Category Archives: Florida Gators
Oh hey! We don’t know what happened, but for some reason the WordPress server hasn’t accepted any of our posts since October 15 or so…
Its that time of year again. The one where jean shorts, puking strangers, and creative drinking reign supreme. Where the quality of the game itself is inversely correlated its stakes. Where, for Georgia fans not born on the I-95 corridor, noses get very sensitive to storm drains, paper factories, and the nastiness of the state of Florida.
Seriously, going to The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party* is a feat in alcoholism and conditions that would make the Brazil Olympics blush. Why do it? Because you have NO idea what’s going to happen.
*- yes, it’ll always be the cocktail party.
Florida is a 7.5-point favorite in this year’s iteration, an alarmingly comforting number for the Georgia fan still reeling (as our entire website is) from the inexcusable Vandy loss. 7.5 points is two turnovers, a miracle at Mizzou, or patented Georgia/Florida weirdness away from a Georgia upset. And I’m calling for it now, because this rivalry is just stupid enough to lend itself to that result.
So how, stupid blogger-by-night sportswriter that I am, come up with such a pick?
- Georgia wins turnovers. Luke Del Rio is at his third university. Austin Appleby couldn’t cut it at Purdue. Georgia’s defense, meanwhile? Pretty damn good! Sell out against the run, pressure the quarterbacks, and force them to beat Georgia’s ballhawking DB’s 1-on-1. Or, any one of Lorenzo Carter/Natrez Patrick/Roquan Smith/Davin Bellamy/D’Andre Walker could go all Jarvis on it. For review:
- Which means, don’t turn the ball over. Florida’s defense is, outside of Ann Arbor and Tuscaloosa, probably the best in the country. Their secondary may be the best now that Eddie Jackson is out at Alabama. So, do what the Jim Chaney offense has been incredibly adept at: playing way too conservatively, running our running backs’ heads into a brick wall, and finding creative ways to get Isaiah McKenzie the ball in space. 250 yards and some well-executed punts are all we need.
- The special teams gods still owe us. Self-explanatory.
Convinced yet? No? Good. Neither am I. Try explaining the run massacre of 2014, the decision to start Faton Bauta last year (and run him exactly twice), or the game in 2013 becoming close.
Georgia could win this on safeties and field goals…or some karmic interference from Florida stonewalling LSU and causing 10 days of handwringing throughout the SEC.
For some reason that defies even the shaky logic presented above, I think they will.
I am not making light of Hurricane Matthew, and am not (intentionally) showing my bias.
As has been discussed throughout SEC country this week, Florida and LSU failed to play a football game last weekend. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley mandated that the Georgia/South Carolina game not happen on Saturday, and it was played on a beautiful Sunday. Notre Dame/N.C. State and Virginia Tech/UNC were played in torrential downpours. And every model had the games right in the Carolinas by Saturday.
So why didn’t the Florida/LSU game happen, and what happens if it (likely doesn’t) happen later?
It is abundantly clear that LSU was down to play this game. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, they moved a game from Baton Rouge to Tempe. The Tigers had a game with Tennessee move to a Monday to avoid another storm. Oh, and just last year, they agreed with South Carolina to play a game in Baton Rouge and donate all proceeds to flooding relief victims. Suffice it to say, they’ve been down this road before.
Florida, too, has been in this situation, as lightning caused their 2014 showdown with Idaho to be delayed, delayed, and finally cancelled. That’s fine, LSU cancelled a game with McNeese State for similar reasons last year.
BUT LSU MADE EVERY EFFORT TO PLAY THIS GAME.
Tigers AD Joe Alleva came out on the offensive in the wake of Thursday’s cancellation, stating that overtures had been made to play the game in Gainesville earlier or later in the day or week. No dice. In Baton Rouge? No, Florida found that unfair. In Mobile? Birmingham? Nashville? New Orleans? No, no, no, and no.
Even from an outside (and again, unbiased) perspective, Jeremy Foley stonewalled until arrangements to play this game wouldn’t happen.
Ironically, safety was the issue. I say ‘ironically’, because his solution kept his players in Gainesville, and because his ‘solution’ is to have LSU play three straight road games in 12 days at the end of the season.
Oh, and in the process take away the home game revenue of LSU’s last home game, Nov. 19, against South Alabama. You may recall that Baton Rouge had some flooding this summer, and their economy is in need of a home game. From Steven Godfrey’s article on the matter:
“I’d say for restaurants like ours in the community, it’s upwards of a $100,000 loss in sales compared to a normal Friday through Sunday,” said Ruffin Rodrigue, a former LSU player and owner of Ruffino’s restaurant in Baton Rouge.
“Of that number, a lot of that is money going directly to our employees, most of whom are coming off the flood. We’re trying to catch up right now. This is the last home game of the season. It’s senior night. That means it’s a homecoming for a lot of fans and families.”
His Ruffino’s location took on no water in the flood, but the Lafayette location did. A 9 p.m. post-flood curfew killed business across the city for almost a month.
“We were open for those three weeks, but no one could get here. The streets were flooded. Our sales went down 80 percent. But hey, still gotta pay your taxes and insurance, except there’s no cash coming in. So, everyone got really, really hurt. We need these home games to make good,” Rodrigue said.
“These home games are critical to getting our head above water, so to speak.”
So, we’re all in agreement that Florida has the egg on its face here, right?
Well, so does the SEC.
Mike Slive was critical in getting the aforementioned games to happen, as the SEC rules state that the commissioner can act as a facilitator to make agreeable concessions in incidents such as this. Greg Sankey? 0 for 1. By not taking a hard stance with Foley on LSU’s reasonable compromises, a failure in leadership up top throws the whole SEC season’s validity into question, because…
What could this impact?
The. Whole. Damn. SEC. Race.
As currently constituted, Florida and LSU will finish with 7 SEC games each. At 2-1, Florida’s remaining path includes Mizzou, Georgia, Arkansas and South Carolina. Logically played out, Florida should finish that schedule at 6-1, with a lone loss to Tennessee.
Tennessee, you ask? Oh, they play Bama this week. They finish with an easier schedule than that, but one can assume they finish 6-2.
Your SEC East champion based on the SEC’s rules? The Florida Gators.
You could run a similar hypothetical in the West, but its hard to see LSU going through Ole Miss, Alabama, Texas A&M, and Arkansas unscathed. (Although, COACH O!)
With its most daunting challenge ahead, and its starting quarterback out, Florida made zero effort to make this game happen. Until it was cancelled. Then, they leaned on Sankey to make something happen. These things included:
- Asking Georgia to move the Cocktail Party up a week so they could host LSU on Oct. 29. Jacksonville declined.
- Asking Texas A&M to move their Thanksgiving tilt with LSU to Thanksgiving Saturday, thus giving LSU a week’s rest between three tough road games. Both A&M and LSU declined.
- All of this, too, assuming that LSU would sacrifice its Senior Day game, pay off South Alabama (guarantee: $1.5 million), and come to Gainesville on Nov. 21. Florida’s guarantee for Presbyterian, by the way? $500,000.
To Foley’s credit, he is going out with a bang. He has yet to make one concession that would risk the Florida Gators football team, which I guess is his job. In so doing, though, he has undermined the SEC offices and pissed off every member institution in the conference.
Goddamnit, I hate Florida.
We don’t know if these games will happen, we won’t know when these kick times (or locations) are accurate, and I’m missing them all for a wedding anyway!
This has happened since I pulled up the ole WordPress to post this:
BREAKING: #LSU‘s game against Florida has been canceled, a source tells The Advocate.
It will not be rescheduled. #Gators
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) October 6, 2016
CONFIRMED: Georgia and South Carolina will play at the @GeorgiaDome Saturday. Coverage at 8:30. Kick at 8:41. Ticket email forthcoming.
— UGA Special Teams (@UGASpecialTeams) October 6, 2016
Word to the wise: don’t believe any scheduling tweets til Brett McMurphy or someone posts them, although UGA Special Teams has never let us down before…
What should you be watching for this weekend?
Definitely Watch This
- Texas vs. #20 Oklahoma, noon, FS1: BRING BACK THE GOLDEN HAT! This should be a 55-45 game, so naturally it’ll be a low-scoring and weird affair at the Texas Fairgrounds.
LSU at #18 Florida, noon, ESPN: COACH O……nope.(see above)
- #9 Tennessee at #8 Texas A&M, 3:30, CBS: Step 1: listen to the DudeYouPodcast. Step 2: build up the Tennessee hate. Step 3: GIGEM
- #25 Virginia Tech at #17 UNC, 3:30, ABC/ESPN2: Va Tech is still very sneaky good, UNC has Mitch Trubisky and no defense, and this game will be played in a monsoon (as of now).
- #5 Washington at Oregon, 7:30, FOX: Oregon has won 11 straight in the series, and has a chance to end the Pac-12’s CFP hopes before the weather gets consistently below 80 degrees. And, Washington is good.
- #23 Florida State at #10 Miami, 8, ABC: Big game Mark Richt. We’ll see. This is your appointment watch of the day– either as a self-hating Georgia fan or a curious Georgia fan.
Maybe Keep an Eye On It
- #3 Clemson at Boston College (Friday), 7:30, ESPN: If Deshaun Watson keeps turning it over, this could get…weird?
- Indiana at #2 Ohio State, 3:30, ESPN: Indiana, as #teamchaos, beat Michigan State on a “leaping” penalty last week. They had a reasonable shot at both OSU and Michigan last year. Ohio State hasn’t been challenged. Just sayin’, keep an eye on it.
- #1 Alabama at #16 Arkansas, 7, ESPN: Am I the only one who thinks Arkansas is WAY overrated? Here’s hoping not!
- Georgia at South Carolina, 7:30, SECN: May or may not be played as of the time of this posting, but a monsoon bowl guarantees a 7-2 win on a botched shotgun snap for somebody.
Other things of note
#21 Colorado visits USC in a weird game of “is Colorado legit/is USC shit”–played on the impossible-to-get Pac-12 network.
Purdue and Illinois both lost to Western Michigan (do NOT watch this), and Vanderbilt and Kentucky play the SEC’s version of that exact game at 4 on SECN (do NOT watch this either).
#6 Houston has a tough task at Navy if you get CBSSN.
Your late-night #PACtion special? A good one, as Washington State travels to #15 Stanford in a game of COMPLETELY 180-degree contrasting styles.
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).