Relax, Florida Gator Fans, and Enjoy the Greatest Era in Gator Athletics

Tom KesslerCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2009

STARKVILLE, MS - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Tim Tebow # 15 of the Florida Gators during pre game warmup against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, at Davis Wade Stadium on  October 24, 2009 in Starkville, Mississippi  (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
Rick Dole/Getty Images

The Florida Gators are not the best team in college football.

So say those who feel a win is not a win unless it’s by double digits.

The naysayers point out the flaws in this Gators team: poor red-zone performance; losing the turnover battle; not having the killer instinct; making mental mistakes; not beating teams by 30 to 40 points; not winning pretty.

The parent in me feels like watching the Gators this year is like seeing a bright child underachieve. Disappointment, and frustration in the reality that there’s nothing I can do to get my child to perform better.

Oh sure, I’ll encourage and applaud him with every step in the right direction, but ultimately my lil' underachiever has to figure out a way to get things done on his own.  

And what can I do about my team underachieving?

Encourage the players and coaches, applaud them, and find positives, even if everyone around them sees the negatives.

Florida fans, it’s time to relax. Florida is the No. 1 team in the nation.

We have the best head coach, the all-time best college quarterback, the biggest home field advantage, an excellent record against our rivals, and, in all reality, a date in the Rose Bowl.

Junior defensive tackle Terron Sanders helps put things into perspective, "We're finding ways to win.  We're having fun with the fact we're 7-0. There aren't many teams in the nation who can say that.

"We haven't played a complete game yet, but we're 7-0. That shows how tough our team is, how close we are. Once we put a complete game together, it's going to be something special to watch."

So, relax. Enjoy this season.

Really, the question about the Florida Gators' No. 1 ranking this year boils down to whether fans and pollsters feel the Gators have overachieved, or underachieved.

Mike Huguenin of argues that Florida’s gaudy statistical rankings are skewed by games against weak opponents.

Huguenin writes, "Florida is No. 8 in the nation in total offense, at 457.0 yards per game. But that's misleading. Forty percent of the Gators' offensive output came in the first two games, against Charleston Southern and Troy.

"Take those games out, and Florida is averaging 382.4 yards per game, which would be 56th spot below Tennessee."

Florida fans, what do you believe?

Those fans who believe the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party Glass is half-empty will agree with Huguenin. I, however, disagree.

In the games against Charleston Southern and Troy, Florida’s first team offense played sparingly, and only in basic sets, to avoid showing SEC opponents too much.

Every Top 25 team has played a couple of softies, so quit arguing that Florida’s cupcakes have more calories than the others.

AND, Florida’s second and third string defenses played most of the game, in basic sets. We didn’t show any blitz packages; Charlie Strong dialed it up vanilla.

Ask yourself, how much better would our offensive and defensive statistics be if we had played more aggressively with our first team?

Florida is ranked No. 1 for a very good reason. We own the longest winning streak in the nation. Florida is undefeated, and can clinch the SEC East this weekend against Georgia. Championship teams win the close games. Florida has won all the close games this year.

Florida fans will have the devilish pleasure of watching Tim Tebow break Herschel Walker’s SEC Touchdown record this week against Walker’s old team.

Tim Tebow is the best college quarterback ever to play the game. He’ll be talked about 100 years from now, when today’s high definition highlights will look grainy and faded.

So relax, Gator fans…and enjoy.

Enjoy Tim Tebow's last games.

Enjoy a perfect record.

Enjoy a Georgia beatdown.

Enjoy another SEC East crown.

And to those who say that Florida is not the No. 1 team in the land…Prove it.

Prove it, Kentucky.

Prove it, Mississippi State.

Prove it, Arkansas.

Prove it, LSU.

Prove it, Tennessee.

You all had your chances, took your best shots, and now step aside for the next wannabe. Bring it on. We’ll see you in Atlanta.


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