Today is a day to right wrongs. Today is a day to return favors. I have waited impatiently for today for an entire year.
What do you call an FSU grad with a resumé?
A year ago, a game was stolen out of the Gators' hands, against their biggest rivals. Mostly in the first half, a series of 5 to 6 horrifically bad calls on fumbles went the 'Noles ways. Obvious fumbles by FSU players were reversed because they were "down" (when they obviously weren't) and UF players were determined to have fumbled even though their knee was clearly on the turf.
Why did Chris Rix get mad at Bobby Bowden for taking his playbook away?
He hadn't finished coloring it yet.
At the end of the game, the UF secondary allowed FSU to get convert on 4th and 14 and then score on a 52-yard touchdown pass to win the game. Despite all of the blinding stupidity of the referees, the Gators had still taken the lead, but lost it with a minute to go. This led to everyone to say, "Well, the Gators should have covered deep."
How do you know a 'Nole invented the toothbrush?
Because if a Gator invented it, it'd be called the teethbrush.
That is a completely ignorant comment. That shows a total lack of understanding of how games work. In sports, momentum is real. It's a very real psychological edge that teams can gain over one another. Had all of the fumbles been called correctly, or even just the first two, then the Gators jump out to a 14-0 or 21-0 lead in the first quarter, gaining huge amounts of momentum and crushing FSU mentally.
How do you make an FSU grad's car more aerodynamic?
Take the pizza delivery sign off the top.
UF had that game. They should have hung half a hundred on FSU, and scored at least 28 points in the first half. But they didn't, and it was not their fault. It should have been out of hand early. We should have seen Gavin Dickey in the second half. None of that happened, and it was through no fault of the Gators.
What's the only thing UF and FSU students have in common?
They both got into FSU.
This all happened at home, where teams usually get the benefit of the doubt. It happened on senior day, disgracing a worthy class of Gators. Today is the day to make up for it. Today is the day the Gators need to dig deep and find a way to punish the 'Noles for last year. The game plan was absolutely perfect last time, so the current staff knows exactly how to exploit FSU. It is the year of vengeance, something 18-year-old streaks cannot stand in the way of. Today, Revenge Is Ours.
Doing Our Civic Duty or Breaking the BCS
The current top-6 of the BCS standings:
The biggest arguing point right now is whether or not Auburn should be in the top 2 or not, and whether USC or Oklahoma deserve their positions. Really, though, there's a far more interesting subplot developing right now. The rest of the top-10:
9. Boise State
Yes, that's 3 non-BCS conference teams in the top-10 of the BCS standings, which is nice, but it gets better. If Texas loses to Texas A&M (which is entirely possible as the Aggies are good and Mack Brown always finds a way to lose big games), Michigan loses to Ohio State (which is entire possible as underdogs often win in this series), and UF beats FSU tomorrow (more on that tomorrow), then Utah gets non-BCS conference company in the top-6 from Boise State. But wait, you say, that's nice and all but they'd just take Cal and Utah since finishing in the top-6 guarantees a BCS bowl berth, and in the case of 3 non-conference champions they just take the 2 most attractive schools, which leaves Boise out in the cold. Well, that's not entirely true. In the BCS rules, it guarantees bowl bids to the 6 BCS conference champions, which everyone knows. It does not guarantee anything else to BCS conference schools, however. Under the section of Qualification for At-Large Teams, rule number 2 states:
Any team from an independent institution, or Conference USA, the Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt, or Western Athletic Conferences, which is ranked third through sixth in the final BCS standings, shall qualify for a berth in one of the BCS games unless more than two teams meet this criterion. If one team other than Notre Dame qualifies for selection under this provision, Notre Dame shall also qualify for automatic at-large selection provided it is ranked in the top 10 in the final BCS standings or has won at least nine games, not including exempted games. If two or more teams other than Notre Dame meet this criterion, Notre Dame shall also qualify for the at-large pool provided it is ranked in the top 10 of the final BCS standings or has won at least nine games, not including exempt contests.Translation: any non-BCS conference schools that finishes in the top-6 is guaranteed a BCS bowl berth, unless there are three non-BCS conference schools in which case two of the three would be selected. The top-6 selection trigger is clearly for non-BCS conference schools only, so finishing #3-#6 means absolutely nothing to BCS conference schools.
The point of this all is this: if Texas, Michigan, and FSU all lose but the rest of the current top-10 win out, the final BCS rankings would look like this:
6. Boise State/Louisville
That means the 6 BCS conference champions, plus Utah and Boise State/Louisville with their automatic triggers, get BCS bids while poor #4 Cal is left out. With the distinct possibility of another split championship, having the #4 team left out of the BCS would add insult to injury. The BCS would look even worse, and the case for a playoff would be that much stronger. This also would work if Texas, Michigan, or FSU win but Cal loses a shocker to Stanford (who lost to USC by only 3, remember). Either way, this needs to happen.
