The Back Nine comes at you after a strong tailgating Saturday and a subdued Sunday. My head hurt.
10. The more I think about it, the more I think Florida could easily be 0-3 right now. The Gators got a lot of breaks in both of their wins, but, you know, every season comes down to a handful of plays in a handful games. I’m starting to think that every game this season is going to come down to a handful of plays. That’s the roster Florida has, enough good players to win games but not enough to dominate. Brenton Cox went nuts in the fourth quarter of the game, but Gervon Dexter was invisible. Florida has a great running back room but is lacking at wide receiver. Things probably are not going to change this season.
11. Still, all we are saying is give Billy a chance. I haven’t been a big fan of the play calling in the first three games either. But he is still working with a quarterback who has four career starts with no back-up and receivers who struggle to get separation and a team that is still learning a new offense. Those aren’t excuses, they are more like explanations. The talent has to improve at receiver and tight end. The Gators have been outgained and outscored in their three games and rank 116th in completion percentage. Anthony Richardson has more tackles than TD passes. I get that Gator fans thought they were getting a coach who knows offense and that is why some have turned on this coach. I’m just saying to give it time.
12. After the game, Florida running back Montrell Johnson said it felt like a loss. And when I woke up Sunday morning, there was that feeling of loss. This was supposed to be a game where the Gators flexed their muscle, but instead were outgained. One of the biggest concerns is that Florida has only averaged 58.7 plays per game so far this season and it is creating pressure on every Florida possession. At the rate this offense is going, this will be the first time since Ron Zook’s first season (2002) that Florida will rush for more yards than it will have gained passing. One reason – UF is 116th in completion percentage.
13. OK, enough of this negativity … after one more stat. I don’t if Napier and his staff are giving the players enough orange slices at halftime, but Florida has been dreadful in the third quarter. They have been outscored 24-0 with the key number there being zero points scored. We have a large enough sample size for this team to know that just making it to a bowl game is going to be an achievement. Coming into this season, I thought Florida would be better than most people thought. Now, I feel like they are right about where most people thought.
14. Which means Florida probably should not be ranked. But the Gators are still 20th and Miami is 25th and FSU fans are ticked off that their team is not ranked. They have two nice wins, but they were both against unranked teams. Still, I would have put them in there. I know this much – I would not have had Florida at No. 12 after one game. Look, I get all of the people who believe the polls shouldn’t come out until October, but it’s more fun this way and gives you something to talk about.
15. The timing of Herm Edwards’ firing was strange. Strange as in, “Why was he still there in the first place?” Arizona State has this massive NCAA investigation ongoing, and he somehow was still employed because the athletic director was a buddy (see: Wilson, Wade). But, then came Eastern Michigan and I stayed up and watched that game because I wanted to watch Emory Jones and now I see why. Roster attrition has turned that program into a mess and the better team won the game and that better team was not Arizona State. So, two Power 5 coaches are gone and it’s still September. Who’s next?
16. I wanted to make sure I mentioned the win by Florida volleyball at Wisconsin Friday night which was amazing considering that they packed the Kohl Center with the largest crowd to ever watch a women’s college volleyball match. Any week where you beat FSU and then the No. 4 team in the country is a pretty good week the last time I checked. Certainly, the schedule Florida has played has them ready for the start of SEC play and it’s here in Gainesville Wednesday at 7 p.m. Be there. Aloha.
17. Dr. Football was off to a good start but slipped to a 3-2 record on The Picks. That’s 9-6 for the season. Still, we are making fake money, even if some of it is scared. On to this week:
* Florida is getting 9.5 points at Tennessee and the spread has already jumped two points. I like Tennessee to win the game, but as close as Florida has played its first three opponents, I’ll take the Gators and the points.
* Missouri is getting 6.5 points at Auburn and while Auburn is a bit of a mystery, it appears Missouri is not. So, take War Eagles and give the points.
* Arkansas is getting 2.5 points at Texas A&M and it feels like the kind of game Sam Pittman can win, Just a hunch, but take the Hoggies.
* Wisconsin is getting 17 at Ohio State which seems like a lot of points except that Ohio State can score a lot of points so take the Buckeyes.
* Notre Dame is at North Carolina and the Irish are road favorites by a point. I don’t think they can score with the Tar Heels.
18. Listened to a lot of tunes at the tailgates and the Salty Dog Saturday. It was mostly really good stuff. Here’s today’s playlist:
* “Unsatisfied” by The Replacements.
*” Don’t Change” by INXS.
* And for a really old one, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys.