The State of the Florida Gators: Blame and Hope

Michael OleszekAnalyst ISeptember 30, 2008

Well, Florida fans, kiss the undefeated season—and the Heisman Trophy—goodbye.

The dreams of spending a New Year's vacation in Miami for a week or two became a faint mirage of what Florida fans assumed would happen given the three relatively easy wins to start the season.   

Given the Trojans' loss Thursday night in Corvallis, and coupled with a then-possible Alabama upset over Georgia, Florida had a legitimate claim to the No. 1 spot in both polls.

That thought lasted until kickoff. Ole Miss was not fazed at all by the crowd, the noise, the No. 4 Gators—nothing. Ole Miss came into Gainesville and handed the Gators the type of loss not seen since Ron Zook was the coach. Florida came in with a post-Rocky Top hangover and left in another teary-eyed press conference type of way.

For Gator fans, it's not really that big of a surprise. Every season the Gators seem to lose a very winnable game in a fashion that can only make people physically ill.

Ole Miss is not a bad football team. They have actually gotten better since they took the Gators to the limit in last year's meeting in Oxford.

A better QB and a better coaching staff will do that to a football team. Tyrone Nix is the most underrated assistant coach in the country and should be on short lists everywhere for head coaching vacancies.

Most Florida fans this week are pointing their fingers at Dan Mullen for his shortcomings in play calling, but there is plenty of blame to go around.

Blame the people who can't hang on to the football.

Blame the defensive back who blew the coverage on the Rebels' last touchdown.

Blame the guy who couldn't block Kentrell Lockett, who in turn blocked the extra point attempt.

Blame the guy who didn't block Perria Jerry on 4th-and-1.

Blame the players who converted 1-of-11 third down opportunities.

I could stay here all day, but I'm not going to.

Ole Miss hung in all day, made the plays that needed to be made, and put Florida one step closer to spending bowl season in the wrong Florida city again.  

Busch Gardens and Disney World aren't as cool as South Beach.

The season is not lost.

There is still a ton to play for.

There is still a crystal football available.

There are adjustments to be made.

There is Arkansas on Saturday.  

Go Gators!