Posted on: November 8, 2010 1:27 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
In any other year, having a 4-3 record in the SEC would have you bound for the Chik-Fil-A or Gator Bowl, but not this year. No, in 2010, thanks to an SEC East division gone ham, 4-3 is good enough to have you playing for a division title. Which is exactly where Florida finds itself this week, as its game against South Carolina in The Swamp this weekend is for a trip to Atlanta and the SEC Championship.
The Swamp hasn't been as kind to the Gators this season, as Florida is only 3-2 at home, and 1-2 against SEC opponents. So in other words, there's just something missing from The Swamp's ecosystem, and Urban Meyer has figured out what that is. The Swamp NEEDS MORE BLUE.
"I've never really done this, but I want to make this the most intense stadium in the history of Florida football this Saturday," said the coach on his weekly television show. "This is for the SEC Championship.
"Get there early. I want everybody to wear blue — head to toe — including our players."
Yes, we all saw how well the Black Out at Rice-Eccles Stadium worked for Utah against TCU, so surely this is exactly what the Gators need to take care of the Gamecocks and get to Atlanta. I would think that a better option for the Gators would be to kidnap Marcus Lattimore, or have a few cases of Icehouse delivered to Stephen Garcia on Friday night.
Or, if that goes against Urban's moral compass, I guess he could call the New York Times and tell them that Steve Spurrier paid $200,000 for Lattimore.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 1:05 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2010 1:05 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
On Monday Florida's head coach Urban Meyer announced that the team had dismissed freshman safety Jonathan Dowling for violating team rules. On Thursday we found out what team rules he violated. Turns out that the kid was kind of punk, or as one unnamed source told the Palm Beach Post, "he was a complete (expletive)."
While we don't know for sure what expletive was used, I'd guess it rhymes with bassmole, which isn't a word but suits my purpose here.
Apparently Dowling was not complying with coaches and staff members and spending his days not going to class and skipping tutoring sessions. When he was confronted by the coaching staff about it, he acted like one of those bassmoles, and Meyer decided that was enough to kick him off the team. Which is fine.
This is Florida, after all, and there is just no place for that kind of behavior in the Gators program.
While the Gators will tolerate you firing off an AK-47 in a parking lot, getting arrested for a DUI, or arrested for threatening to kill your girlfriend, those are very different circumstances. See, those guys are all starters who contribute on the field, so while they might be suspended for a while, they're going to be back when they're needed.
But if you're just some punk-ass freshman with an attitude on the bench? Well, that's just uncalled for.
Hit the bricks, kid.
Posted on: October 28, 2010 7:12 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 7:13 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
If you can't tell by reading my name up there, I am a white male. I'm also a white male that played in various sports as a youth, and was never quite able to shake off the stereotypes that are typically attached to the white "athlete." Much like Wesley Snipes once told us in a movie, white men can't jump. I can jump, just not very high. I'm also not all that fast. In fact, my Little League baseball coaches took to calling me "Lightning" because they thought they were funny. I just thought they were douchebags.
As I grew older I became more comfortable with my lack of athleticism and caucasion limitations. I accepted them for what they were. When I see fast, white linebackers playing in the NFL or in college, I don't get jealous, I'm just happy somebody is out there helping the cause. Not all people feel this way, however. Take, for instance, Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder. The Florida alum knows what is wrong with his former team these days, and it hit him when he saw those white linebackers running down John Brantley.
“They don’t have an identity,” Crowder told reporters immediately after last week’s game at Green Bay, which followed Florida’s 10-7 loss to Mississippi State. “They don’t know what — John Brantley don’t know what he wants to do. He can’t outrun anybody. I saw him get run down by a white linebacker last week, which was a disgrace to all Florida football history.”
But if Mike Pouncey was playing quarterback, who would snap the ball over his head?
To be fair to Crowder, while I don't necessarily agree with the way he goes about saying it, I totally concur with his assessment of what the Gators are doing on offense. John Brantley is not a running quarterback, yet Steve Addazio and Urban Meyer insist on treating him as though he is. So I don't think it's fair to blame Brantley, nor compare him to Tim Tebow, because he isn't Tim Tebow.
Also, just for kicks, I'd like to see Crowder have a race with Brian Urlacher. If he can't win that one, then he obviously shouldn't be playing linebacker in the NFL.
Posted on: October 28, 2010 4:10 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 4:27 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
As the regular season winds to a close, we'll break down the conference races and let you know what scenarios are needed for your favorite team to grasp that automatic BCS berth. In the SEC, we'll shake down each division race first then make an insanely premature prediction. Agree? Disagree? Got any good haikus? Leave 'em all in the comments section below. For the ACC edition, click here .
