Monday, September 17, 2012

We've been here before!

The victory Saturday night in Knoxville was impressive in many ways. We haven't seen an offensive explosion like that in a couple of years against a good team. Although to be fair, we will have to wait and see if Tennessee is indeed a good team or if NC State is a really bad one! A win on rocky top is always special and seeing Neyland Stadium empty early is always a good deal! We haven't seen a staff make as many good second half adjustments as we did the last two weeks in a while either. I wish they could do a better job of planning for the first half, but at least they are making adjustments. That gives you the impression that there is a chance if you are at least close at the half.

But Gator fans don't need to get too far ahead of themselves lest we become like the Nole fans last year. We have been here before. We have been 3 and 0 before going into the Kentucky game. Just last year after the month of September we were 4-0 and highly ranked. Then the reality of October hit and we finished the month at 4-4 and out of the rankings. Granted, this year's October isn't as tough but it isn't as easy as September either. LSU looks as tough or tougher than last year so apart from a mighty effort by the Gators and a little luck on a bounce or two, I think that will be the first loss for the Gators. Next comes a road trip to the land of Country Music and the Vanderbilt Commodores. The Dores are better and we don't usually play well there, but we should win that game but it could go either way! Thankfully we have South Carolina in the Swamp and that should give us a home field advantage and if the Cock's starting QB continues to have shoulder issues, we have an even chance to win that one. The final game of the month is the annual party in Jacksonville verses the Dogs. Georgia is supposed to be loaded this year, but when is that not the case. They just never live up to hype. They won their once a decade game last year but I don't see them beating Florida this year if both teams remain healthy. Of course injuries to key players could throw all of those picks out the window either way.

So at the end of October we could be anywhere from 7-1 and in great shape to win the east or 4-4 and hoping for a bid to the champs sports bowl again! I lean more toward the upper end, but wouldn't be surprised to find ourselves at 6-2 or 5-3 even. This team just needs to keep growing up and in the end we will be fine. I think Gator fans will have a lot to celebrate in the next two years, but remember to stay humble Gator fans. We have a long way to go before anyone should make the claim that we are back!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What's Up Gator Fans?

Now that I am no longer officially connected with the University Athletic Association, I can say some things that I never could or chose not to before out of loyalty to the athletes and coaches that I worked with. And out of a general sense of loyalty to the Gators. Not that I am going to reveal any deep dark secrets. If I did know something, I would never tell, and I don't so you don't have to worry!

No, this is a general response to Saturday's game in the Swamp. Gator fans are supposed to be some of the best in the country. We make the swamp one of the toughest places to play in America with the noise and the heat and the...... Wait, did I say heat? There have been hotter games than this past Saturday, so if heat is what kept fans away, then something must have been wrong with the thermometer. Maybe if you fraternity guys and gals would stop trying to be Auburn or Alabama and give up the wearing of long sleeved button downed shirts and ties and semi-formal dresses then you wouldn't be so hot or have to take off your shirt completely before halftime! I promise that I heard a young lady sitting next to me for about five minutes before it was just too hot to stay say more about the colors the players were wearing than the game itself. What was worse was that the guy she was with was into that conversation more than the game. If you care more about a color scheme than a defensive scheme, please give the ticket to someone else and stay home and watch style shows on TV!

Now it was hot and I know that the students have to stand in the hot sun the entire game, but I did it this week as well. The point to the UAA is that if you want to keep the swamp as one of the most intimidating places to play, then you might want to take a look at improving the student side of the stadium as well. Maybe you should make sure the concessions don't run out of stuff before the end of the game and maybe create some easier access for entry and exit of the stadium. Some cold water fountains might help if they actually had enough water pressure to work to keep fans from over heating and leaving. And while you are improving stuff, why not start with the product on the field. This team better get better in a hurry or last year will mark the high water mark for Coach Boom! I don't think he can go 7-6 again and get a third year here. Hey the old Zooker did better than this and he got canned after three seasons! I am not ready to jump off the cliff yet, but I sure don't have any plans to be in Atlanta on the first weekend of December. Can you remember what it was like to pencil that trip in every year? Maybe we did get spoiled as Gator fans, but if you are going to sweat buckets every Saturday in September in the Swamp, it is a lot nicer to do so solely because of the Sun and not because you aren't sure you are going to beat Bowling Green.

If I get a ticket for the next game, you can bet I will be there again. And you can bet I will be there at the end of the game win or lose. Because deep down inside, I still believe the words that we sing at the end of the third quarter in the swamp. I just don't know if this generation of students and many of the alumni feel the same way! Prove me wrong against Kentucky and I will gladly say so. That goes for the team too!