Friday, January 09, 2009

Observations from the game

First thing is that my feelings during and after the game were completely different than two years ago. Against OSU my anxiety quickly turned to elation. On the other hand last night I had a sense of foreboding like the other shoe was going to drop at any moment. This was driven by two things which are relatively rare for this edition of the Gators:

1. Tebow interceptions. He threw two bad picks in uncharacteristic fashion.

2. Coaching mistake. I have rarely (if ever) seen Urban Meyer make a flat-out coaching mistake but last night he did. In a close game with Oklahoma punting from deep in their in own territory, Meyer called for a punt block. If you have one of the most dangerous return men in the country and you stand to get the ball (at worst) your own 40 yard line, why take a chance knowing you could bail OU out with a free first down on a roughing call. OSU ended up punting on that possession anyway but the field position changed.
In 2006 winning the SEC and BCS was pure elation because of the lean Zook years in which I almost lost hope. This year I expected the Gators to win and be competitive at the top of the national picture.

I felt that OU was being "too cute" with their "check with the sideline" approach. They hurried up to the line but often ended up using about as much time as they might have had they huddled. The Gators too used this "cuteness" and it bit us on the ass somewhat with false starts.

I was listening to Steve Czaban on the radio and he said that OU's much maligned defense played good enough to win. Well, if OU's much maligned defense gave up an average of 24.5 points per game this season and they gave up 24 to Florida shouldn't they be maligned for that?

The point is that championship teams in college don't rank 57th in scoring defense. In the BCS era the winner of #1 vs. #2 match has historically on average ranked sixth in the nation in scoring defense. 57th is a far cry from 6th. Granted OU's offense played far below their averages and that's mainly why they lost but their defense played basically to the level they played at all season and that simply isn't good enough.

OU fans seemed gracious and classy. Perhaps being humbled so many times in big games in recent memory gave them trepidation about being cocky. I know I wasn't cocky. I thought we had an advantage based on our defense and that we should win the game. But that's an intellectual exercise and I've been a fan long enough and had my heart broken enough to know that the better team doesn't always win.

I still feel bad for Utah and I feel bad for the Gators. One of the things that makes me angry about the ludicrous BCS system is that the controversy it inspires actually takes away from the winner's glory. Florida won and yet there's a lot of AP writers who voted for Utah. And that's their right. But the point is that some will point to that and the records of the two teams and take away some legitimacy from the Gators. Meanwhile, Pete Carroll is recognized as having "two national titles" when in reality it's one or perhaps if you are charitable 1.5. It's a joke and it needs to be fixed.

If "every game is a playoff game" in college football as the apologists for the system claim, show me where Utah lost a playoff game. I wish there was a way we could play Utah or USC or Texas and have an undisputed champion.


Scully said...

I don't feel bad for Utah at all. Utah had nice little season, but the fact of the matter is that there is no way that Utah would have won the last 3 games on our schedule, which included away FSU, #1 Alabama with its star player and us without one of ours, and then OU.

And as much as USC and their fans gripe about the SEC's out of conference scheduling and 1-AA schools, the fact of the matter is that the PAC-10 is full of 1-AA schools, not the least of which are Washington and Washington St.

Andrew said...

I have a solution to propose... let's let Utah play USC. USC can hammer them, whine all they want about the system screwing them, and then there isn't an undefeated team to worry about! The system is a joke, but it's all we have to work with for now. Let Pete cry all he wants. Until he can beat the patsies on the schedule, he just sounds like a crybaby!

Is it me or is roughing the punter the worst penalty in college football? The penalty is supposedly called to protect the punter but 99.9% of the time the punter hits the defender (or comes down on top of him). Everyone knows a punter landing awkwardly is the most dangerous play in football... Seriously, what gives?!

Henry Louis Gomez said...

the fact of the matter is that there is no way that Utah would have won the last 3 games on our schedule

That's speculation on your part. The truth is that nobody knows. Not even the most informed pundit in the world. And that's the problem with Division 1A college football. It's based on what we think we know rather than W-L results.

