Today’s topics are the BCS debate and the Gators’ coaching situation.
First, barring any upsets this weekend which teams should play in the BCS Championship Game?
Should any one-loss team jump ahead of the two major unbeatens, Florida State and Ohio State?
It makes for the perfect debate because major college football has such an imperfect system for determining a national champion. The most debated issue, of course, is the schedules the contenders play.
The debate goes something like this:
A one-loss SEC champion deserves consideration because the conference is easily the strongest.
The ACC and the Big Ten lack quality teams but they’re established BCS conferences. FSU dominated; Ohio State often did not.
The Big 12 doesn’t play defense. Besides, its top team Oklahoma State lost to a lousy West Virginia team.
Don’t bring up the nonconference schedules because all of them played a bunch of patsies. None of the contenders played more than one team from another BCS conference.
Give me FSU vs. the Auburn-Missouri winner.
Second, I hope Jeremy Foley knows what he’s doing. His faith in his football coach Will Muschamp is admiral, but is it smart?
The Gators athletic director insists Muschamp is the right man to lead the football program. At Florida, that means always being a contender for the SEC championship and being in the national title discussion most years.
In his first three years Muschamp has taken a program one year removed from winning the national title and turned it into a 4-8 team. Along the way the Gators offense has consistently been among the worse in the nation while going through two coordinators and four quarterbacks.
What exactly does Foley see in Muschamp? A nice young man with incredible passion for his job and football, for sure, but aren’t there hundreds, even thousands, of such men?
Can Muschamp succeed as a head coach? Can he hire the right people, delegate authority, recruit, develop, inspire and lead?
Gators can only hope now.
I had serious doubts about Gus Bradley and, admit it, so did you. Could the constant smile and the upbeat attitude week after week in face of one embarrassing loss after another be for real? Could this NFL rookie head coach really believe in what he repeatedly called “the process”?
Admittedly, we live in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world and lately the Jaguars are winning games. Three out of the last four, in fact. And all on the road! Holy Auburn! What is going on?
The shocking turnaround has been aided by a much softer schedule. There’s no debating that. But winning in the NFL is difficult. It is a tough league built on parity.
Because we so thoroughly trashed the Jaguars while they were going 0-8, it’s only fair to give them and their coach their credit now. Sunday’s come from behind 32-28 at Cleveland was a royal flush.
The one constant positive during the Jaguars’ horrific first eight games was they seemed to play hard. Only once during that time did Bradley question his team’s effort. From the outside it was difficult to see that effort because Bradley wasn’t just talking about games. He insisted the players came to practice every day excited about going to work. Sure, he said, the losses hurt. I don’t ever recall him saying he or the players were embarrassed but you know they had to hear all of the jokes and harsh criticism.
Now the attitude down at Everbank Field is electric. With four games to go could the Jaguars finish 7-1? Of course, it’s still a longshot, but now it doesn’t appear to be out of the question. They play host to a team, Houston, this Thursday night they’ve already beaten. Then a struggling Buffalo comes to town followed by Tennessee, another team they Jaguars have already beaten. A season-ending trip to Indianapolis could be against a Colts team resting its starters for the playoffs.
Sure, I’m flipping out on the positive side, but we’ve already beaten to death the negative. This team still has, at best, a mediocre roster and wholesale changed are needed to make it into a playoff contender. But suddenly it feels like a team that just may have the right man steering the ship.
Gus Bradley, take a bow!
Now, could you and the Jaguars please win one at home?
In the spirit of Thanksgiving . . .
I’m thankful for Wayne Weaver because without him Jacksonville wouldn’t have an NFL franchise . . .
The Seminoles are thankful for Will Muschamp . . .
I’m thankful for former mayor Jake Godbold because without him our city and business leaders wouldn’t have had the stones to go after an NFL franchise . . .
The Dawgs are thankful for Will Muschamp . . .
I’m thankful for Rick Catlett, Tom Petway, David Seldin and the late Doug Peeples because they played such important roles in Jacksonville getting an NFL franchise . . .
Vanderbilt is thankful for Will Muschamp . . .
I’m thankful for Tom Coughlin for both his coaching and his humanity . . .
The Hurricanes are thankful for Will Muschamp . . .
I’m thankful I have a sense of humor . . .
I think FSU will win. I’m hoping Auburn wins.
