Alabama – Florida Preview

September 30, 2006

This is an intriguing game. Florida has the revenge factor going for them, and they have clearly the better team. Alabama is talking this year like they’re just as good as last year, even though they are definitely not. Alabama thinks it can throw all over the field with John Parker Wilson, and to some extent that will be true. Florida’s secondary is very vulnerable, and if the coaches keep calling linebacker blitzes like they did last week then they’ll have no help.

Alabama won’t be able to run though. They haven’t had any running game this year with Kenneth Darby looking nothing like himself, and Florida has as good a rush defense as anyone in the country. Mike Shula prefers to run the ball, control the clock, shorten the game. He won’t get to do that today and he’ll have to rely on Wilson to carry the offense.

Wilson has done a pretty good job of doing that for a freshman. However, Alabama really hasn’t played anyone. They’ve played Hawaii, Vandy, Louisiana-Monroe, and a shaky Arkansas team. Not exactly murderer’s row. He has not faced a real SEC defense, and has not played in a tough road environment. It will be hard for his to stay composed in front of a ramped up Florida Field crowd. After three somewhat nondescript home games, in that they were blowouts and not particularly interesting in second half, Florida fans are ready to explode in a solid win against a good opponent.

Florida is celebrating the 100th Anniversary today. The team is wearing its 1966 throwback uniforms, which are infinitely then those stupid orange sleeve jerseys from last year. Florida has every reason to be up for this game. Alabama will be overmatched on offense, and their suddenly-cocky defense (who just lost, by the way guys) haven’t seen an offense with as many weapons as Florida has. If the Gators jump out to an early lead, it could get ugly.

I don’t think Percy Harvin will have much of an impact as he’s still getting over his injury, and I think Bama’s run defense is good enough to mitigate Tim Tebow for the most part. He’s not fooling anyone anymore. DeShawn Wynn will be very important. If he gets 100 yards again, there’s no way Florida loses. Chris Leak will end up driving the offense though, since I don’t think Wynn will get more than 70 today. It’ll be the passing game making the most headway.

As it is, I don’t think it will be a close game, but I don’t think it will be in much doubt. Alabama may have some leads if Florida turns it over, but UF will pull away. I’ll say it ends up something in the 27 – 10 range.


It’s GameDay

September 30, 2006

I probably won’t be able to watch the end of GameDay today because of tailgating for the earlier game today. If I had to guess, they’ll both pick Florida over Alabama mainly because of how good Florida’s run defense is. If one will pick against UF, it’ll be Corso on a “Yo!” thing (but not a “Not so fast my friend!”) because Herbstreit got burned on his Tennessee over Florida pick.

They’re at the Ohio State – Iowa game. Now, based on what I’ve seen Ohio State is clearly the better team. I don’t know that even the home field advantage will help the Hawkeyes out that much since Jim Tressel knows how to win on the road and Troy Smith doesn’t get unnerved over anything. It’ll take a lot for Iowa to win.

The Iowa fans also would like to remind you that they don’t like sweater vests and that Troy Smith Likes Unicorns.


Funny Story

September 29, 2006

I heard a funny story on the radio today. Chris Doering had Judd Davis on as a special guest, and while talking about the Auburn-South Carolina game, they got on the subject of the SC player who dropped the sure touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Doering mentioned it was one of his nightmares thinking what if he dropped his famous touchdown catch against Kentucky in 1993. Davis sarcastically said he’d have to try a 57-yard field goal, and that if he’d have made it people would just congratulate him for sending a Kentucky game to overtime rather than be immortalized like Doering was.

Davis also said on the plane home he was sitting with Wuerffel and Doering and that he was so happy that he didn’t have to try the field goal that he let the other two use his dad’s credit card to call their families using the plane phones. Funny stuff.


This Just In: Auburn Defense is Human

September 28, 2006

It was a bold move for Auburn to do an onside kick in the third quarter to prevent South Carolina from having a possession, and now I can’t blame them for it. I don’t know if it’s the rain or what, but they can’t tackle Syvelle Newton for the life of them. He’s probably the guy who should have been the quarterback all along the past two years, really, and they certainly haven’t used him correctly since switching him away.

South Carolina is going to make a game of this after all. The Auburn defense looks vulnerable to running quarterbacks, which tells me that LSU didn’t use JaMarcus Russell correctly and that a steady diet of Tim Tebow may be a big help to winning. Of course, it may be that Auburn bought its own hype and didn’t take SC seriously, and was more concerned with keeping the passing plays in front of them rather than give up big plays. So maybe the threat of the throw is opening up Newton’s running, which means that Tebow will get stuffed over and over.

Based on Auburn’s soft prevent defense with five minutes to go, it’s looking like SC will force overtime. More comments will be edited in with after the game.

*  *  *

 Well, Auburn survived, and in the end that’s best for Florida. The SEC needs its top teams to hold on and win these kinds of games even though a South Carolina win would show the conference as being even tougher. In any event, an Auburn loss would give all the Big 10 people ammunition despite it being only a two and a half horse race, and it’d rile up all the Pac 10 wags who have no room to talk whatsoever about their annual one horse race.

Plus, the higher teams are ranked when Florida plays them the better they look if the Gators win. I only got to watch the fourth quarter of this Auburn – South Carolina game, so it was skewed very favorably towards South Carolina, but the Tigers didn’t really look as fearsome as they have. I would contend part of that was the rain, part the defense not playing at all for more than an hour, and part them relaxing after seeing how bad South Carolina looked against everyone but FAU.

