The Back Nine comes at you with something that is becoming a little too familiar — starting a week with a Gator loss in the rear-view mirror. It’s not fun.
- So, there are many ways to look at a result that was inevitable. Dan Mullen took a chunk of the blame for his team not playing at a high level and I think the game showed him he doesn’t have enough high-level players. But to say you don’t have enough high-level players is to say you have not done a good job. The question I keep getting asked is this – what does Florida do to correct this problem? The answer is a difficult one. Your head coach has been a mediocre recruiter and it didn’t help that he had a show-cause against him to keep him off the road during the bye week. But more than anything, the roster is the big problem for Florida football.
- This is the issue – when your team finds multiple ways to lose games, you have a massive problem. And it starts with the head coach. Florida has played some awful offense. Florida has been a turnover machine. The defense has had some miserable games and possessions. The special teams are embarrassingly bad. So, what do you do? Mullen acted like a coach who knows that there are problems he needs to fix after the game, but there is only one solution. GET BETTER PLAYERS!! And that’s not something you can just wish for. It takes a lot of work and special people to recruit well. And in some cases, you have to be willing to push the envelope to the edge.
- If Georgia, which is winning games easily with a mediocre offense, doesn’t win it all this year it may be another 40 years. The defense reminded me so much of an NFL defense. Balls of muscle who get everywhere in a hurry – that’s what NFL defenses look like. The Bulldogs aren’t losing a game during the rest of the season (four unranked teams to finish), but we all know how difficult it is to win after that. The thing is that Georgia could lose to Alabama in the SEC title game and still get into the playoffs.
- So, where are we with the quarterback situation. I liked my idea of waiting a week to start Richardson so he might be able to build some confidence for next season and get Gator fans back on the bus. But against the best defense in the nation, Richardson was certainly exposed for his youth. Not only were there the three game-deciding turnovers, he averaged 2.2 yards a rush and 4.1 yards for each pass attempt. Still, I’d finish the season with Richardson as my starter to see what he can do. There are going to be fans who will insist Richardson would be great right now if they had given him more time in other games, but I don’t see it. He was good against a terrible defense in LSU. He was not good against an elite defense. Let’s see what he does these last four games.
- Coming into this season, we knew Florida had a small margin for error. We knew this could be an average team if it made too many mistakes. Florida has 16 turnovers in eight games. Only seven teams have more. Those teams have a combined record of 17-40. And being ranked 92nd in penalties probably isn’t helping either. Florida’s 493 yards in penalties can put a real crimp in your plan of attack. This is a team that lacks discipline in so many ways.
- Even in years when Florida is not very good, college football still is much better than the NFL if only because of what you are offered as a TV fan. One NFL game at 1 p.m. – Falcons vs. Panthers. By 1 p.m. the day before we had so much drama we could barely stand it. The NFL is king – and I am a big believer that Fantasy Football and gambling are part of the reason – but I will always be a college football guy first.
- It was looking good for The Picks until FSU gave me one of the worst bad beats ever with a fumble on a scramble play that ended up with the ball in the end zone and me with a push. Really? Alright, so I ended up with a 3-2-1 record and 30-27-3 for the season. Don’t tell my wife that I’m pretend gambling.
* Florida is a 19-point favorite over South Carolina on the road and the Gators must be giving oddsmakers fits. You never know if Florida is going to score a lot or a very little so the over/unders are total guesses. (I would have bet the under of 51 last week). Maybe Mullen gets through to his team this week and South Carolina has been really bad all year, so take the Gators and the points and give the boys a little confidence.
* LSU is getting 25 points at Alabama, which seems about right. I think the Tigers will play hard for their fearless leader, so take all of those points and be happy they were offered.
* Texas A&M is at home and only giving six to Auburn. I know Bo Nix is playing well (finally), but Kyle Field is the kind of place that is perfect for a meltdown. Take the Aggies and Gig ‘Em.
* Liberty is getting 15.5 in the Hugh Freeze Bowl against Ole Miss. That’s a lot of points for an explosive offense, but I think the Rebels cover.
* Wake Forest may be unbeaten, but they are 3.5-point underdogs at North Carolina. Stay away from this pick, but since I have to choose, I will take the Heels.
- It would have been nice for the Braves to win at home Sunday night, but there was too much jinxing Saturday night for my taste. Every question was like, “When you win the whole thing tomorrow night, what will that feel like?” The Braves have not won anything until the umps walk off the field and Atlanta has won one more game. We’re 27 outs away. It won’t be easy in Houston.
- This is a strange week in that I am wrapping up my speaking tour with a visit to the Savannah Quarterback Club. I won’t know what to do with myself, (although the weekly visits to give scouting reports to the Gainesville QB Club will continue, of course). By the end of the month, I’ll have done 25 speeches so thank goodness for my music. This is the start of the Savannah playlist:
* ”No Love in LA” by Palaye Royale.
* ”Beggin’ “ by Maneskin.
* And for an old one, but not really that old, “Steady, As She Goes” by the Raconteurs. I hadn’t heard it for a while.