Diego to take on 22nd-ranked Arizona in the Holiday Bowl.  (Both rankings USA Today poll)  Vegas considers it a tossup, but I think it’ll come down to whether or not Arizona’s line can hold Ndomukong Suh long enough to let their quarterback throw.

Thursday, Bob Stoopes will take his Oklahoma Sooners to El Paso to play in the Brut Sun Bowl* against the 19th-ranked (USA) Stanford Cardinal.  (And So Help Me Cthulu™, they’re only ranked because they took apart USC in the Trojans’ backyard about six weeks ago.)  The over under is 400 male spectators attacked by over-40 football groupies. 

Next Sunday, Dallas will finish the regular season at JerryWorld against the Philthydelphia Beagles and TWGQBEITHOE,E™, Donna McCrabbs.  Memo to Coach Stay-Puf:  If history repeats itself here…it’s been nice knowing you.

Next Monday, the 3rd-ranked Texas Christian Horned Frogs will have the rubber match of the series against 6th-ranked Smurf Turf State in the Fiesta Bowl.  (Reports that Bronco coach Chris Peterson was still trying to get the University of Phoenix Stadium crew to paint the field blue were unsubstantiated at press time.)  The Frogs are favored by seven, which means that Ross Evans will have to win it for them with a field goal.  Set the over/under on fingernails I have left at game’s end at two.

We’re here January 5th or so with the recap and the benediction.  And my mood for that will depend on how well TCU did the night before.

*And those of you who know me know I never but never use the names of title sponsors when discussing bowl games, but this one’s too good to pass up.

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