Monday, December 04, 2006

I Just Can't Let It Go

Just for fun, I've decided to paste a number of quotes from a friend of mine who is a Florida booster. We'll call him "Unnamed Florida Booster" or UFB for short. The two of us usually exchange e-mails once or twice a week to discuss the games from the previous weekend. UFB is a very realistic fan, which is part of why I like corresponding with him; I generally feel smarter about the Gators after reading his e-mails, although I think he can sometimes be too critical, as we all are. Anyway, here are his thoughts on the Gators during the season; ask yourself if this sounds like the description of the second best team in the country:

November 13, 2006

I had heart palpitations on Saturday during the Florida-South Carolina game. The Gators are going to kill me if they don’t stop playing these games so close. Beating Spurrier was oh so sweet; I’m thankful for Meyer that he pulled it off... Unless Earl Everett and Brandon Siler get healthy before the SEC title game I’m not sure UF can stop Arkansas rushing attack.

November 6, 2006

Florida has won its first SEC East title in six year; so why do I feel guilty? Is it because our offense is so damn pedestrian? Is Spurrier’s lasting influence such that you only enjoy a victory if it was pretty and by a large margin? Granted Vandy has better athletes today than they did in the 1990’s, especially on offense, but I still think Florida has many more than the Commodores. Given our struggles to stay on the field on offense I now expect UF to have 3 losses when they arrive in Atlanta; they will lose to South Carolina and Florida State. I kid you not.

October 30, 2006

So why do I fee like I have to apologize to every Bulldog fan I meet for winning that game on Saturday? My word that was one ugly ass game! I think Stafford is going to be a great QB for UGA. He has a rocket for an arm and he can really run as well. If not for some dropped passes at key moments, UGA could have won that game.

The Gators offense is awful. That’s the only way I can describe it. Our passing game off play-action is decent but our drop-back passing is atrocious, mainly b/c the offensive line cannot protect Leak for 3 seconds. For all my Gators friends who are clamoring for the Gators to make the BCS title game all I have to say is, “Michigan or OSU would kill us”. And I really mean that.

To be honest with you I expect South Carolina to beat us in 2 weeks unless Meyer and the offense discover some magic. Charlie Strong’s record against Steve Spurrier as a defensive coordinator is terrible. We can win the game, but our offense will need to score 30 points to do so and I’m not sure they have that in them.

I hope you have a great week. I’ll spend mine worrying endlessly over Vandy b/c they too can beat us if our offense plays that badly in Nashville.

[Ed. Note: I added the bold and italics there because I find that quote to be fairly telling this morning.]

October 16, 2006

Leak is a 4th year starter. Are you telling me he isn't to blame for
not being able to tell when the defense is going to blitz? Are we the only team in college football that can't call an audible? Given our issue with penalties we would likely suffer one for doing so, but come on. The OL blocked the 5 guys who were accounted for; it's Leak's job to know where #6 is coming from.

Leak is no more capable of making reads and check-downs than Tim Tebow and he doesn't have the excuse of youth. No, I'm not advocating pulling Leak for Tebow but I sure as hell would understand why that decision was made. Frankly we need both of them to win a championship b/c Leak isn't man enough to do it on his own...

One of the analysts on ESPN2's coverage of the Florida-Auburn game said that "At best Chris Leak is a second day pick in the NFL draft. NFL scouts view him as a 6-foot version of Drew Bledsoe." I think the person was Todd McShay. I think he was being unfair to Drew Bledsoe.

Will Muschamp said after the game, "We noticed that he tends to lock on one guy. He also has trouble making multiple reads...if you pressure him, he makes mistakes...How does a senior quarterback, a three-year starter, throw the ball into the middle of the field like that?" Good question, Will.

In case you haven't picked up on it yet, I can't stand him. It has nothing to do with his race, creed, or religion but it has everything to do with what I see as a lack of toughness. You can't win an SEC Championship with a QB that has no stones; it could be argued that Leak never has had them although I think Ernie Sims probably knocked them loose on his 2nd quarter sack of Chris during the 2004 FSU-Florida game
in Tallahassee. If we make it too Atlanta it will be because we have Tebow to lean on when we need someone to "nut-up" as Urban Meyer says; you can't nut-up when you don't have nuts. If I'm being unfair, ask yourself this question, "What play has Chris Leak made this season that another QB could not have made?" I think the answer is none!

September 25, 2006

How do you amass 500+ yards of total offense and only get 26 points? Ask Urban Meyer. Geeez! That was ugly. UK does have a good QB though.

September 11, 2006

I know it was only UCF, but they were a bowl team in 2005. UF looked better on Saturday night than they have at anytime during Meyer’s tenure. Even with four turnovers by freshmen it was still an absolutely marvelous performance. With Tebow at QB the true “spread & shred” was featured prominently; I’m sure it will be shelved until 2006 b/c the bullets are for real this coming Saturday.

September 5, 2006

I like the Gators defense but I am concerned about the lack of pass rush from the backup DTs. With the starters being suspended we used the 2 and 3 guys and they were clearly ineffective. Pass rush from the DEs is only effective when the QB can’t simply step up to avoid the rush. I think Reggie Nelson may already be the 2nd or 3rd best safety ever to play at UF.

