The Back Nine comes at you after a cold weekend and that was just in the hearts of the Gator faithful. You kind of want to go into Stewie’s time machine (I’m into Family Guy) and fast forward to when Florida is good again.
10. There will be a lot of talk in this short week about Billy Napier and his play calls and whether or not he should give that up. It’s exactly what we are hearing in College Station about a coach who has a national title in his resume. It’s impossible for us to know what did or did not go into the prep work for this game, but to be honest, Napier was not hired because he is a brilliant play-caller. Florida had one of those. It didn’t work out. Napier was hired because of his attention to detail and recruiting chops.
11. And he did call plays that resulted in 400 passing yards, despite numerous dropped passes. Of course, when Florida throws for 400 yards in the state of Tennessee under Napier, it doesn’t work out. Don’t panic. Don’t scream that Billy is IN OVER HIS HEAD! This is a first-year coach in the SEC. It’s never easy and he has finished his first tour under .500 in conference play. He’s still learning his own roster and purging it slowly. This will take time, but all of the patience I was bragging about with Gator fans went right out the window in Nashville. I’m not saying you’re being a Gidiot, I’m just saying it’s one game.
12. Because even with Dan Mullen making snarky comments about the Gators loss and FSU fans trolling like they were in the Intercoastal Waterway, we knew this was not going to be a great season. Still, we didn’t see it being like this. Florida fans are so used to beating Kentucky and Vanderbilt every year that they took it for granted. This trivia stat will show you why people keep telling me the Gators played one of the worst games they have in the history of the program (not true, but it was in the top 20). Napier is the first coach to lose to both teams in the same season since Doug Dickey in 1974. That team finished 8-4 with a Sugar Bowl loss to Nebraska.
13. Look, I can’t figure out Anthony Richardson either. Why he would throw the ball way out of the end zone on the final play is a mystery as is his disdain for running the ball in certain games. I can’t explain Florida’s special teams, which have been a hot mess when they are bad and mediocre when they are not. I can’t explain how a team averaging 39 yards in penalties could commit so many crucial and dummy infractions in this game. I can’t explain why Vandy rushed the field and will be fined $250,000. Some things about college football just can’t be explained. It’s the ultimate love/hate sport because there are so many mood swings.
14. Take what happened to Tennessee. The Vols, who haven’t played defense all year and have reminded us all of the 2020 Gators, probably looked at the tape of South Carolina scoring six points in Gainesville the week before and thought it would be a cakewalk. And then Spencer Rattler went Tom Brady on them. Six points one week and 63 the next? And then, they stormed the field. Greg Sankey and his newly-formed committee need to get a grip on this and if you don’t think so you didn’t see Josh Heupel needing four security guards pushing fans away to get off the field. The worst part of the night was Hendon Hooker blowing out his ACL. It made me sad.
15. Dr. Football is at the point with The Picks that we’re just trying to stay above .500 to be bowl eligible. Another 3-2 week (thanks for nothing Tennessee) left the season mark at 30-28-1 against the spread, which gets you nothing more than a cheap buffet in Vegas. Let’s have a good week. Please?
* Florida is an 8-point underdog on Friday night at Florida State and I know Gator fans fall into two camps. Those who think Florida was looking ahead and those that think Florida is out of gas and can’t win without a first half from Ventrell Miller. I’ll take the Semis and the points and then go wash my mouth out with soap.
* The big game is obviously Michigan at Ohio State and both teams were clearly ready for each other last week. That almost spelled disaster, but really good teams find a way. Ohio State is getting 7.5 points and I think Michigan wins outright and will make its second straight College Football Playoff. Again – soap, water, mouth.
* The Egg Bowl is on Thursday night and Ole Miss is a 4.5-point favorite. The Rebs can’t play as bad as they did against Arkansas, right? I hate picking rivalry games, but I will take Ole Miss.
* South Carolina looked like diaper droppings against Florida, then turned around and scored 63 against Tennessee. The Gamecocks were 21-point underdogs. This week at Clemson, they are 16-point underdogs. And yet I am taking Clemson.
* Notre Dame is getting four points at USC and I don’t think the Irish can score with the Trojans. Or without them. (Whoa, this is a family website). Take USC.
16. I have to admit that I turned off the Florida basketball game at the half and didn’t come back to it until there were a few minutes gone in the second half. It was that ugly. Then, it got beautiful. Whatever Todd Golden said to his team at halftime that allowed them to outscore FSU 50-24 should be bottled and distributed to all Florida coaches. So should Alex Fudge’s dunk be on a continuous loop when you walk into the practice facility.
17. Every time I attend a Florida game of any kind since I “retired”, the Gators lose. So, please, keep me away. The same thing happened Sunday when Karen and I attended the volleyball match only to see Florida get swept by Kentucky. I am a jinx. Florida swept the Wildcats the day before. So, the two teams tied for the SEC lead played six sets over two days and the Gators won three more points. Shows how close they are and it was elite volleyball that I saw. Florida sweeps the weekend series at Ole Miss and they still win a share of the SEC at worst.
18. It was a gloomy Sunday, which it tends to be after a Florida loss. Luckily, I had this playlist to get me through the day:
* Because my oldest daughter in Los Angeles saw this group and sent me clips and I was so envious, and I used to have this as my ringtone and they closed with this (take a breath now) “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire.
* “Blue Ridge Mountains” (appropriate) by Fleet Foxes.
* And here’s an old one that came on one of my Sirius stations the other day and I had forgotten all about it. It was a big hit (co-produced by David Gilmour) and in the end I was singing right along. “Life In a Northern Town” by The Dream Academy.