The Sports Broadcast

A blog about sports broadcasting from the great state of Florida. They report. I decide.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Murphy's Law

Today goes down as one of the worst sports days of my life. It started out looking good with Oklahoma shutting out Texas, but it rapidly went downhill. Oh, let me count the ways:

-Georgia got sucked into Tennessee's Vortex of Mediocrity that the Gators also fell victim to, played down to the Vols' level, and found a way to lose. This made it infinitely harder for Florida to get to the SEC title game.

- Minnesota, Cal, and Ohio State all lost as well, making a fool of me and torpedoing the rest of my predictions for the day.

-The Yankees beat the Twins in extras, feasting on Minnesota's shaky bullpen and neutralizing another solid, if short, start by John Santana. My OBTFTP didn't even make it past the first round.

And then there was the Gator game. Everyone just seemed too confident, and it felt like a classic trap game. If not for two early turnovers by LSU freshman QB JaMarcus Russell, the Gators would not have been in it at the end. LSU outplayed the Gators in every facet of the game. Just look at the stats for yourself. Florida really had no business leading the entire game.

This was probably the worst I have seen the Gators get outcoached. It's not all on Ron Zook's shoulders; it took a total team effort to put this one together. Chris Leak was off tonight, missing receivers all over the field, and it sure didn't help that everytime the offense looked like it was settling into a rhythm, the coaches would change the strategy (run vs. pass orientation on the drives), thereby killing momentum and leading to punts. The defensive staff also decided to keep dropping the linebackers into coverage instead of using them to plug the gaping running holes that LSU's offensive line opened up the entire second half. The middle of the field was open time after time as well. I kept trying to convince myself that the team wasn't playing not to lose when only up by 4 towards the end, but there was no sign that anyone on the Gators was playing to win, except Ciatrick Fason. No team can just run out the clock when there's still 7:31 on it. Everyone in the stadium knew the Gators needed to score again before the game was over, but questionable play calling and poorly-thrown balls ruled the day. Inconsistency on offense and lack of killer instinct on defense has plagued this team for three years now, and both were the cause of defeat tonight.

In short, the game really wasn't as close as the score would indicate. Florida was dominated on both sides of the ball, and was completely exposed for all to see. I hate to beat a dead horse, but this defeat displays the importance of that blown timing issue at the end of the Tennessee game. Had that not been bungled, tonight's game is a valuable learning experience and a wake-up call to a generally lax team possibly en route to Atlanta. Instead, it is a season-killer, as now UF is now definitively out of the hunt for the national and SEC titles. The college football season is too short simply to write off anything.

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