Mythbusters!

September 30, 2007

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Myth: Pollsters can be counted on to produce an accurate ranking of college football teams.

Evidence:

  • Colorado 27 – #3 Oklahoma 24
  • Auburn 20 – #4 Florida 17
  • #18 USF 21 – #5 West Virginia
  • Kansas State 41 – #7 Texas 21
  • Maryland 34 – #10 Rutgers 24
  • Georgia Tech 13 – #13 Clemson 3
  • Illinois 27 – #21 Penn State 20
  • FSU 21 – #22 Alabama

Status:

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Myth: Tim Tebow can win games by sheer force of will.

Evidence:

Florida at 4:33 4th Quarter

1st and 10 at FLA 42: Tebow pass complete to Harvin, loss of 6 yards

2nd and 16 at FLA 36: Tebow option pitch to Moore, no gain

3rd and 15 FLA: Tebow pass incomplete, broken up by Jerraud Powers

Status:

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Myth: Urban Meyer is truly concerned about the number of carries Tim Tebow gets and will rely on running backs to spread the load around.

Evidence:

Florida Rushing

Tebow: 19 carries

Harvin: 4 carries

Moore: 3 carries

Fayson: 2 carries

Status:

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Myth: USC is the best team in the country.

Evidence: USC 27 – Washington 24

Status:

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Myth: LSU is the best team in the country.

Evidence:

  • LSU 45 – Mississippi State 0
  • LSU 48 – Virginia Tech 7
  • LSU 44 – MTSU 0
  • LSU 28 – South Carolina 16
  • LSU 38 – Tulane 9

Status:

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Myth: The Gators’ season is over, woe is us, we have nothing left to play for since our hero didn’t deliver and we are no longer undefeated.

Evidence:

  • October 6: Florida @ LSU
  • October 20: Florida @ Kentucky
  • October 27: Florida vs Georgia (Jacksonville)
  • November 3: Vanderbilt @ Florida (Homecoming)
  • November 10: Florida @ South Carolina
  • November 17: FAU @ Florida
  • November 24: FSU @ Florida

Status:

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This Week’s Picks

September 29, 2007

These are my ESPN College Pick ‘Em Picks for the week. As always, they’re ordered from 10 points to 1 point.

USC over Washington

Virginia over Pitt

Texas over K-State

Wisconsin over Michigan State

Alabama over FSU

Clemson over Georgia Tech

South Carolina over Miss State

Oregon over Cal

Air Force over Navy

Penn State over Illinois

Season: 26-14, .650; 159 points of 220 possible (72.27%), 84th percentile in the game


West Virginia – USF

September 28, 2007

If you’re not watching this game, shame on you. The story of the USF program, which played its first game ever in 1997, has a chance to make a statement and say definitely that they are for real. The Bulls have NFL talent all over its defense, and they have an exciting quarterback in Matt Grothe. Imagine Matt Jones only with more running, and there actually appears to be a rhyme and reason to what he does most times.

Even if you don’t care about the USF story, tonight the #5 team in the nation has a legitimate threat of losing, and it’s also two ranked teams going at it with no other game on. Five minutes into the game we’ve had a West Virginia punt and a missed USF field goal, but don’t worry, it’ll pick up some. This is going to be a good one.

POST-GAME EDITS:

Well, USF pulled it off. It ended up being a lot more sloppy than I thought it would be, but it was good drama nonetheless. What we learned is that USF’s defense, at least, is for real. UF could certainly use some of their d-line and secondary. Anyway, this was USF’s national coming out party, and unlike Boise State’s Fiesta Bowl win, I think this one will stick. USF is going to be a contender for the Big East title.


Gator Pregame: Auburn

September 28, 2007

Pregame Jaws

Florida is 19-8 since 1980 in the fifth game of the season. In 1982, Florida lost 31-28 at Vanderbilt, the last time the Commodores have beaten the Gators. 1986 and 1987 brought back-to-back losses to LSU. In 1993 Terry Bowden picked up an unexpected win for Auburn. In 1999, we lost by a point at home to Alabama, and 2000 had a loss at Mississippi State. In 2004, we had a heartbreaking loss to LSU, and 2005 had that horrible, horrible loss at Alabama. For what it’s worth, Florida has won 7 of the last 10 against Auburn, going back to 1994.

