"The preseason's over…"
That's been the go to quote since the Troy game ended. Granted, the way the rest of the SEC has played, I don't know if I necessarily agree, but I'll be getting to that later. For now, let's stick to what the “preseason” has or hasn't taught us.
As with any piece on Florida, this one starts with Superman. Tebow's new throwing motion, while looking visibly weird at times, is ridiculously accurate. Don't let the 64.1 percent completion percentage throw you off (it's actually a little worse than his career percentage); he’s a better passer this year.
Right now, Tebow's not missing long or short, and is really looking like a QB, not a fullback with an arm, as Mel Kiper would have you believe.
The running game is equally impressive, with the fourth, fifth, and sixth rushing performances over 70 yards coming on Saturday. Think about that for a minute, the Gators have had six rushing performances over 70 yards in two weeks. I know the competition has been weak, but that's a special kind of dominance that you don't see often.
Side note: Tennessee, if you thought UCLA's rushing attack was tough (not ranked in the top 50, total rushing offense, in at least the last four years)? Just wait until FBS' No. 3 rushing attack steps onto the field.
The name of the game yesterday, however, was defense. The much-hyped unit allowed only 139 yards of total offense by the Trojan-Lites, and looked like they could have held Troy to less if wanted. This defense has all of the makings of a super dominant group; think 2008 USC or 2001 Miami. Hyperbole? Maybe, I guess we'll find out in December.
While at first glance, it looks like the Gators did exactly what a No. 1 should to two scrubs, winning by a combined score of about 1000–9, a few chinks in the armor presented themselves.
First, Deonte has as many dropped balls as catches. Riley and Aaron are quickly moving up the draft boards, but the rest of the receivers refuse to step up, and Deonte’s leading that lack of a charge.
Maybe that’s part of Urban’s diabolical, don’t show anything to anyone plan? I’d like to think that Urban has more sense than your common super–villain though. No, it’s more likely that Deonte is merely inconsistent.
David Nelson doesn’t look much better either, not that we ever see him doing anything but running a dummy route. Also, that fumble in the second quarter didn’t help you’re cause, David.
Speaking of fumbles, holy crap, did someone put Vaseline on the football yesterday? I know it was wet, but lots of football teams play in bad weather, it’s part of playing in September and October, and don’t fumble a combined 20 times, okay more like six or seven. The Gators need to get that under control, because they had four of them.
I’d like to point out that I did notice how quickly the Gators cleaned up their play after the monsoon ended, but that likely won’t be the only wet game they play in. Against LSU, four fumbles means a loss, not “only” a 50-point win.
Finally, what’s with Jonathan Phillips? Is the strain of law school too much to handle, or are all of those extra points wearing him out? He’s now missed a kick per game, not quite Chris Hetland bad, but not exactly a sure thing.
Urban will likely open up the placekicking competition for this week, but I don’t often enjoy placing my hopes on those who were beaten out in the preseason. Still, all Gators can breathe a sigh of relief because, hey, at least it’s not FSU’s kicker.
WAY TOO EARLY HEISMAN
Tebow made his case on Saturday with five TDs, four passing and one rushing, and no interceptions. His closest early competitor, Colt McCoy looked lost during the first half, before stepping up and crushing a bad Wyoming team. A few bonus points for the road win, but overall that battle’s going to Tebow.
Max Hall’s stats are too mediocre to really challenge Tebow as long as the Gators stay in the top five, but he’ll be hanging around for a while.
Case Keenum might have stepped up a bit in voters’ eyes, and he’ll have the eye–popping stats to deserve recognition, but teams like Houston never achieve enough national clout to have their stars truly matter in the Heisman race.
Jahvid Best is still the sleeper, who’s not really sleeping. He’s putting up big numbers, and Cal is 2–0. Keep an eye on him.
Dez Bryant’s Heisman campaign may have crashed with the Cowboys. He is having good games but not putting up unbelievable numbers, something receivers must do to keep up with the QBs.
Now, I’d like to take the remainder of my space to rant a little on how pathetically pathetic the Gators’ schedule is. I believe I might have mentioned in my last article that the Gators’ schedule may keep them out of title contention; while that may still be the case; at least everyone else sucks too.
Ok State, Oklahoma, and Ohio State are out of the picture already. USC looks very vulnerable, and I doubt BYU will climb enough to knock the Gators out.
That leaves only Texas and Penn State as potential teams to affect the Gators title hopes without actually facing off against them. Still, it only takes three teams to keep one from a title shot, so we’re hoping for a Penn State/Texas loss until then.
Now, let’s move on to our terrible rivals. Georgia gets bumped down another notch vicariously thanks to ultra–overrated Oklahoma State. Georgia couldn’t find the endzone last week, but Houston can torch the No. 5 Cowboys? Despite your tough win against South Carolina, you are looking more and more pathetic, Dawgs.
Tennessee, quit snickering, you’re no better. You lost to USC’s whipping boy at Neyland. This is four years removed from third in the Pac-10, which was the best finish in 10 years UCLA too, not 1980s and 1990s UCLA. Face it; you guys got beat by a bad team too.
LSU, you continue to come up short of expectations, but you’re still winning. Not that barely sliding by Washington or Vanderbilt should be considered much of a win, but you are 2–0. Your defense did step up… then again, it’s Vandy. Do they ever score touchdowns? Please, for the love of the Gators’ strength of schedule, put up a fight in October.
And you, FSU; I haven’t forgotten your debacle. No, I don’t think I could ever forget that crapfest. You are 0–2 in my book, and likely in the eyes of the voters as well. You lost against Jacksonville State for 59 minutes and 29 seconds. Good thing you decided to play for the last half a minute.
I don’t even think I can ridicule that kind of awful. No, in fact, I’m a little sad, not that I care what happens to your record. I’m sad because you are actually going to hurt our strength of schedule in November with your 3–8 record (calling it now).
Is Bobby’s final victory going to be a total loss to the Gators, which keeps Florida from a national championship? It just might happen. Why couldn’t we schedule Texas or USC?
Thank you, rivals. You’re ineptness may keep us from roses giving Gator fans one more reason to hate your schools.