Imagine if instead of playing superbowl they just polled media types and coaches after the regular season in the NFL. You could say:

There's no way the Giants could beat the 16 teams New England beat

And the Pats would have been champions. But the truth is that you don't know and I don't know. And the fact there are doubts take away from the Gators' accomplishment.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

Andrew, what I don't get about the roughing the punter rule is that as long as you get a piece of the ball you can cream the punter. Isn't that just as dangerous?

Andrew said...

I'm not for creaming the punter. I just get sick of getting called for roughing the punter when he was in absolutely no danger at all. Protect the punter, but don't make football a non-contact sport. If I wanted to watch a wimpy sport I'd watch the WNBA... oh wait, those girls would beat up on most of the guys on the football field!

Henry Louis Gomez said...

I'm not saying the you want the punter to get creamed just pointing out the irony that if you get a even a piece of the ball you can't be flagged for any roughing but the same exact hit without touching the ball is a foul. When you launch yourself at the location where you think the ball is going to be it's because you think you can to the ball but if you don't it's a flag. Makes no sense.

Andrew said...

Why are we so concerned about protecting the punter? When's the last time you saw a punter carted off the field? Is it because coaches don't want to have to recruit a backup?

All I'm trying to say is if the player hits the punter, throw the flag. If the punter comes down into the player, let it go! I've seen too many acting jobs from punters who come down untouched and fall to the ground to draw the flag. It can change a game. Why can't we maintain the intent of the law (protecting the punter) over the letter of the law?

RHOmea said...

A few pts:
1. Playoffs?
I wish there was a way we could play Utah or USC or Texas and have an undisputed champion.
The "ors" in that statement show the flaw in the logic of the playoff argument. Which should it be? Point: No one will ever be satisfied - even a series featuring the Top 8 teams will leave off someone and everyone can/will argue over that. Then, how unfair it was that team A having to play Team E instead of Team F. Then home field advantage - do they ship USC to Miami to play the Gators? See my point?
That being said, given the choice, I'd vote for it anyway just to reduce the noise level surrounding the Champion's validity.

2. Utah?
I'm sorry but there is a way to predict how they would do with some accuracy: they play a 56th rated SoS AND the Pure Points Predictor by Sagarin puts them at 10th.
Yes they beat some good teams but overall the MWC is still a little light in their cleats for getting in vs UF/USC

Now it doesn't account for intangibles like Bama losing Smith who blasted holes in enemy lines for Coffee/Ingram or the fact that they took a huge psych loss at the SEC Championship either, but under normal circumstances, Sagarin is pretty accurate.

Andrew said...

Bama was the only legit team Utah beat, and it was under questionable circumstances. Utah beat a listless Michigan team by 2, played a I-AA team and their two big conference wins were over a TCU team that couldn't stay on the field with OU and whose only win against a ranked opponent was against Boise State, and against a BYU team that lost to every good team they played. BYU and TCU may have won 10-11 games, but they only beat who they were expected to beat.

Henry Louis Gomez said...


We can argue about this until we're blue in the face. Nobody disputes who the NFL champion is at the end of the year or who the NCAA basketball champion is or even who the NCAA FCS champion is. With 119 teams the chances of actually selecting the two best are extremely low. With an 8 team playoff it wouldn't be perfect but you'd have a much better chance capturing the best two teams in that field.

That's the official point of view of this blog.


I remember hearing very similar arguments against the Gators when some were pushing for Michigan to play OSU in a rematch two years ago. Sorry. This system is screwed and you should be angry about it if you're a Gator fan because more and more people are recognizing what a farce this is. The BCS championship and a warm bucket of piss are worth about the same.

Andrew said...

I'm not saying I like the system. It's crap. I am saying that putting Utah in a title game is like putting an undefeated (or 1 loss) little 11 team in over a 1 loss SEC team. We got in the game in '06 b/c we played a tough schedule and won some big games. We beat teams that had big wins on their resume. We also didn't nearly choke against any 4-8 teams.