Category Archives: Florida Gators
Yes, I know this is like five days late.
As the urgent post stated last night, we had to get the bad taste of the Nicholls embarrassment out of our collective mouths. Let’s talk about it and move on.
What Happened with Georgia
Beat Nicholls 26-24, and it was precisely that ugly. Who said Mark Richt was gone?
What Happened with the SEC
- 30 for 30: the Florida/Kentucky rivalry. This is a game played by unpaid 18-22 year-olds and an oblong football. 30 straight wins at ANYTHING is amazing.
- Sidebar: Kentucky is a straight trash fire.
- South Carolina’s SEC East lead was short-lived, huh? Mississippi State takes a commanding lead in the SEC West with a 27-14 win over the Cocks.
- Tennessee beat Va Tech 45-24, but were they any good? Josh Dobbs threw for 91, Kamara and Hurd rushed for a combined 108…Tennessee has recovered 10 of 12 total fumbles in their two games this year. I bet that luck will even out.
- LSU changed quarterbacks, Nick Saban was mad at a 28-point win over the defending CUSA champ, Ole Miss, A&M, Auburn, Vandy, and Mizzou beat hapless opponents.
- Arkansas won a wild one against TCU, and it was the best game of the week. When you have a 6’10 O-lineman forcing overtime with a blocked kick, you get giffed.
What Else Was Fun
Got to start with the snark alert: Penn State lost a game to Pitt, who should not be their rival. Setting up the game this coming week in which they…honor Joe Paterno.
Get out of your asses and a little less tonedeaf, Penn State.
Beyond that…gotta be real with y’all. Did not get to watch much non-SEC/UNC football. Oklahoma State got hosed, weird things happened after midnight.
Back in an hour with some analysis on a much more fun week 3.
The Teams that Matter, Ranked
- Alabama…go Rebs.
- Florida State?? This ish could change by 2:30pm tomorrow.
- Ohio State.
- Houston. I’m watching them make me regret that pick right now.
- Michi…gahhhheffit. I used to like Michigan before Jim Harbaugh got there.
- Clemson, with some downward momentum. Like, a lot.
- Ole Miss…go Rebs.
- Stanford, who could lose 3 games in the next month.
I don’t think Tennessee, Michigan State, Texas, Louisville, Notre Dame, or Georgia merit mention here.
More rambling thoughts and reactions from Week 1’s stacked slate.
It was a pretty strange week in SEC country. Alabama did what it does every year, and asserted its dominance right out of the gate by dominating a name program (beat USC 52-6). One can always hold out hope for the perfect storm of miscues and the Tide loss, but true freshman Jalen Hurts is probably the most talented QB to play at Bama in the Nick Saban era. And he’ll be there for at least the next three years. Yikes. They outgained SC by almost 300 yards, had near-perfect balance on offense, and were dominant on defense.
Outside of that, Georgia and Texas A&M probably tie for the most impressive week 1’s. A&M has a defense for once, but with a questionable offense still likely has a 9-win ceiling at most. Based on what I saw with the Dawgs, they SHOULD be considered the favorites in the SEC East. Here’s hoping they can shore up the rough edges before the big game in Oxford in 17 days.
The rest of the SEC was, quite frankly, trash. Mississippi State literally CLANGA’d the goalpost to lose to South Alabama, 21-20. Florida couldn’t get anything going on offense and beat UMass 24-7. Tennessee should’ve lost to App State. Arkansas should’ve lost to Louisiana Tech.
Among the impressive losers, Ole Miss’ first half against FSU was SCARY good. Second half was typical Ole Miss. Auburn was probably most impressive in forcing an off night from Deshaun Watson and having a couple of chances to win late.
LSU was not an impressive loser. For the first time, I understand the “Fire Les Miles” camp.
The most hilarious things transpired with the remnants of the SEC East. South Carolina and Vandy proved that, while stubborn, are going to have to drag teams into rockfights to compete in-conference this year (they won’t). Mizzou…only gave up 26 to West Virginia? Scoring 11 registers as an improvement over their vs. P5 points per game a year ago. And Kentucky. Oh, Kentucky. The offensive coordinator they fired this offseason put up the final 34 points CONSECUTIVELY in a hilarious 44-35 Southern Miss win.
If Tennessee and Florida don’t get it together, Georgia had freaking better return to Atlanta in December.
Teams I Like Better Than Others, Ranked:
- Alabama– self explanatory.
- Florida State– I was ready to bury them as they fell behind 28-6, Deondre Francois looked completely lost, and the defense looked even more lost. A couple of Chad Kelly mistakes let the Noles back in, and the rest was history. Second-half FSU is the second-best team in the country.
- Ohio State– drubbed Bowling Green 77-10, which is fine. If they can take advantage of Oklahoma’s unwillingness to run the ball on Sept. 17, I’ll call them a playoff lock.
- Houston– not their fault that OU didn’t run the ball.
- Clemson– the defense (probably because Auburn) was stout, and Deshaun Watson won’t be that off again all season.
