Well that sucked. I'll go into more detail further down, but let's just get a few things out of the way right off the top. I'm not even going over the five things one by one this week. No need to. I thought we had an answer for Florida, and I was wrong. Any other discussion of what I thought going into this game is now totally superflous. That said, here's what I know, in handy "voice of the people" crowdspeak:
- Penn Wagers hates us, poor spotting of the ball, missed holding calls, yada, yada, yada. Sure Penn Wagers and his crew missed some big calls at big times. But they didn't miss any field goals. They didn't forget to defend the option on the goal line even though Florida runs that look inside the 20 roughly 25% of the time. They didn't drop a single touchdown pass, nor call a single play action pass that everyone in Duval County, including the little old ladies in the Shady Oaks Senior Center, knew was coming. Only once in my entire fanhood have I ever blamed a loss on officiating, and I'm not about to repeat that. They beat us. We didn't beat them. That's it. That's the list.
- Gator fans, poor winners, blah, blah, blah. Orson Swindle has every right to gloat. His team handed mine it's collective rump on a silver platter. If we'd won 49-10, I would be at least as annoying as 75% of Gator fans. I'd probably be downright insufferable, at least from a saurian perspective.The fact of the matter is that this is the new status quo. Last year's win put some fire back in this rivalry. Next year we'll have something to slowly burn over for 364 days. Good rivalries are like that. That fire in your gut this morning? That's the new normal. This thing has some hate back in it, because we no longer expect to lose to Florida. Urban Meyer simply gave us our motivation for next season. Speaking of which . . .
- Urban Meyer, asshat, run up the score, etc., etc. etc. Yeah, he ran up the score. He was throwing bombs up by 6 touchdowns with 7:30 remaining. But he also kicked a field goal against Miami while up by 20 with 25 seconds left earlier this season. He also piled on 14 points in the last five minutes against Arkansas to make that one look respectable to the poll voters. So, since when was it Urban Meyer's job to cover Deonte Thompson? Answer? It's not. It looked a whole lot like our defense started feeling sorry for themselves after Asher Allen gave up the touchdown to Louis Murphy. I'm not going to blame the bully for hitting us in the mouth since we never really lifted a fist to hit him back after that point. That's something we've got to work on. They punched. We didn't counterpunch. Period.
- Willie Martinez is a loser, fire Mike Bobo, wah, wah, wahhhhh!!!!! The difference in this game was the four turnovers we had and the one we gave away early on a stupid penalty. Lack of execution. Period. Florida had 373 total yards, well below their season average. Our offense actually outgained them by 25 yards. Mike Bobo may have been incredibly predictable some times, especially when calling play action passes over and over again. But it was generally working until Stafford got generous with the ball. Turnovers were the difference between a close win and a blowout loss. Florida deserves credit for scoring off the easy chances we gave them. We deserve derision for having multiple opportunities to score and simply refusing to.
- Blair Walsh sucks, I thought Andy Bailey graduated, wimper, wimper, sigh. Lay off the kid. We knew going into this season that we'd be relying on a freshman kicker away from home to win some games. That's not a news flash. He'll get better. Nobody seems to remember Billy Bennett's 2003 performance at LSU these days. Kickers learn early on that they're only as good as their last kick. Heck, I kicked at the high school level and can tell you that even that is maddening after you miss one. I promise you that for the guy from Ft. Lauderdale, losing to Florida stings. He won't forget. He's a good one, and he'll make up for it.
- Onside kick, stupid, stupid, stupid, rabble, rabble, rabble. Coach Richt said in the postgame presser that it wasn't executed well. I don't think it should have been executed at all. I understand what he was trying to do, though. He knew that no one was expecting it and that a recovery would have been a huge momentum swing and jumpstarted things. I get that. Florida got a short field, but Brandon James gives them a short field on conventional kickoffs with frightening regularity anyway. I wouldn't have made the same call given the risks and rewards, but I understand. If that's the worst coaching decision Mark Richt makes in any given year I'm fine with that. I'd still rather he screw up trying like heck to win rather than fidgeting with his headset and trying not to lose.
- 16 of 19, angst, angst, hate!!!!! I've said many times that thisgame is the one which annually means the most to me. There's no way I can explain the euphoria I felt last year. Conversely, the fact that we haven't beaten Florida back-to-back in almost 20 years simply defies explanation to me. The fact is that Mark Richt is 2-6 against Florida is unacceptable to me. I'm sure it's unacceptable to him, too. But there's not some other guy out there who I think is going to do any better. But I feel a very real sense of dread now that I didn't feel 24 hours ago. If the SEC East were a race, it would include: a) a Tennessee squad driving in reverse, b) Kentucky and South Carolina programs perpetually stuck in neutral, and c) Vanderbilt, driving a Saab loaded down with two cases of chardonnay and The Collected Works of Michel Foucault. Urban Meyer is driving a Ferrari, and I'm just not sure we can keep up with him over the next couple of years. Check back with me in a couple of months and maybe I'll feel better. This morning, I got nothing.
- Bandwagons, sore losers, this, that and the other. I'm sure a lot of us said some things yesterday in person and on the interwebs that we'll want to take back eventually. But that's ok. Yesterday was that rare occasion upon which, as Mark Twain once famously remarked, "profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer." As a national championship winning coach I know once said "Go ahead and yell at me. Don't be surprised if I yell back. We both care too much about this thing not to." All of you probably have hurt feelings or hurt pride. Rub some dirt on it and get back out there. I'll see you on Tuesday. Until then . . .