Urban Meyer Fanfare

Urban Meyer is 5-1 in the fifth game of the year. At Bowling Green, he beat Kent State 24 – 7 in 2001 and Central Michigan 45 – 35 in 2002. At Utah, he beat Oregon 17 – 13 in 2003 and New Mexico 28 – 7 in 2004. At Florida, he lost to Alabama 31 – 3 in 2005 and beat LSU 23 – 10 in 2006. Urban Meyer has also never lost to the same team two years in a row.

Orange and Blue

Florida fans should all be wearing orange and blue to the game tomorrow. There was a movement among some students of doing a white out for the game, which is stupid because white is not one of our colors. Yes, Auburn wears orange and blue too, but they wear darker shades of each. No one should be wearing white since it’s a night game so there’s no heat issues, but look for a lot of white in the student section among those dumb enough to think it’s a good idea.

Men of Florida

I am looking for the linebackers to bounce back this game after an uneven game in Mississippi. Brandon Spikes had a lot of tackles, but he also had a bad personal foul penalty. I hardly noticed that Dustin Doe was even there. Spikes and Doe will need to step up and be noticed in this game to ensure that Florida gets the revenge it desires.

Chimes/Alma Mater

Wilber Marshall becomes the fifth member of the Florida Ring of Honor, a very exclusive club that is unlikely to be added to again for a while. He graduated before I entered the world, so I never got to see him play, but everyone who has seen him play calls him the best linebacker ever to play at UF. His game against Sean Salisbury’s USC Trojans is the stuff of legends. Pat Dooley argued that Marshall should have been in last year, and Marshall was upset about it at the time, but presumably all’s forgiven now.

Boys March

Tim Tebow did his fair share of marching down the field last week, racking up a McFadden-like 166 yards on the ground. Everyone on earth has said at some point this week that 28 carries is probably too many for a quarterback. Urban said it concerned him too, so I would look to see Kestahn Moore and Jarred Fayson get a lot more carries out of the backfield this week. I doubt we’ll see too many designed QB runs. If Florida was to lose Tebow to injury the week before the LSU game, it’d be devastating.

Gators Spell Out

G: Gambler

Tommy Tuberville likes to cultivate an image of himself as a “riverboat gambler,” even though he’s one of the most conservative coaches out there. Still, he sometimes does really risky plays at times if he thinks he can steal momentum away from Florida and silence the crowd.

A: Apathy

There has been a real feeling of ambivalence towards this game among the fan base for most of the week. Everyone seems ready to head out to Baton Rouge and play LSU, and few of those who have noticed that we play the Auburn Tigers this week seem to be sure we’re going to beat them like we beat Tennessee. If Florida struggles in this game, there will be plenty of fans reaching for the panic button.

T: Torched

The Gator secondary has looked very shaky, and it let the weak Ole Miss passing game put up some big numbers. Auburn will look to exploit a lot of the same weaknesses we saw last week, so hopefully the pass rush will step up and help the defensive backfield out some. There’s no reason why Auburn should throw for 300+ yards like Ole Miss did last week.

O: Offense

Florida has a great offense. It’s been said that Auburn’s offense is worse than vanilla, it’s flavorless yogurt. While Florida will try to air it out and gain yards in bunches, Auburn will be trying to control the ball by running because Brandon Cox can no longer be trusted, and Auburn hasn’t had top-shelf offensive talent since Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown, and Jason Campbell left.

R: Running Game

Auburn’s passing attack has been anemic for most of the year, and they’ve had a QB controversy despite having a 5th-year senior as a starter. That’s pretty remarkable. Brad Lester, who torched Florida last year on the ground, is out with academic issues, so that bodes well for Florida’s surprisingly stout running defense. Kestahn Moore is playing better and better as the year goes on. I think Florida has a distinct advantage on the ground, and since Auburn has no passing game, Florida should be able to win this one.

S: Special Teams

Special teams can be one of Florida’s biggest advantages. The kick coverage has been spotty at times, but Brandon James is a certified playmaker and Joey Ijjas has been perfect so far. Ijjas has been nursing a quad injury this week, but he should be ready to go. If Florida can shore up the kick coverage, this will be a solid advantage for Florida in nearly every game.

