I hate Florida. It's a stabby, jabby kind of hate, too. I hate the fact that we only play Florida one weekend a year, leaving me with 11 weeks a year to either mildly dislike, vaguely pity or genuinely loathe our next opponent. But Florida week, that's some hate right thar. Burning, itching, screaming for a topical ointment hate.
Despite what a lot of national pundits and the folks in Vegas seem to be saying about this game, I really like our chances. One reason is that I think Florida's recent success has been overvalued. I don't see Kentucky winning any beauty contests, and I don't see us giving up three blocked kicks deep in our own territory in the first quarter, either. I also am scratching my head over how a sound beating of an Arkansas team which appeared rudderless until they squeaked one out against post-Tony Franklin Auburn is somehow impressive.
Second, I like how we match up against the Gators. We may not be as fast as Chris Rainey or Percy Harvin, but I guarantee you our defense is faster than most of the defenses they've faced. I also don't think the Florida secondary has faced a quarterback this season who could be described as anything past marginally competent. Matt Stafford on the other hand is more than qualified to lead a victory over the Gators. I'll also take the matchup of our offensive line versus their front four. They leave me slightly worried but not terribly impressed. Finally, I like the fact that we've been playing outstanding in the kicking game since the Alabama debacle.
That's not to say I think we're a significantly better football team than Urban Meyer's squad. Most of the personnel matchups in this one are either slight advantages for one team or a true push. So in the end, this one is really and truly going to come down to execution. Somewhere along the line, one team is going to throw and land a solid punch to the jaw, and the other team won't have an answer. Penn Wagers will feel left out of the action so he'll call Someone will commit a penalty at a truly unpardonable time.
In a game like this, when everybody else is slugging it out, one guy can truly make the difference. Once upon a time that guy was Lindsey Scott. Last year, "that guy" was Knowshon Moreno. This year, it will be Knowshon again. As Michael Irvin likes to say "big players play big in big games."* Knowshon Rockwell Moreno is a bigtime player, and this is indeed a bigtime game.
And before the Cocktail Party kicks off, you should kick back with a Rum! Knowshon! Rum!. It's made with 1 and 1/2 ounces of light rum, 1/2 ounce of banana liquer, 1/2 ounce of Bacardi 151 and pineapple juice/orange juice to taste. As with most cocktail thursday concoctions, this one isn't brain surgery: Mix all the alcohol over ice, strain it into a glass and top it will the pineapple juice.** It's the potable equivalent of the toss sweep. You may have to run it a few times, but eventually you'll hit paydirt.
Until later . . .
*Michael's also been known to say things like "run, it's the cops!!!" and "I might have caught that ball if only my paycheck had one more zero." and "Why is Coach Ditka looking at me like he's going to eat me?" But that's neither here nor there.
**But so help me, if you put a paper umbrella in the thing I am disavowing all knowledge of your actions.