Nevertheless, it gives some insight on how to exploit some of Auburn’s weaknesses. The running quarterback worked, but only on passing plays, so if Tebow is to be effective he’ll need to do something with his arm. The offense there has never been that imaginative, so the Florida defense will be fine. We shall see, but a big thanks to Steve Spurrier for exposing some flaws in the Tigers’ armor.


Swamp Rules

September 28, 2006

Many people have commented that the Swamp seems to be slipping this year. Besides the boos, people are horrible this year about getting to the stadium on time and leaving way too early. It’s like we’ve been invaded by orange and blue-clad Dodger fans. Pat Dooley even brought that up today.

Now, the only home games we’ve had so far have been blowouts (or an ugly, sloppy blowout in the case of Kentucky) so that explains why people have been leaving early. A lot of alumni probably left Kentucky early as well because of long drives home after a late game, and that’s understandable. All the students leaving early is not acceptable.

In fact, there even has been a Facebook group started called “Florida Football Etiquette.” The rules are aimed at students, but most could apply to anyone. Since Facebook is locked to members only, here’s the list verbatim (so pardon the grammar, capitalization, etc):

1. Thou shalt not ‘BOO’ anyone on our team
2. Thou shalt not bring out our keys (Bad Bad Karma…)
3. Thou shalt not start the wave when our offense is on the field (it may look cool but it’s cool enough to distract our offense… so stop – and when we’re on defense you should be screaming)
4. Thou shalt not stay silent when opposing team is on offense (Screaming starts in the huddle NOT when the whistle is blown and can end after the snap)
5. Thou shalt not sit during the actual game (excluding the exceptions, half time, time outs, extremely painful feet, play or penalty reviews etc)
6. Thou shalt not leave without singing the Alma mater and the Orange and Blue fight song at the end of a winning game.
7. Thou shalt not underestimate any SEC opponent (see: Vandy 2005)
8. Thou shalt cheer for tebow AND participate in Leak for Heisman chants.
9. Thou shalt not chant “Tebow” after our senior qb with a passing efficiency of 174 has a bad play
10. Thou shalt… If you’re a jacka** (or told you’re a jacka**) when drunk, then don’t drink heavily before the game cuz you’ll ruin it for others, jack a**!
11. Thou shalt not scalp student section tickets to fans of the visiting team.

I would also add:

12. Thou shall not start chanting things while the band is on the field for pregame, even if you can’t hear them chiming the hour.

I know that it’s fun to chant “Let’s Go Gators!” to get the team fired up, but when the team is still in the locker room and the band is playing something, it’s not appropriate.

So, if you’re going to the game this Saturday, show up at least 20 minutes early so you can watch the pregame show. It really is cool, and it will get you properly fired up for the game. Right after they’re done, they have Mr. Two Bits come out to lead the entire stadium in his signature cheer. Then, there’s the awesome video they play right before the team runs out. It’s all a fantastic experience, and I can’t imagine why someone wouldn’t want to be there for it.

If you’re going to the game, get there at least 20 minutes early and follow these guidelines for being a fan. If you’re not going, send a link to this to someone you know who is. I’m not trying to drive traffic for the site (do you see any ads?) but rather to make sure the Swamp is at its best.

There’s a lot of Bama fans making noise this week about their stadium environment being better than ours. That’s utter nonsense, and we need to show them why. The game starts when the band marches in for pregame, and ends after everyone has sung the Alma Mater and “Orange and Blue.” Got it?


Heckling Alabama

September 28, 2006

If you haven’t seen the site Every Day Should Be Saturday, then you’re really missing out. This week is full of making mockery of Alabama, and it’s pretty good. Beyond that, it’s still a funny site about college football, and one of the highest-quality football blogs out there.

I’m not really in the business of reposting other people’s content, but a quote that they found is just too good. We already know that Kenneth Darby has been sucking it up this year, and now some of the players want to see more passing: “We can throw it on anybody if we want to,” receiver Keith Brown said. “Make the play call.”

That’s the Mike Shula offense for you. It’s about the most unimaginative offense this side of Tecmo Bowl (not Tecmo Super Bowl, the one before that). Which makes last year’s loss all the more embarrassing. Which would make this year’s revenge that much more sweet.


Student Life – SG Elections

September 27, 2006

One more rapid-fire post here, once again, that has nothing to do with the two previous ones.

Yesterday and today have been the elections for Student Government. Now, SG is generally thought of with hostility around here because of mini-scandals that the Alligator, the independent student newspaper, likes to highlight. A particularly notorious one was when a couple years ago SG blew nearly $500 in student fees on chocolate alligators for a social event.

Athletes every now and then get involved. Last Fall, there was a mini-scandal about one party listing Chris Leak as its treasurer because that way all of its signs had his name at the bottom in the who-paid-for-this disclosure. Since he wasn’t actually the treasurer, though he was affiliated with the party, they had to take his name off. Last Spring, there was a failed mostly-athlete party that actually was going to have Tim Tebow run for student senate for a while, and Brandon Siler ran (unsuccessfully) for student body vice president on the runner-up ticket.

Most parties take on unimaginitive names, like Ignite, Impact, Gator, Access, and this semester the Swamp Party and Action Party, but every now and then then there’s a joke party that riles things up. Two years ago it was the Keg Party; slogan: win or lose we booze. It actually had the best platform of the three parties and managed to force some run-offs, but in the end the two Greek-dominated parties won out. As usual.

This semester, we get the Pants Party. They say that they are lying about everything, so they’ll promise anything anyone wants. I’m still a little hazy on the details of their platform, but part of it includes a “puppy exchange program.” Who knows if they’ll do well enough to make an impact, but they get cool points for the name.

Pants Party. Brilliant.