Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Random College Football Thoughts

Because the season is a mere four-and-a-half months away!

  • I expect that the response from most Georgia fans will be something along the lines of "are you f***ing crazy!?!," but do we have a slight desire to see the Florida offense do well under John Brantley? The last two years have been defined for many of us by increasing nausea at the way that Tim Tebow has been sold by the media. (Insert standard disclaimer here that this is not Tebow's fault.) He's been portrayed as the best college football player of all-time and then when that wasn't enough, he turned into a combination of Dick Butkus and Mother Teresa. Those of us who got annoyed by this pointed out that Tebow was playing in a clever offensive system, he was surrounded by terrific talent, and most importantly, Florida was supported by a bad-ass defense. Tebow got credit for the work of Brandon Spikes, Joe Haden, Carlos Dunlap, and friends as if the defense would have turned to jello without their inspirational leader. (If there's a way for some in the media to direct credit away from the fast black guys with dreads, they'll do it.) Tebow was a great player and I'd be an idiot for claiming otherwise, but the credit he received was disproportionate. So wouldn't it be a pisser if the Florida offense doesn't miss a beat when Tebow is gone? Admit it, in your heart of hearts, the idea of watching Brantley put up big numbers against Tennessee and Alabama while Gary Danielson tries to make sense of the world will be entertaining. (Danielson will almost certainly claim that Florida changed the offense fundamentally and that his claim that the spread is dying was correct. He'll be wrong on both counts, but that's what the party line will be.)

  • Continuing on that theme, the summer is often the time in which I sort out my rooting preferences for the season, in part by sorting out feelings like "Tim Tebow annoyed me, but I never really disliked Florida, so what is my feeling on them now?" How do I feel about Alabama? I grew to like them last year because they were the counterweight to Florida, not unlike how I found myself in the bizarre position of briefly becoming a casual Cowboys fan in the early 90s because of my all-consuming disdain for the 49ers. (NFC West antipathy died hard.) Now? Does Bama need to be taken down a notch? Am I rooting for the Gators when they meet in Tuscaloosa? Another team about which I need to do some thinking is Notre Dame. The Irish are the alpha of my college football bete noires, but I do like and respect Brian Kelly. For once, I can imagine the customary "Return to Glory!" cover in SI and not be nauseated. And although Charlie Weis has gotten quite the comeuppance, a little tiny piece of me would be amused to see Notre Dame do well now that they have been liberated.

  • There's plenty of time to take the temperature of Georgia fans about expectations for the season, but I'll be interested to see how much improvement is expected on defense. There's a natural tendency to assume that replacing bad coaches with good ones is a panacea, but things don't always work out like that. Take Florida State when they replaced Fredo Bowden with Jimbo Fisher. The expectation was that Florida State would get better immediately, but like Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it took several years to root out the lingering effects of total incompetence. Removed from their most heated moments, I don't think that Georgia fans quite view Willie Martinez as being on par with Jeff Bowden, but the point remains.

  • I'm a little disappointed in Dr. Saturday that he could list the worst coaching hires of the decade and not find room for the name "Bill Callahan." Storied program in area bereft of talent that has succeeded on the basis of a unique offense ingrained into the state from the pee wee level up and a famed walk-on program that allows the team to practice the offense chooses to abandon that offense to bring in a thin-skinned NFL coach to run a complex passing game that has never worked in college. How did that not lead to success?


Tommy said...

Pundits like Danielson shouldn't be the story. Florida doing well with Brantley is ultimately more validation for Meyer, who hardly needs it.

Florida is an elite program. We get it. Them winning with a quarterback not named Tebow won't tell us anything we don't already know.

Jesse said...

What, nothing interests you regarding GT?

Anonymous said...

The most interesting SEC stories are in Auburn and Arkansas, not Florida.

1) Will Gene Chizik's incredible recruiting class contribute immediately? They kind of have to, because a number of the high profile commits were jucos. Will Cam Newton be Dwight Dasher +?

2) Will Bobby Petrino be able to make hay in Ryan Mallet's final season, or will he falter and be on a mildly warm seat in 2011? His recruiting hasn't been all that jake, and he hasn't brought that program back to even Houston Nutt's level.

Caelus said...

"...a little tiny piece of me would be amused to see Notre Dame do well now that they have been liberated."

The Horror, Grits, The Horror.

Hobnail_Boot said...

Re: #1.

Uh, no.

I hate Florida first and foremost. Tim Tebow is just a representative of UF, not the other way around. As such, my hope is not that his replacement succeeds, but rather fails so miserably that you can count UF's wins next year on John Kruk's balls.

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