West DivisionAuburn (8-0) (5-0)
Alabama (7-1) (4-1)
LSU (7-1) (4-1)
Mississippi State (6-2) (2-2)
Arkansas (5-2) (2-2)
Ole Miss (3-4) (1-3)
Week 9 Preview
With Auburn sitting a game up on their bitter Alabama rivals but a full two or more on the rest of the field -- thanks to head-to-head tiebreakers over LSU , Arkansas , and Mississippi State -- it looks like there's not much stopping an Iron Bowl meeting (Nov. 26, only on CBS!) for all the Western marbles. But we're not there yet. There are plenty of reasons a team calling itself the No. 1 team in the country has lost on the road each of the last three weeks, and an awful lot of those reasons are in play again this week as emotionally-drained Auburn travels to Ole Miss . Houston Nutt has enjoyed a ton of success against favored Auburn teams over the years, and with Jeremiah Masoli now in what appears to be firm command of Nutt's offense, the Rebels have the ability to take advantage of the Tigers' often-porous defense.
But the Rebels are also struggling to stop the run in SEC play, giving up 162 yards per game, and that's after playing Vanderbilt and before playing Auburn (who has rushed for more than 300 yards in their last four SEC outings). If the Tigers come out focused enough to execute in their punishing ground game, they should wear down a Rebel defense that has sagged in several second halves.
If Auburn does come away with the win, Arkansas and Mississippi State will be all but eliminated even with wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky , respectively; they would need to run the table, see Auburn to lose to both Georgia and Alabama , and get enough other help to squeeze into a three-way tie that would avoid the head-to-head dilemma. Much more likely is that when the smoke clears, next week's critical game between LSU and Alabama (both of whom are on byes this week) will either help set up a winner-take-all Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa ... or, if LSU wins, bring Auburn within one win of clinching the West.
Week 9 West Winners -- Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State
West Favorite -- Auburn
East DivisionSouth Carolina (5-2) (3-2)
Georgia (4-3) (3-3)
Florida (4-3) (2-3)
Vanderbilt (2-5) (1-4)
Kentucky (4-4) (1-4)
Tennessee (2-5) (0-4)
Week 9 Preview
The most muddled division in all of college football should gain some clarity this week when Georgia and Florida play a de facto elimination game in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (3:30 ET this Saturday--only on CBS!). Assuming South Carolina holds serve at home against reeling, winless Tennessee , the loser will find themselves at least two games behind the Gamecocks with only two games remaining on Carolina's slate. Though either team could still hope for a three-team (or even four-team) tie at 4-4, there doesn't appear to be a way for this Saturday's loser to win that tiebreak.*
The Gators do have the advantage of controlling their own destiny, while Georgia will need help even with a win. But it's Mark Richt 's team that comes in as the Vegas favorite after destroying the Volunteers, Commodores, and Wildcats over the previous three weeks. The Dawg offense looks rejuvenated with A.J. Green back in uniform, changes along the offensive line leading to better holes for Washaun Ealey and the rest of the Dawg ground game, and Aaron Murray coming into his own as the trigger-man in charge. The Gators remain mired at 89th in the country in total offense, and unless Urban Meyer has worked some miracles during his team's bye week or the Gator return game reprises its magic from the LSU loss, it's difficult to see how Florida scores often enough to keep pace.
If Georgia does win, there's still a long road to the division title, though; they'd have to either defeat Auburn on the road in Week 11 or hope Carolina loses to Florida in Gainesville and Arkansas at home. But neither scenario is that far-fetched, meaning the East would stay muddled for at least a few more weeks.
One thing we can say: with Kentucky and Vanderbilt both major road underdogs this week (at Miss. St. and Arkansas, respectively), their brief run as legitimate players for the divisional title appears to be over.
*Since South Carolina would be the first team eliminated from that tiebreak, thanks to their divisional loss to Kentucky. After that, it's Florida vs. Georgia head-to-head.
Week 9 East Winners -- South Carolina, Georgia
East Favorite -- South Carolina
Insanely Premature ACC Championship Game Prediction - Auburn 35, South Carolina 31
Posted on: October 27, 2010 3:00 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2010 3:01 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Florida wide receiver Chris Rainey's time away from the field appears to be coming to an end. After being suspended indefinitely for his aggravated stalking arrest last month, Rainey has returned to practice this week and could see his first bit of playing time since Florida's 38-14 victory over South Florida on September 11. As least that is the way it sounds from head coach Urban Meyer's comments on Wednesday.
"As of now, he’s done everything he’s supposed to do,” Meyer said on the SEC teleconference. “What is today? Wednesday? Tomorrow is the deadline that I set with him and myself, and I’ll just do a thorough check again tomorrow of everything we asked him to do."
Rainey has completed the required community service in his deferred prosecution agreement, and the junior from Lakeland, FL will likely be looked to for an immediate impact for a stagnant offense. Rainey could fill in as the big-play threat that has been missing with speedy running back Jeff Demps being limited by a sprained foot for nearly five weeks. That will come as welcome news for the Gators, losers lost three straight games.
