Monday, October 29, 2012

What October taught us about football

The last Saturday in October has passed and for Gator fans, it was a bitterly disappointing day. Last month I wrote that I would wait until the end of October to see what I thought of this team because we had been 4-0 coming out of September for the last three seasons and well two of them were less than stellar finishes! Well now that the October gauntlet is finished for this year, where do I stand on this Gator team and football in general?

I have to admit that this Gator team is better than I anticipated. But I think our weaknesses finally showed up this past Saturday. It would be easy to say this now, but anyone who has been around me this entire month knows that I have been saying the same thing even when we were winning. We are not a top 5 team. We just don't have enough offense playmakers. We have a top 5 defense. Our kicking game is solid, maybe the best duo in the land. Our return teams are not where they should be and our offense is one dimensional. I have said it all along, if you want to beat Florida, stop the run at all costs. This past weekend Georgia did just that. They loaded the box, played man to man coverage and brought the safeties and dared Jeff Driskell and our receivers to beat them. And the results speak for themselves. Our line is not good enough to hold up under the rush. Our receivers can't win enough battles on the edges. And Driskell is not ready to win the games on his quick decision making skills. I thought the Georgia coaches' won the day over our staff who couldn't seem to fix our protection for the second week in a row on the left edge.

But even with six turnovers, the Gators still had a chance to tie the game late which is way ahead of where we were last year at this time. The Gators have won at least two other games they could have lost in SCAR and LSU during the October stretch. I thought we we would be at least 6-2 or maybe even 5-3 at this point in the season, so being 7-1 and ranked in the top 10 is a huge bonus. The Gators have a real chance to finish the season no worse than 10-2 heading into the bowl game. Yep, I don't think we will beat the clown college out west this year. We have a chance with our defense, but I just don't see how our offense will be able to score enough to win this one in Tally. I hope I am wrong on this one, but I don't see it happening. There is still a chance to play for the SEC title if Georgia flops against Ole Miss or Auburn but if that happens then bacon will be falling from the sky next!

I think Alabama is the best team in the land. It hurts me to even write that, but I think it's true. Still the Tide will get it's first real test this weekend in Baton Rouge. Those Cajuns get nastier at night after a full day of partying at Red Stick! The best team doesn't always win there! But if the Tide can survive that one, the only other team on their schedule that can beat the Tide is the Tide! At least it looks good for another SEC national championship and the Tide boosters look like geniuses for paying Satan, I mean Saban, all that money. And that is saying something to make the Tide boosters look smart!

Kansas State, Notre Dame, and Oregon all act like they want a shot at Bama for the title, but be careful what you ask for. I think all three would be good teams in the SEC. They all have a punchers chance in a one game, winner take all situation. But give any of them the schedule Florida plays or South Carolina plays or even LSU plays and none of them are undefeated either at this point. That is why the SEC is the toughest conference in the land. Try playing three top ten teams in a month and see if one of them doesn't get you. Any team in the top 25 can beat one top ten ranked team, but trying doing it three out of four weeks and mix in there games against a couple of other ranked opponents and see where you land!

The best story may be Charlie Strong and the Louisville Cardinals. They have come from behind, struggled, yet they still remain unbeaten. Charlie has been a friend for a long time and I couldn't be happier for him. He waited patiently for the chance to be a head coach at the right place and it seems he has found it in Louisville.  He and Vickie and the girls are great people and I hope the folks at UL know what a treasure they have in the Strong family and embrace them. Their love for the Lord is a testimony for others to see and the fact that they are an inter-racial family makes it an even better story!

One final point that will make some Gator fans mad at me is that whatever you feel about how he left, the fact remains that Urban Meyer can flat out coach. He and his staff just find ways to get it done no matter where he has been and who has been on his staff. That makes me think it is the man at the top who is making it happen. I hope his health lasts because that is the only thing that will prevent him from being one of the best coaches of all time. I don't think he will last long enough to rival Joe Pa or Bowden, but he just wins wherever he coaches. The whole idea of balance seems to be gone from his life again and that is a sad statement, but if he can find it and last in the profession, he has a chance to be remembered as one of the greatest coaches in NCAA history. The first hate mail will come from my wife who calls him Urban Liar by the way!

November will clear things up for everyone. We will know if Bama can run the table along with K state and Oregon and Notre Dame. We may have plenty to discuss about the BCS and how it got it wrong or right. We may wish we had the playoff this year if all four are undefeated or they all may lose a game and then chaos will ensue with all the really good one loss teams out there. But after the Thanksgiving turkey has put us in a food induced slumber, we will all be wishing it was September again and college football was just starting rather than coming to an end!

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