DISCLAMER: If everyone does end up winning out and Utah can hold its #6 ranking, then either Cal or Texas will be left out because of Utah's automatic bid. Everything I described doesn't need to happen in order for the top-5 in the BCS rankings getting left out scenario. However, it would be a lot nicer if two non-BCS schools got in at the same time. Worst-case scenario: Texas or Cal loses but Michigan wins, putting the Big-10 champ in the top-6. Cal then gets taken along with Utah as the at-larges and then the only thing left to complain about is the Big East champ still getting an automatic bid.
According to those who think they know, Steve Spurrier has agreed in principle to coach South Carolina next year assuming that Lou Holtz retires. I'm not sure what to make of this. Though Holtz has been hinting all year at retiring, at heart he's an old softy and it will be hard for him to say goodbye to his players. Plus, I don't think it's agood fit for Spurrier. The players who are there were recruited to run a different kind of system than the one he employs. Granted, no one else uses a system quite like Steve's, but going to a school that at least is already pass-oreinted would make more sense.
In addition, who says Spurrier can win there? Lou Holtz is a hall-of-fame caliber coach who has won a national title, just like Stevie. I'm sure Holtz would have won a good share of conference titles if Notre Dame was not an independent. Despite all of that going for him, and the fact he's a likeable guy, he couldn't get top players to come to South Carolina. There's no guarantee that Spurrier will get good players there until he wins, creating a chicken-or-the-egg scenario. Another big question is who he will get to run the defense, a side of the ball he cares nothing about except exploiting.
In basketball news, Grant Hill played 41 minutes last night and scored 32 points, his most in years. It's great to see how well he is doing, not only for the Magic but because he's a great guy. I was convinced before the season he'd be back for good, and it looks like he is. That's why I was so frustrated about the Magic rushing to trade Tracy McGrady to "rebuild" the team. With an all-star coming from nowhere for them like this, they were not that far off from competing. The trade hasn't been disastrous by any stretch with the team off to a solid 5-3 start and a so-far undefeated home record. The latter part is the most important part in my mind. Back in the Magic's Shaq/Penny heyday, the O-Rena was one of the toughest places to play in the league because for how loud the fans were. With the team on a winning track, featuring two certain all-stars and a rookie who doesn't know what it's like not to grab at least ten rebounds in a game yet, they are an exciting team full of promise. It won't be long before there's a packed house every night.
Many people wondered why the Magic didn't let Johnny Davis go and hire someone else with a more attractive track record as coach, but if not for the Sonics' surprising 8-game winning streak that is saving Nate McMillan's job even now as I type this, Davis would probably be the top coaching story of the year so far. He took the core of a mediocre Rockets team surrounded by inexperience and players coming back from injury, who barely knew each other at all, and made them into enough of a team that they beat the league's new powerful darlings (the Jazz) at their own game. Bravo, Johnny, keep up the good work.
New Coach? Not Likely
Since the Gators won the South Carolina game 48-14, a lot of people are going through don't-know-what-you-got-'til-it's-gone syndrome with Ron Zook. Someone even wrote a reader editorial for the campus newspaper that the Gators should rehire Zook. It does seem now with cooler heads that firing Zook after a loss to a bad team was perhaps a bit hasty, and that the team might be coming together. They did have 6 TD passes against a fairly good defense, and they were in the backfield all game on the other side of the ball. The biggest difference in the game (on the offensive end) from what I could see is that Chris Leak connected on nearly every deep ball he threw. He has a bad habit of overthrowing long passes (which might explain why they didn't go deep as often as people wanted them to last year), and not putting deep balls in the right place was a deciding factor for momentum and scoring in said loss to Mississippi State.
Anyhow, the first rumor that Urban Meyer has officially taken the Florida job popped up today. I don't believe it for a second, with Utah in the heat of the BCS race. Also, I think UF officials would know better than to try to talk to coaches with jobs during the season. The decision will probably come around the time this rumor states it will - mid-December between the regular season and bowls. Jeremy Foley has already said that he will ask Zook to coach the bowl game, so that answers that question. Speaking of Utah, they have been dominating like no one has seen since 1995. No team since the '95 Nebraska Cornhuskers has won every game by at least 14 points, but thus far the Utes have done it. To complete the job they must beat BYU by at least 2 touchdowns, which shouldn't be too difficult for a team as loaded as Utah.
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.