- Stanford– Pac-12 is hot garbage.
- Ole Miss– yeah, they lost, but the Landsharks were SWARMING and the offense was unstoppable…for a half. If they can put that together consistently (they probably can’t!) they can still be a problem.
- Michigan– (begrudgingly)
- Louisville– Lamar Jackson had 8 first-half TD’s. Sure, the opponent was Charlotte, but…damn.
Cool Things That Happened:
This is the coolest sports thing I’ve ever seen: Nebraska took a delay of game to honor fallen punter Sam Foltz. And Fresno State declined the penalty.
— Tanner Hartman (@t_hartman10) September 4, 2016
Texas and Notre Dame played an amazing game. Shane Buechele and new OC Sterlin Gilbert looked like a possible answer for Texas’ long-running QB problems, and Charlie Strong got carried off the field for the second time in under a year. He doesn’t deserve the criticism he’s gotten for cleaning up Mack Brown’s program, and he may be turning the corner. Or not. You never know with Texas these days.
FCS UPSETS! Virginia’s 37-20 loss to Richmond was too predictable. Washington State lost to Portland State to open last year, and finished 9-4. They followed that template with a loss to Eastern Washington. Northern Iowa ruined Matt Campbell’s debut at Iowa State 25-20 (and makes you wonder if the Big XII expansion rumors can include relegation of ISU and Kansas). EVEN THOUGH KANSAS WON A FOOTBALL GAME, knocking off fellow FCS member Rhode Island.
Back later today as we start looking towards week 2 (which is garbage, by the way).
|1-Sep||7:30||Tennessee (-20.5)||App State (+20.5)||Tennessee (-20.5)|
|1-Sep||8:00||Vanderbilt (-4)||South Carolina (+4)||South Carolina (+4)|
|3-Sep||12:00||Oklahoma (-12)||Houston (+12)||Oklahoma (-12)|
|3-Sep||12:00||Mississippi State (-28)||South Alabama (+28)||South Alabama (+28)|
|3-Sep||12:00||West Virginia (-10)||Missouri (+10)||West Virginia (-10)|
|3-Sep||3:30||Texas A&M (-3)||UCLA (+3)||UCLA (+3)|
|3-Sep||3:30||LSU (-10)||Wisconsin (+10)||LSU (-10)|
|3-Sep||4:00||Arkansas (-26)||Louisiana Tech (+26)||Louisiana Tech (+26)|
|3-Sep||5:30||Georgia (-2.5)||North Carolina (+2.5)||Georgia (-2.5)|
|3-Sep||7:30||Kentucky (-6)||Southern Miss (+6)||Kentucky (-6)|
|3-Sep||7:30||Florida (-36.5)||Umass (+36.5)||Florida (-36.5)|
|3-Sep||8:00||Alabama (-11)||USC (+11)||Alabama (-11)|
|3-Sep||9:00||Clemson (-7)||Auburn (+7)||Clemson (-7)|
|3-Sep||2:00||Washington (-26.5)||Rutgers (+26.5)||Rutgers (+26.5)|
|5-Sep||8:00||Florida State (-4)||Ole Miss (+4)||Florida State (-4)|
Watch the video with some of my comrades as well.
Be sure to subscribe to my real gig podcast (The Investing Podcast) on iTunes to watch me demolish these fools all season long.
That’s all I got/
Of all the almost-ness in the SEC East, the almost-ness of Florida should be the most alarming. Georgia fans won’t like hearing that any more than I like writing it, but the Gators really aren’t that far off. But the narrative around the program is somehow lumped into that of Georgia and Tennessee despite more cause for optimism.
Will Muschamp was not a great coach. No one (except maybe the administration at South Carolina) would make that argument. But he took his team to a BCS Bowl in his second season at Florida. He went 5-3 against his two biggest rivals (Georgia and Tennessee). He never lost to the Volunteers (I guess we’ve already decided that Florida’s 11-game winning streak in that rivalry is just finished?). He beat the tar out of a top-10 Georgia team just weeks before getting fired. He drew an insanely difficult schedule. He played 18 ranked opponents during his tenure. LSU is on the schedule every year; Alabama was on there twice; FSU was peaking; etc.
Did he succeed at the level Florida fans expect? Obviously not. But he had more success than he gets credit for. He averaged seven wins per season at Florida. Tennessee has had exactly one season with more than seven wins since Fulmer was canned.
But I’m not making a case for Muschamp’s Gators. I’m (reluctantly) making a case for Jim McElwain’s Gators. Because guess what: that guy won 10 games in his first season and won the division in question.
It was rarely pretty, but he found ways to win ugly ball games in the same way Butch Jones finds ways to lose them. He won on the road in a close game against Kentucky. He won at home in dramatic fashion against Tennessee. He beat the ever-living tar out of Ole Miss (ranked third in the nation at that point). He crushed Mizzou on the road. He embarrassed Georgia and all but ended Richt’s tenure. He survived against Vanderbilt and South Carolina.
