The Sports Broadcast

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

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Homecoming Weekend

Another homecoming weekend has come to a close. It included such traditions as the parade down University Avenue and a mediocre Gator Growl (the world's largest student-run pep rally). It included a beat down on a bad SEC East team. All of the elements were there indeed.

The Gator's victory over South Carolina was not all that unexpected, though some self-styled trendy analysts had South Carolina winning and keeping Florida out of a bowl game. The manner, a 48-14 drubbing, was not really predicted by anyone, however. Some signs were there, like the Gamecocks' top QB Dondrial Pinkins being out injured, but regardless they did have a fairly good pass defense going into the game, giving up just 7 passing scores all year. Chris Leak threw for all 6 of Florida's touchdowns in the rout, though he did throw a couple of interceptions.

This game if nothing else illustrates why Ron Zook will not be coaching the team after this year. No doubt, when they're on, the Gators can be brilliant. For the most part on Saturday, they were. It was the largest margin of victory for a conference game in Zook's tenure. However, by showing such brilliance, it really makes you wonder why they're not that brilliant every game. Unless South Carolina has a horifically bad offensive line, which the stats don't say they do, there's no good reason why the Gators could not find ways into opposing backfields as often as they did on Saturday. If they can take out South Carolina by such a wide margin, then what's up with losing to Mississippi State? If they can throw for the endzone quite often with a lead in a game that's already won, why didn't they do that more often in the second half against Miami last year? Or Tennessee, LSU, and Georgia this year? A killer insticnt finally showed up, but it's a little late for that. Aside from the Baltimore Ravens, who seem to start trying to run time off of the clock for the entire game, I've been hard-pressed to find a team in recent years who went into clock-bleeding mode as early as Zook's Gators.

Still, it was a triumphant win in the final home game and homecoming for the seniors and coaching staff, clinching a bowl bid. I have heard conflicting reports on which bowl UF is likely to go to. The FSU game this week has no bearing on the bowl bid as they are determined by the place teams finish in their conference. Had the Gators lost to the Gamecocks, they would have needed a win over the Seminoles to reach bowl eligability (at least 6 wins on the season), but even in that scenario the win doesn't determine placement, only if they go or not. From what I read, the Gators should be going to the Music City Bowl in Nashville, but from what I hear the Peach Bowl in Atlanta (which takes a higher-placed team than the Music City Bowl) really wants UF badly. In good times or bad, Gator fans travel en masse to bowls, making the team a very attractive participant. This is in direct contrast to FSU and Miami, who, both as conference winners last year, were fought over by the BCS bowls last year - not for who got to take them, but for who got to avoid them. Their fans just don't travel well. The poor Orange Bowl ended up with them both as the two are based here in Florida, and because the Fiesta Bowl people pitched such a fit over the possibility of having to take FSU.

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