Who would have thought? If you had said a year ago that the result of both Florida and Ohio State’s seasons would be pure disappointment and mediocrity, many would not believe you. Yet here we are with both teams gearing up for the oh-so-prolific Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl.
Despite the media orgy systematically spewing headlines covering Urban Meyer’s recent retirement of his family career for coaching at OSU, there will actually be a football game happening as well, believe it or not. The following slides show what exactly the Florida Gators need to do to claim superiority over Buckeye nation and create a repeat of the 2006 National Championship shaming.
We’ve seen a few different variations of Florida Football this season, with many versions being offensively incoherent or completely lost on the defensive side of the ball. One of the first priorities for the Gators this bowl game is simply to show up.
No, I’m not talking about stepping into the Jaguars' locker room at EverBank Field and calling it a day. Every Gator on the roster needs to arrive focused and ready to play. The disappointments of this season are over and done with, and all we can do now is show our talent on a national stage. I don’t care if your starting running back is Chris Rainey or freshman longsnapper is Kyle Crofoot. If the Gators expect to win, every player needs to practice and perform to his maximum capability.
This might be a shock, but we have a pretty hearty statistical advantage over Ohio State. Statistics alone don’t win games, of course, but when your oft-injured starting quarterback nearly doubles his opponent in seasonal passing yards, it’s something worth noticing. Ohio State also lacks a running back with over 700 yards, while Rainey sits merely 10 yards away from 800.
So, with a noticeable statistical advantage, there shouldn’t be a problem, right? Wrong. Big plays have been a menacing enemy to the Gator Nation this season, and this final game will be no different. OSU will miraculously connect on a long pass or achieve a long kick return at least once. The key to victory is to look past these shortcomings and focus on playing our own, Florida Gator game. Big plays will happen, we can’t prevent them all. But as long as the Gators react appropriately and put as much pressure on the Buckeye scorers as possible, they will be able to prevail. I'm talking to you, Jelani.
As if we Florida fans needed any more icing on the crappy season cake after Urban Meyer’s proverbial middle finger to UF nation. And if there’s one thing Charlie Weis likes, it’s icing. Also, cheeseburgers.
Florida is going to have to head into this game without the alleged quarterback-creating machine known as Charlie Weis behind the playbook. Running Back’s coach Brian White will have some big (and fat) shoes to fill when he steps into the playcaller role for the team.
We don’t need you to do anything fancy, Brian White; we just need a well-called ballgame. I’m not looking for flea-flickers, or going on it on fourth and long, we just want a straight-up football game. We have some of the fastest athletes in the country on our team. Don’t you think it’s fair to give them a little running room?
Poor Johnny Brantley. He’s not a bad quarterback per se, he’s just the unfortunate victim of a ravenous bloodthirsty win-or-go-home fan base. He probably would have had an amazing career in the Big Ten, where defenses aren’t nearly as lethal and the overall competition seems just a little more Pop Warner-esque.
But that is not the case, and John Brantley has a chance to finish the career on a high note as all of his fans and haters collectively observe. No pressure, right?
If we want to turn this game into a repeat of the 2006 championship matchup, we’re going to have to see the best of John Brantley. He’s been pressured nonstop by fans for the last few years, and every seemingly bright moment was overcast by at least three piss-poor performances.
But, Johnny, let me tell you this is your chance. If you can arrive with nothing but victory on your mind, and lead the Florida Gators to the esteemed area of “over .500” you will not be remembered so foully. If you want your uncle and father (also both Gator football standouts) to be proud of your performance as a Gator, you must succeed against Ohio State. That’s all there is to it.
With the constant media barrage, this one might seem like an impossible task. Yes, Urban Meyer was less than honest with his fanbase when he chose to “retire.” Yes, it is extremely hypocritical for him to dive back into coaching so soon. And yes, we all feel a little bit betrayed by it all. But what can we do about it now?
The correct answer? Absolutely nothing.
Urban has soiled his sterling reputation by allying himself with the forgotten stepchild conference of the NCAA, the Big 10. It’s over and done with, and all we can do now is look at Will Muschamp with pride.
No matter how many Facebook statuses or tweets the Gator Nation may construct, there is no way anything is changing about the Urban situation, so there is only one thing we can do. Beat the living crap out of Ohio State, while he watches.
Each and every player needs to delete the word “Urban Meyer” from his vocabulary. I don’t care if he was the one who recruited you, as of right now he is insignificant. He isn’t even actually coaching yet, so there is no point to dwell on it.
We have a whole offseason to be mad at Urban (a privilege I’m sure many of us will capitalize on), but right now we have a football game to win. The sooner the fans and players dismiss this betrayal, the better off we’ll all be.