The wheels came off late in the year. No denying that. Getting blown-out by Florida State, losing to Alabama in the conference championship game and losing a bowl in embarrassing fashion is no way to go out. But know what’s worse than losing an SEC Championship game? Not appearing in one. So score that one to Mac’s tally.
Of the three teams in contention in the East, Florida was the best last season—by record, by divisional finish, by head-to-head competition, you name it. And coaching staff stability should benefit Florida where it might hurt Georgia. And a relatively recent history of winning (2012 BCS Bowl, 2015 SEC Championship Game) is something Tennessee players can’t relate to. Seriously. The last time Tennessee went to a BCS-caliber bowl (not sure what they’re called now) was the Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2000.
Florida is almost almost a good team. And compared to the rest of the East, Florida might actually look good.
That’s all I got/
You may notice the lack of coverage of SEC Media Days this year. Two reasons: 1) we’re STILL trying to get back into football writing mode; 2) you shouldn’t give a rat’s ass about SEC Media Days. Nick Saban said it best yesterday, when he said (paraphrasing):
You saw our spring game. You know our depth charts. Everything we talk about here, you’ve already written about.
The little man is honest, yet deplorable. The best and worst voice in college football. And absolutely right.
As proof of the uselessness of SEC Media Days, I present this tidbit: the Southern media has correctly picked the SEC champ 3 times in the past 20 years. Sorry, Alabama, you’re doomed.
The SEC East projections were nothing to shout about, but given the above statistic, a fun exercise will be to discuss how they can be absolutely right, or dead wrong.
#SECMD16 SEC East Predictions:
7. South Carolina
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) July 14, 2016
So…the bottom four is interesting in that Vanderbilt and Kentucky are on the rise, and the fallout from that is dropping three of the division’s last six champs to the cellar. But this is the SEC East. Mizzou won after being picked last in 2013, and 4th in 2014. How can everyone win this/blow this thing?
They win if: They win the close games that they showed the proclivity to…not win last year. They should’ve beaten Oklahoma, Florida, and Arkansas (and only lost at Alabama by 5), return their skill talent, 4 starters on the O-line, and most of a defense which should improve under Bob Shoop (sideways glance toward Daniel Palmer).
They finish last if: Josh Dobbs is still too conservative, injuries blow up the OL, and Shoop does Shoopy things. The schedule is brutal enough– they open SEC play with Florida, at Georgia, at A&M, Bama. Their confidence could be shot after an 0-4 start, making games with the bottom four from the East tough.
They’re gonna be fine, probably.
They win if: They find a quarterback, a playmaker (in the McIlwain/Kiffin ‘get our best guy the damn ball sense) and their defense remains a Florida defense. They have the inherent advantage of being completely in Tennessee’s head.
They finish last if: Luke Del Rio is no better than Treon Harris, losses of Jonathan Bullard, Vernon Hargreaves, and that dude the Falcons took in the 1st round make the defense take a step back, and their streaks against Kentucky (29) and Tennessee (11) end in succession in September.
They win if: Kirby Smart makes a seamless transition on the defensive side of the ball, Jacob Eason makes a seamless transition from high school, and Chubb/Michel make seamless transitions from injury.
They finish last if: Honestly, more feasible than the first two. The 3-4 is an awkward fit in year 1, the secondary’s great numbers from 2015 are based on the crap quality of passing teams they played last year, Chubb and Michel never make it to full speed, and no quarterback establishes himself as even average. Kirby Smart is the next Will Muschamp.
Kentucky (aka the point where you scoff, but in so doing you forget the premise of this exercise)
They win if: They navigate a hellacious road schedule (Florida, Bama, Mizzou, Tennessee) because Drew Barker and Eddie Gran (new hotshot OC) are the truth with everyone else on the offense returning. The defense is good enough to hold people under 30.
They finish last if: The brutal string of 5-7’s wears on the program and they tank. The tough road slate means winnable home games, but South Carolina and Vanderbilt just prove better. The Mississippi State game won’t be on CBS like it was two years ago.
They win if: Trump wins the Presidency. Their defense is going to be legitimately good, so the offense just has to be 2014 Missouri good. Winning the home opener vs. South Carolina buoys them forward through the SEC-East heavy first half of the season, as Florida, Kentucky, and Georgia all fall victim.
They finish last if: They Vandy. Their offense is going to be heinous.
They win if: See 2014. Charles Harris is the next Sam/Ealy/Golden/those dudes. Drew Lock goes from mediocre to efficient. The young offensive line gels.
They finish last if: The players strike again, the offense maintains the status quo, and Barry Odom is not cut out to be a head coach, SEC or otherwise.
They win if: Coach Boom is who we thought he was six years ago when he went to Florida. He actually learned from his mistakes, and he and Kurt Roper manage to piece together an amazing offense to pair with a defense that goes peak Muschamp-y.
They finish last if: Their punter is one of two featured players in Phil Steele’s spread (check). They open with losses at Vandy and Mississippi State, and can’t hold the fort at home vs. any of A&M, Georgia, Tennessee, or Mizzou. That…all seems pretty plausible.