When wrapping up his week-long look at the Big 12, Dr. Saturday had this to say about the Red River Shootout:
It wasn't long ago -- still only four years -- that "the streak" in the Oklahoma-Texas series was one-sided and undeniable: OU took it to the Longhorns five years in a row from 2000-04, by an average score of 38-11, and went on to play for three mythical championships. It took the most electric player of the decade running the most unstoppable offense to end that streak in 2005 and finally what had been thoroughly lopsided ground. Texas is 2-1 in the Red River Shootout since Vince Young ascended from Austin, leaving scores of barriers smashed and bringing Mack Brown's record against Bob Stoops to a respectable 4-6. . . .
[I]t's a classic toss-up, all execution and game-planning and sweating the small stuff and, ultimately, getting a little lucky. Which is exactly what the game of the year should be. Frankly, Texas probably deserves a karmic bounce or two, but it wouldn't be worth watching or waiting for if karma was predictable like that.
Naturally, as an SEC partisan with a 'Dawg in that particular fight, I was reminded by that passage of a certain other neutral-site division-rivalry showdown that has resisted all attempts to expunge its longstanding politically-incorrect nickname from the lexicon, lest the participants in the event come across as insensitive to the hypersensitive.
Obviously, the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party lacks this year what the showdown between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns perennially possesses: national significance and the expectation of being a 60-minute war for supremacy. The battle between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators was anticipated to be that last year, and it came up short on a level that, quite frankly, set the Red and Black back as much as a full decade.
However, Dr. Saturday's underlying point that the streaky nature of rivalry quickly can transform apparent destiny into ancient history is well-taken heading into 2009, when Urban Meyer's concentration rather clearly is on Lane Kiffin rather than on Mark Richt, and when the Classic City Canines have the advantages of being an off-the-radar team with an open date before the trek to Jacksonville . . . with the added edge of the metronome-like regularity of the alternating 19-year periods of series dominance now operating squarely in Georgia's favor.
Yes, it seems to us now that the Bulldogs will never beat the Gators with any regularity . . . but it appeared that way to the Florida faithful before the current cycle began, as well, and sensible supporters of the Sunshine State Saurians know that trends end and every 'Dawg has its day.
Don't get me wrong; I fully expect Florida to win the Eastern Division without the need for any tiebreakers, win the SEC championship game by a double-digit margin, and win the BCS championship game in convincing, if not dominating, fashion. No one thinks the Gators are going undefeated, though---even the best teams in Florida history dropped a game somewhere along the line, as such setbacks are virtually an inevitable by-product of having a big-game coach strolling the sideline---and I think the "1" in Florida's 13-1 is going to come in Jacksonville against a Georgia squad that otherwise posts a forgettable season, a la 1985.