The third edition of the “Friday Fivesome” comes at you with more stuff to think about regarding college football during talking season.
1. I spent the last two afternoons with Steve Spurrier at different functions and one thing we talked about was how good FSU was during his run at Florida and how Georgia was not. Good, that is. Georgia always had great players, but as the HBC said back then, “something happens to those Georgia players when they get up there.” All you need to do is look at Spurrier’s record against the two schools to know – 11-1 vs. Georgia, 5-8-1 against FSU. On the other hand, if Spurrier’s team had not lost a 31-3 lead in the ’94 game, he would have had just as many wins during that stretch as Miami against the Semis.
2. On top of that, I received a call from a colleague who is working on a story about the pressure Kirby Smart is feeling because Georgia hasn’t won it all since 1980. He wanted to know if Gator fans were antsy about Spurrier the same way when he was the coach here. But, of course, times were different. There was no playoff and Florida’s goal was to win the SEC. It really wasn’t until the 1995 team that the fanbase started thinking out loud about winning national titles. They were so starved for SEC titles, it consumed the average Gator fan. Of course, after 1996, they wanted more and started complaining about 10-2 teams. That’s just the way it works.
3. I started wondering this – if the proposed 12-team playoff was in place during Spurrier’s 12 years at Florida, how many times would the Gators have been in the playoffs? Since there was no selection committee, I can only go by the AP Top 25 pre-bowl rankings. Since Florida was ineligible in Spurrier’s first season, the 1990 team would have missed out. The 1992 wouldn’t have made it because it finished 14th. But the other 10 Spurrier teams would have all been in the playoffs. Three would have had byes – 1991, ’95 and ’96 – and six would have hosted first round games. Only one would have been on the road for the first round — the 1999 team. So, you think about how many more national titles Spurrier might have won if the playoffs were, ah, forget it. You can only play what is put in front of you.
4. I hate to say this, but if I was going to Vegas, I’d probably lay a few bills down on the under for Alabama’s win total this season. They have it (as well as Clemson’s) at 11.5 and remember that it does not include the SEC championship game or any playoff games. So that means Alabama has to go undefeated to win the over and I think either Miami or Florida could knock the Tide off early in the season and Alabama is going to Texas A&M in the middle of the season. I mean, I have a lot of respect for Nick Saban, but I can see him losing one of those games. Clemson could lose its opener to Georgia, but after that it’s smooth sailing for the Tigers. So, stay away from that. In fact, you may want to bet the over.
5. Just an early peek at Florida’s opening game against Florida Atlantic tells you that if the Gators can’t stop this offense, it could be another long season for Todd Grantham. FAU was 112th in offense in a season when nobody played defense. FAU does have 10 starters back on offense, but the hope for all Gator fans is that this maligned defense gets off to a great start on the way to playing Gator defense this season.