Suwannee

Florida is hoping to build momentum with the game that will help it sweep into Louisiana and come out with a win. No doubt, beating Auburn is the focus of the players and coaches since they feel like they have a score to settle from last year. Still, you have to know that LSU will be in the backs of everyone’s minds this weekend.

Tunnels

By all accounts, Florida has the better team. Florida has the revenge factor. Auburn is playing for its season in a sense because they need to regain some momentum and avoid starting SEC play 0-2. Plus, some think ol’ Tommy Tuberville is coaching for his job after losing two home games in a row. Even still, Florida should win this one. It’s never comfortable with Auburn, but the Gators should still come out on top.


Tebow Officially in the Heisman Race

September 28, 2007

I have tried to hold off on Tebow for Heisman talk until I saw some credible evidence that said he’d have a chance to win it. Well, this morning I saw that evidence:

That’s right, he won the weekly Heisman Trophy straw poll, taking 4 of the 10 first place votes. He’s definitely in the hunt now.


Coach’s Show Review: Urban Meyer

September 28, 2007

I built myself a DVR last year, and this year I decided to record as many different coach’s shows as I could because there’s something inherently funny to me in them. Most are done with laughably bad graphics, very low budgets, and when the team is playing badly or has lost, they’re unintentionally hilarious.

Between SunSports and Cox Sports TV, there’s a lot of different coach’s shows on Gainesville TV. I am going to do mostly satirical reviews of as many as I can find, and to be fair, we start with the Gators. This is required weekly viewing for me, so I can actually comment on how things usually go. For just about all of the rest of them, I will only have one episode to go on.

Official Name: Florida Football with Urban Meyer

Episode Reviewed: After the Ole Miss game

Theme Music: generic hard rock music

Co-Host: Mick Hubert, the voice of the Gators

Coach’s Mood: Stoic, all business. As usual. He has the same demeanor every week on the show.

Intro Graphics

How do you know the Gators are a tough team? Steel diamond plating on what appears to be rock. If you could make steel out of rock, that’s how tough the Gators would be.

This is Urban’s best attempt at a smile when he’s not on the football field.

They’re a bit hokey, but at least it appears someone spent more than 10 minutes on them. Comparatively speaking, it’s a solid B for this category.

Set

A wide-angle shot of the set as seen every time the show goes to commercial.

The designers tried a little too hard to make this look classy, and the Gators logos on the wall are all distorted and put up on weird angles. At least they’re muted so as not to be too distracting. There’s a wide screen high def display, two Gator helmets, and a wooden desk. This is actually the best set of the shows I’ve seen so far. Grade: A.

Show Format

Four segments: opening remarks, game review, Inside Gator Football, and All Access Gators. There are brief closing remarks at the end.

Opening Remarks

Urban was not happy about the game as a whole, so that means he dropped a few of his patented backhanded compliments of the team. He tried to stay positive, but you could tell him the game’s outcome bugged him. He seemed most happy about the way Florida dominated the fourth quarter statistically.

Game Review

These graphics indicate which segment of the game the highlights are coming from. You know the games are intense because not only is the blue, diamond-plated rock back, but the text distorts light.

Either Urban practices this (unlikely) or someone who puts the show together actually gives him a list of the plays being featured (overwhelmingly likely) because he’s very sharp every week during this segment. He knows what’s going on with every play and how it relates to everything else int he game. Only Mark Richt can pull off the game review segment as well as Urban can. Grade: A.

Inside Gator Football

At least it’s consistent with the rest of the show’s graphics

Longtime SunSports veteran Steve Babik does a segment every week on either a coach or a player in the program currently. This week was Tony Joiner. They’re fluff pieces every week, but you usually find out a couple of interesting things about the people featured. Plus, they’re almost as objective as the College GameDay fluff pieces, so it’s got that going for it. Grade: B. You have to grade on a curve with these shows.

All Access Gators

Where did this come from? It has no diamond plated rock at all!

This segment repeats highlights from earlier, only this time with Mick Hubert’s radio calls over them. After a highlight, you get a 5-second or so video quote from a player involved. This segment has had several names over the years, and it always confused me as to why they were recycling highlights just to show video of players say something like, “Boy, we really tried hard out there today. It was a battle, but we just fought through it, man, and we came out on top.” Grade: C-.