Conversely I am just as disappointed with the Gators offense. They can’t run the ball for sh*t out of the spread. Hopefully Meyer will stick to what he said last year "against the faster teams you will see more of a traditional I-formation look." Against FSU last season Florida ran the ball out of the I-formation on 12 plays and averaged more than 8 yards per carry; out of the spread the Gators averaged less than 2 yds per carry.

Leak looks good as does Dallas Baker, Cornelius, the freshman Percy Harvin, and a couple others. The young offensive line made some mistakes but overall excelled in pass blocking.

Maybe all of this can just be dismissed with "congrats Michael, you found a pessmistic Florida fan and you don't delete e-mails." That's possible, but personally, I think this is a reminder that few people, Florida fans included, thought that Florida looked like a really good team this year. I know that they won 12 games and won the SEC and 2002 Ohio State and all, but when there is so little to separate two one-loss teams, shouldn't the fact that a team just didn't look very good matter?


Anonymous said...

Looking objectively at Michigan's schedule I just can't come up with them having the better body of work (Mark May's favorite line).

Most of that blame can be placed squarely on the Big 10. Behind the top 3 is probably the weakest lineup the conference has produced in recent memory. Michigan went 7 weeks (from Wisky to OSU) without playing a top 25 team.

They have 2 quality wins. Both of those wins in some people's eyes may be highly flawed seeing that neither Wisconsin nor Notre Dame has 1 victory over a top 25 opponent.

The clearly have the better loss, but losing on the road to Auburn at night is not a terrible thing. Yes, AU did get beaten by Arkansas and UGA at home - but I believe they are also (could be wrong) the only team with 2 victories over BCS bowl teams.

It's a terrible thing to have to pick between two great teams. But if forced to, in my opinion, you have to look at each team's body of work, not which team seems like they beat Ball State or Western Carolina by more. That's just the way I would look at it as a voter, and I think the way most have.

Ed said...

"If there's a rematch, then that's fine, but if USC, Arkansas, or Florida win out and get the nod, then Michigan shouldn't have too many complaints."

Funny how that tune changed....

Michael said...

Good point, Ed. I was thinking about writing anothre post explaining why I was resigned and accepting of USC going at the start of the day and then angry and feeling slighted at the end of the day. I think it has to do with the fact that the voters were all picking Florida for the wrong reasons. They were inventing specious reasons to pick them, like a made-up preference against rematches. And the more I thought about it, the more I decided that Florida didn't really impress me this year and I watched them more than any team other than Michigan.

Unknown said...

Is Florida the better team? Mebbe not. But Chris Suellentrop has a good take on this at Slate. The BCS--isn't and shouldn't be--about putting the top two teams together.

Anonymous said...

Public Enemy Number 1 on 680 the fan this morning, Gary Danielson.

I thought he was actually pretty insightful. He said the usual stuff about Michigan's best wins being against very unproven teams, didn't know who would win in FL v. MICH on a neutral field but said that FL has earned it based on their schedule.

The most interesting point, he felt like Florida had a very good shot at winning, ironically because they remind him a lot of the '02 Buckeyes. They are far more battle tested than Ohio State and they know how to win close games. He made a good point in saying that OSU played what has turned out to be a Holiday Bowl Texas team with a first big-game QB and Michigan. And that is absolutely it, we don't really know how they'll respond if they are down 10 going into the 4th. But we do know that Florida can win that kind of game. I hadn't really thought about how putrid OSU's schedule was.

Of course he did go on to mention that if Troy Smith played his best game it would be tough to hang.

Ed said...

I understand, Michael. Specious reasoning abounds on every side when it comes to debates like this.

I don't think Michigan was robbed in this process. I am one of those who believes that the Wolverines had their shot at OSU. They lost and their chance is now gone. This is not the product of wishful thinking on my part. Believe me when I say that I would rather have Lloyd Carr hoist a trophy than Urban Meyer or Jim Tressel.

I realize that many Michigan fans scoff at the notion of "no second chances" for two reasons. First, because they are clearly the second best team in the country, and the championship game is about choosing the two best teams. I'm not sure if they "clearly" are, but I, like the Slate writer, believe that this can't be the only determining factor in choosing the teams. Let's imagine for a moment that the Big Ten had a Championship game like other conferences, and Michigan had lost an even closer game to Ohio State the second time around: 28-27 in a thriller. Should we have been treated to a third installment in the National Championship game? If not what would have changed?

Second, they believe that Michigan didn't really get their "shot", because they had to play at Columbus. I think that's an unfortunate line of argument. By that line of reasoning, of course, Michigan would have been victimized in the event of an undefeated Florida being selected to the championship game, given that an undefeated Florida would now get their shot at OSU on a neutral site, whereas an undefeated Michigan, of course, did not. Would anyone have protested, however? The fact is nearly every college football game is played on somebody's home field. We accept the results as they are, without speculating what would have happened in another location. Why start with this one?

Anyway, I understand your frustration, if only for the fact that Michigan fans were teased with the possibility of a rematch - when, if there was such an aversion to a rematch, they should have been voted 5th the very day after losing. But college football is ridiculous. Personally, I think the very old system of awarding the National championship before the bowl season would have worked quite nicely this year. Then we could sit back and enjoy the fine things in life, like watching Notre Dame getting bludgeoned to death in the Big Easy....