This is an interesting week, isn't it? If you're like me (and your patronage on this blog indicates that you indeed are) you want to beat Florida with every fiber of your being. I've gone on record as saying that, as a Georgia fan who came of age as a football spectator in the 1990's, Florida is the UGA rival whom I most despise. In much the same way that Kyle's formative experiences with Pat Dye's Auburn teams shaped his views on all things Plainsman, my experiences with Spurrier-led Gator squads inclined me toward bileous Gator hatred from the word go. To put things succinctly, we could be up on Florida 45-0 with 15 seconds left on the clock and I would still want to put it in the endzone one more time. And then I would want us to attempt an onside kick. And then I'd want Urban Meyer to catch ebola from the silverback gorilla that mauled him on the way into the lockerroom. During this one week of the year there is nothing that I want more than for the Georgia Bulldogs to beat Florida.
However, I have absolutely no objective rationale for thinking that this Georgia Bulldog team which has been erratic at best and putrid at worst has any hope of sneaking up on Florida. True, Urban's boys have posted a series of lackluster performances over the past 3 weeks. If you've watched the Florida Gators recent efforts against LSU, Arkansas and Mississippi State you may have found yourself thinking (though not daring to say aloud) "Hey, we may have a chance on Saturday." After all, Tim Tebow is frustrated, and the offense he captains looks kind of out of sorts. Brandon Spikes has some flavor of lower extremity injury that he may or may not have suffered in a football game (alternate causality? Dry humping a wild boar he'd just chased down at his summer place outside Budapest after mistaking it for Knowshon Moreno).
The Gators are preparing for Georgia after hard fought games in which they didn't get to rest a lot of starters, and had to take the dreaded midnight flight back from Starkville, which is never a good way to jumpstart your new week of preparation for SEC football. Granted, the secondary which I believe to be the strength of this Gator squad shut down Ryan Mallett a lot more convincingly than we did. And, granted, there is nothing in either's prior history that makes me believe that Prince Miller has a prayer of making an open field tackle on Tim Tebow. But the luster is off this Gator squad. They're really good, especially on defense, but they no longer appear unbeatable. There are some cracks there. So much so that Orson Swindle/Spencer Hall just doesn't know what to believe anymore. He also thinks, by the way, that Lavelle Edwards's wives are doing a swell job of upkeep on the former BYU coach (if you're curious, the secret is regular oil changes, only using the premium petrol, and not driving him above 55). But that part's beside the point.
As DavetheDawg wisely notes, there are a lot of things that have to fall into place for the 'Dawgs to pull an unbelievable upset in Jacksonville. I'm not certain everything will go just as we need it to, but stranger things have happened. Former University of Texas golf coach (and unlicensed though highly effective sports psychologist) Harvey Penick was fond of saying that some golfers are optimistic and others are confident. The difference is that the confident golfer has hit any given shot before and thinks he can do it again. The optimistic golfer has never hit the shot he must, but nevertheless believes there's a chance it will happen.
This week, I'm an optimist. I'm optimistic that the latest iteration of our offensive line, which moves Clint Boling back to the left tackle slot where he excelled last season, will allow us to run the ball just well enough. I'm optimistic that Caleb King will run tough and seize the starting tailback job, and that Mike Bobo, with a week to exercise his strategic muscles will call the game of his life. I'm optimistic that Tim Tebow will continue to focus on Aaron Hernandez and Riley Cooper to the exclusion of other options and that Emanuel Moody will put the ball on the ground. Actually, I suppose I'm more confident than optimistic about that last one.
But you get the idea. Hope springs eternal. You just have to drink the Kool-Aid. Which reminds me, the last time we drank the Kool-Aid things turned out rather well along the banks of the St. John's River. It's and oldy but goody which I hope will carry the same mojo it did the last time we beat Vanderbilt, followed it with a strong performance against "Bye" and then decamped to Jacksonville. The Bulldog Kool-Aid:
3 teaspoons of cherry kool-aid powder, 3 ounces of rum, and 6 ounces (half a can) of mountain dew. Mix it up, add ice and enjoy. If you're headed to the coast, stay safe and have fun. Until tomorrow . . .