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Road to the Championship: Dan's Blog

12:12 PM, Jan 9, 2007   |    comments
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Reported by Dan Hicken First Coast News GLENDALE, AZ -- First Coast News Sports Director Dan Hicken reports from Glendale Arizona for the Gators-Buckeyes Bowl Championship Series game. Watch his video blogs in the clips above. The Florida-Ohio State BCS game is on January 8 at 8:15 p.m. Monday, Jan. 8th, 3:30 p.m. This is gameday!!! Finally it's here and so are we.....outside the stadium right everywhere....although Ohio State outnumbers the gator fans 10-1----hands in the air search of tix.....a thousand bucks per easy and going up..better find a nice person ready to unload if you want in. Saw Jags linebacker and former Gator Mike Oeterson here...came down with a bunch of friends.....and is ready to watch his alma mater. Also saw former kicker Judd Davis. Someone told me they saw Shane Matthews so plenty of Gator fans and alum and former players making the trip. We'll try to blog during the game. Should be fun. See ya on the tube beginning at 5 p.m. and running all the way until 8 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 7th--5:35PM just a quick couple of both coaches hold final press conferences today..first, Jim Tressel and then Urban Meyer---in between both pressers....the two spent a few minutes together posing in front of the national championship trophy....bottom line both coaches are getting anxious...Urban says the physical work is in but calls it "friday" of game week...Jim Tressel calls this a "special game for those that are playing for their school for the last time".... don't forget Sports Final tonight at 11:20 pm..we'll go in depth on tomorrow night's national title game... Sunday, 1:00 a.m. EST What a busy day... from sight seeing to covering the Gators to doing some live shots to ending up with some blogging. I think the Glendale/Phoenix/Scottsdale area is almost too competitive with each other. For example, we went to Phoenix today and had lunch at the baseball stadium over looking left field which was pretty cool. But the downtown area, which when we stayed there 11 years ago, was pretty empty today. That’s because Glendale has football and hockey and Scottsdale seems to be where all the Gator Nation is hanging out. Tickets are still going for more than $1,000. On to football, Urban Meyer has his imprint on his team. He had them on the practice field for more than four hours Saturday. The reason why, he let all 21 of his seniors address the team individually. They were suppose to be done around 4:45 est. but didn’t wrap up until after 6 p.m. Coach’s final press conference is coming up later today. Good night from Glendale. Saturday, Jan.6, 10:05 AM The countdown continues--fans will begin pouring in to the area today from both Ohio and Florida...Scottsdale,Arizona seems to be the hot spot where folks will gather to eat, drink and party....I got a chance yesterday to spend some time with the local kids who are playing in the game..From Nease's Tim Tebow, to Fletcher's Kyle Jackson to First Coast's Reggie Lewis there are about a dozen or so kids who we used to show regularly on Sideline that are getting ready for the game of their lives...Gators have final practice today,walk thru tomorrow and then its finally game time...can't wait.. Friday Jan 5 -- 4 p.m. EST Nothing quite like media day. Every single player from the Gators and Buckeyes available for an interview. They put 60 minutes on the scoreboard and off we go. Here's some of my observations: Gators seem to be more loose, don't know if that's a good or bad thing, but they were definitely having a good time, taking pictures, getting video, and even conducting interviews of their own. The only Gator football player missing was Reggie Nelson, whose mother passed away over the holidays. Urban has kept him off limits to the media and thanked the media today for keeping their distance from his All-American defensive back. As for "Urban myth" here's a couple. No he doesn't carry a Buckeye with him everywhere he goes. And no, when Ohio State coaches visited Gainesville last spring he did not poke his head into the meeting room and say, "You in the big one." And if you want to get colorful about this one the seats in the stadium are scarlet and gray but remember last Monday, Boise St. wore the Orange and Blue. Saw all the local kids today including Maurice Wells, the former Sandalwood running back who is at Ohio State. He said he's been talking trash with fellow Saint Jamar Hornsby, a Gator defensive back. "He's enjoying his time in Columbus and looking to play more next year," said Wells. More from media day later. We have TV to do.

Friday, 12:35 a.m. EST Day 2 is in the books. Went over to Tempe today. It's the site of the Fiesta fiasco from 11 years ago. In fact, I think I started shaking with fear when I saw Sun Devil stadium. Just a reminder Nebraska 62 Florida 24 and no that wasn't Tommie Frazier who just scored again. Thank goodness this year's game is in a different venue over in Glendale. But, you can bet there will be plenty of Ohio State fans in attendance. Also did some investigating on ticket prices, one broker locally tells me it's $1100 a ticket and going up. He says there were 5,000 extra fans from the Miami/Ohio State game who didn't get in so if your a Gator fan coming from the Sunshine State without a ticket, bring some pieces of paper with the Benjamin Franklin on it because it's going to cost you a lot of them. Media day coming later on Friday. Last chance to talk to all players involved. We'll be on the radio on ESPN 1460 from 10 a.m. - Noon EST. Talk to you tomorrow.

Thursday: 2:30 p.m. EST Greetings from the Valley of the Sun! I feel much better after 6 hours of shut eye. Did some radio this morning on ESPN 1460AM and also UF player interviews. Do they know something we don't? They do seem to be a very confident bunch but as Gators quarterback Chris Leak said, "Ohio State will be the best team we have played this season." Still Dallas Baker added, "If you want me to pick someone, I'll go with the Gators. It would be stupid of me to pick Ohio St." The other thing that struck me from the player interviews is their respect for coach Urban Meyer. I don't get the feeling they love him, but I can tell they really enjoy playing for him because they believe in him. "He really stresses family," UF center Steve Rissler said. "He has changed people's lives, guys who wouldn't have amounted to anything will now be playing in the NFL." More to come later....

12:55 a.m. EST I always get a kick out of folks who say to me you are so lucky to get to go to things like the national championship game, and they are right, I am truly blessed, however, right now it's 1 a.m. eastern and I am at KPNX-TV in Phoenix finishing up a day that started at 430 this morning. We left Jax early this morning and arrived in Phoenix this afternoon. The Gators practiced at Scottsdale Community College today and after this practice is off limits. We did our live shots outside the stadium that will host the BCS National Championship game. It is a beautiful venue for football but it's over in Glendale which is on the other side of Phoenix----enough, I'm going back to the hotel and hit the rack. We'll talk Florida football tomorrow. Related article:
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