Embarrassing Commercial Starring the Coach

I’ve already documented how bad Urban is at commercials before. This episode featured his orange juice spot, as well as these two gems:

Billy Donovan and Urban Meyer “fly” a biplane to hawk frozen pizza. 

Billy flies the plane for most of the ad and then at the end the big reveal is that Urban Meyer was in the other seat. His only line: “Yeah I like to air it out.” This one dates back to when Urban first arrived, so it was a nice surprise the first time we saw it two and a half years ago.

Did Urban even know he was going to be doing a commercial the day they filmed this?

Here, Coach Meyer sits down with some old guy and pretends to interview him about pest control. It appears they roped him into doing this before practice one day because he’s wearing shorts and doesn’t even try to make it look like he’s not reading off of cue cards.

When it comes to making embarrassing commercials, Urban’s one of the best. Grade: A+.

Interesting Quote(s)

Coach Meyer slips in his quotable sound bites all at the beginning usually. He brought up the youth and inexperience of the team and mentioned that Chris Rainey had asked him earlier in the week if the team left the day before or the day of the game. He questions whether he has a smart team or not because of all of the penalties. At the end, he said he’s glad to have the state of Mississippi “in the rear view mirror” and is not looking forward to returning. We also owe something to Auburn for last year. Overall, pretty tame. Grade: C.

Overall

This is one of the best coach’s shows out there. It’s easy to make fun of sometimes, but believe me, it gets a lot easier in that domain once you head up I-75 a bit. Urban has less camera presence than Jamie Hyneman does, but Mick Hubert makes up for it. It’s a good, solid show. Grade: A-


The Unbeatens So Far

September 27, 2007

Right now there are 23 unbeaten teams. Now that everyone has played either a quarter or a third of their schedule, it’s time to look at them. All teams fit in the following 4 categories (teams listed alphabetically):

Looking Good

This category is for the elite teams that appear to have legitimate shots at going to the national championship game. Presence in this category goes beyond just on-field performance, though a team could play its way in. They are:

  • Florida
  • LSU
  • Ohio State
  • Oklahoma
  • USC
  • West Virginia

LSU and USC are obvious. Oklahoma and Florida are here on the basis of highly productive offenses and proven coaches/track records. West Virginia and Ohio State are here because they appear to be the class of their conferences, though some big tests loom for them in the future; it’s sooner than later for WVU with it’s showdown at USF tomorrow.
Solid But Unspectacular

This category is for the teams that don’t belong in the category above, but still have a couple of good wins. There’s only one team in it so far, but that likely will go up.

  • Kentucky

Some would argue that the Louisville win isn’t very good, but the Car_inals will still finish with a respectable record because not everyone will be able to outscore them; they just happened to let UK beat them two weeks in a row. Arkansas may be 1-2 right now, but it’s not a bad team. Kentucky stays, though most might think they belong in the next category, which is…

Wishing the Signature Win Looked Better

This is for teams that either thought they had a big win only to see that team fall off, or saw a team that was going to be a feature win trip up and diminish in value. Beyond that particular game, they haven’t played anyone. In parenthesis is the team that was going to be the signature win.

  • Arizona State (Oregon State)
  • Boston College (Georgia Tech)
  • California (Tennessee)
  • Clemson (FSU)
  • Cincinnati (Oregon State)
  • Oregon (Michigan)
  • South Florida (Auburn)

None of these really should require much explanation, except maybe Clemson. I’ve thought since the preseason that FSU would stink, but the Semis were ranked preseason and people like Phil Steele were predicting a big comeback for them in 2007, so it still counts.

Ain’t Beat Nobody

This is for the teams that have yet to play and beat a good team from a BCS league.

  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Michigan State
  • Purdue
  • Rutgers
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

This category is always the most full at the beginning of the year, and it always empties out by somewhere in the middle. It should be noted that it’s not unprecedented for a team to finish here. Tommy Bowden’s 1998 Tulane team beat a schedule of teams in the regular season where no team finished with more than 7 wins, and the bowl win was over 9-win BYU (who lost the only two games it played against teams that finished with more than 7 wins). Depending on how Washington ends up, Hawaii may end up here if it runs the table.