After being reinstated to the team on October 10, Rainey was back on the sideline to witness the Gators' 10-7 loss to Mississippi State. Now with a week of practice under his belt, Rainey will no doubt be looking to make up for lost time on the field against Georgia. The Gators can still make a run at the SEC East Division title with a win over South Carolina on November 13, but cannot afford any more conference losses if they plan on being in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.
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Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:02 am
Edited on: October 26, 2010 11:04 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Cracks abounded yesterday when Twitter collectively heard that Urban Meyer had described the agony of watching former Gator Cam Newton go apenuts for Auburn by saying "It's really hard." (No, the CBS College Football Blog was not above joining in .) Which, all gym-class joking aside, it has to be at this stage; Meyer and his offensive staff have been totally unable to either adapt John Brantley to the existing Gator offense or adapt the offense to Brantley, a problem that Newton would have rendered utterly irrelevant if he'd remained in Gainesville.
But even so, was that actually what Meyer meant when he said it? Someone get us an ALCOA sponsorship, because here's the transcript , and now You Make the Call :
Reporter: Do you allow yourself to watch Cam Newton on Saturday? Did you watch him?On the one hand, Meyer's defense makes logical sense. If you're one of America's most richly-paid coaches and your team is riding the first three-game losing streak of your current tenure, with your biggest rivalry game of the season coming up against one of the SEC 's hottest teams, you probably don't have a whole lot of time to kick back with a cold one on Saturday afternoon and watch one team you won't play take on one you've already played.
Then again: the highlights of Newton's masterpiece performance against LSU were near-inescapable Saturday for even the most causal of football fans, and suffice it to say Meyer is not a casual football fan. Meyer is certainly aware of them, aware of what Newton is doing at Auburn, and aware that -- according to the Miami Herald 's Mike McCall -- he made a sizable mistake in evaluating Newton's potential:
The verdict here? When Meyer adds "I'll tell you that" to the difficulty of watching Newton, he's not talking about carving out the time for it. He's talking about watching a player he recruited, groomed, and eventually let walk away win a Heisman Trophy -- probably -- for someone else while the quarterback he promoted instead flails. Meyer is only human. You can bet it's hard.
HT: Team Speed Kills .
Posted on: October 25, 2010 1:00 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It was just three weeks ago, after a humuliating 29-27 defeat at Colorado (the same Colorado, incidentally, that's currently sharing the Big 12 North basement with winless Kansas ) that the question wasn't if Mark Richt would be relieved of his head coaching duties at Georgia , it was when : midseason, after another flogging at the hands of Florida in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party? Or at year's end, after defeats to bitter rivals Auburn and/or Georgia Tech ?
Richt might still find himself in hot water if he can't get past the Gators, Tigers or Yellow Jackets, but after three emphatic wins over fellow SEC East rivals Tennessee , Vanderbilt , and Kentucky , Richt's ship officially appears righted and the Dawgs find themselves just a game out of the divisional lead. How complete has the Dawg overhaul been? Despite Georgia's 3-17 record against Florida since 1990 and losses by a combined 90-27 score the past two seasons, Vegas oddsmakers have installed the Dawgs as 3-point favorites over Urban Meyer 's reeling Gators for this week's annual grudge match.
The odds on that decision were probably off the board following the defeat in Boulder, a loss that newly-installed Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity doesn't seem to have entirely forgotten about just yet. From the Department of Backhanded Compliments, McGarity's thoughts on the Dawgs' season to-date :
No doubt McGarity is sincere in his respect for Richt's ability to change course and willingness to (successfully) improvise once that improvisation became necessary.
But his recognition that Richt failed to have the program going in "the right direction" coming out of preseason practice (particularly given Richt's track record for slow starts) suggests that as far as Richt has brought the Bulldogs the last three weeks, if he can't bring them past the worst Florida team of Meyer's tenure with a squad playing as well as any in the SEC (Auburn excepted), we still won't be certain how much longer Richt will be allowed to bring them anywhere. If a coach who can admit his mistakes is nice, a coach who doesn't make them in the first place is better.
Posted on: October 20, 2010 2:24 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Florida Gators are on a bye this week, but when they do return to action next week against Georgia, the Gators may have an old weapon back. During his weekly appearance at the SEC teleconference on Wednesday, head coach Urban Meyer said that Chris Rainey is once again eligible to play for the Gators. Rainey returned to practice last week, but has had to sit out for the last five weeks following his arrest for aggravated stalking.
Still, just because Rainey is eligible to play, Meyer didn't want anyone to make the mistake that all this means he will play.
“Chris Rainey is eligible to participate in the Georgia game, but I’m not saying he will,” Meyer said. “That hasn’t been determined.”
No, it hasn't been determined, but trust me, Rainey will be playing against Georgia. You don't let him start practicing again and then restore his eligibility for him to sit on the sideline while your struggling football team battles for its life. The fact is that while Rainey may not be the answer for what ails Florida, his return certainly wouldn't hurt the team's chances.
So unless Rainey manages to get himself arrested during Florida's off week, he's going to be on the field against Georgia.