USC showed what can happen when a team expects to blow somebody out just by showing up. They’ve done that three years in a row, actually.
Few teams can expect to steamroll all opponents anymore, not that many teams did it anyway. Only two teams over the past decade and a half have won every game by at least two touchdowns: ’95 Nebraska and ’04 Utah. Every other team has either lost or had at least one close call.
Steve Spurrier’s Florida teams in the mid ’90s had a low of blowouts for sure, but the SEC was relatively down. Georgia was mired in the Goff/Donnan administrations, LSU was mucking around in mediocrity, and Auburn took a nose dive towards the end of Terry Bowden’s time. From 1993-98, only Florida or Tennessee won the SEC.
Obviously times have changed. There are far fewer in-conference blowouts, and everybody can beat nearly anybody. The most important thing is not so much being explosive as it is being consistent. Having an even keel trumps style and panache.
That is why I am comfortable with how the Gators have won so far. They are not being as aggressive as they were last season, but they are winning with everyone on the field contributing. Everyone is pulling their weight, and they are playing like a complete team.
That probably gives them the best chance to win week in and week out. If you can count on getting special teams points almost every week (as Florida has so far), that’s a huge advantage. If you can count on your defense getting timely turnovers every week (as Florida has so far), it gives the other side of the ball more confidence. If you can count on your offense taking care of the ball and not turning it over (as Florida has so far), it sets the defense up in good situations every time.
Believe me, I’d love to see the Gators run up 50 on everybody. I have a feeling though, that the current approach is more likely to keep them grounded and trying hard every week. In this tough of a conference, that’s the best you can hope for.