First, the FSU-Florida game:
Of course I think Florida State will beat the Gators in The Swamp. You’d have to be football ignorant or absolutely blinded by your love of the Gators to think otherwise.
I don’t think, however, we’ll see a Seminole romp. I expect to see a game decided in the fourth quarter.
It isn’t about “throwing out the record book” or “anything can happen in a rivalry game”. It’s more of a gut feeling. (Yes, it could be gas but let’s not go there.)
I still remember 1979 when the 10-0 Noles went to Gainesville to play the 0-8-1 Gators. FSU won 27-16 with the aid of one of the worst officiating calls I’ve ever witnessed. FSU was credited with an interception near the UF end zone on a ball that clearly bounced off the ground.
I know much as changed since then. FSU now is as much of an elite program as Florida.
Still, I think it will be reasonably close well into the second half. Maybe it’s about the Gators being a desperate team or FSU being a bit overconfident.
Whatever, FSU wins 34-14.
Second, the Alabama-Auburn game:
I’ve kept something a secret until now: I’m a bit of an Alabama football fan. Or at least I was.
I started secretly pulling for the Crimson Tide back in high school because of Coach Bear Bryant. He looked like what I thought a football coach should look like; I loved the nickname Crimson Tide; and, well, ‘Bama won a lot. Growing up in North Carolina where basketball was king and football was simply what we played until basketball season started, I felt Alabama was college football at its best.
If anything my appreciation for ‘Bama grew after I attended games in Tuscaloosa. I saw a great program and classy fans.
But now I hope Auburn kicks the hell out of the Tide this Saturday. I can’t pull for any team coached by Nick Saban. Oh, I’ve known for a long time Saban is an arrogant jerk with an ego the size of Texas but I also know he is a helluva coach.
I didn’t know he was stupid, however, until last week when he bragged about not knowing about anything going on in the world because he doesn’t have time for anything but football – except to watch the Weather Channel “for 10 minutes each morning”.
I despise stupid accompanied by arrogance. Ironically he was berating a reporter when he revealed to the world just how ignorant he is.
It’s an expression we’ve heard a lot. But exactly what does “rock bottom” look like?
If you’re a fan of the Florida football team, bottom rock looks like the Gators did Saturday in The Swamp while losing 26-20 to Georgia Southern.
It looks like Georgia Southern running for 429 yards even though the Eagles posed little threat to pass.
It looks like the final play on the game when Gator quarterback Skylar Mornhinweg threw into triple coverage to a receiver short of the end zone.
It looks like the expressions of desperation, confusion and hopelessness on the face of Gator Coach Will Muschamp after the game.
Yeah, this is the worst it’s ever been for Florida football, worse than the 0-10-1 Gators in 1979. Back then there were few expectations for the Gators. Now the Gators are expected to be elite.
That seemed laughable looking at the Gators against Georgia Southern.
And the worse may be yet to come. The Gators play host to their arch-rival Florida State this Saturday. The unbeaten and second-ranked Seminoles likely will be at least a three touchdown favorite. It is difficult to imagine the Gators keeping the game close. Instead of throwing out the record book for this one, Florida would be better off throwing out Muschamp.
The beleaguered coach has the public support of his boss, AD Jeremy Foley, but at some point Foley needs to realize his future could be impacted by keeping Muschamp.
Here’s my joke of the week: Foley is now only 151% behind his coach.
Jaguars fans are certainly feeling “oh woe is me” these days. They probably feel like the most beleaguered fans in the NFL, and for a 2-year or longer period they’re spot on.
When it comes to this season, however, their team may be the lousiest of the lousy, but I think there are other fans suffering even more. In fact, there are a bunch of suffering fans in a bunch of NFL cities considering the number of bad teams – Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Minnesota among them. Think of the Baltimore Ravens fans who have watched their defending Super Bowl champions slop their way to a 4-6 record.
But what fans have suffered more than those of the Texans? After back-to-back playoff seasons, the Texans seemed prime to make a Super Bowl run. Instead, after have narrow victories in its first two games, Houston has lost eight straight games, the last four by a total of 12 points.
High expectations have turned into a nightmare of turnovers, injuries, squabbling teammates, bad breaks and bad play.
So, yes, Jaguar fans, the Texan fans feel your pain. Good news looms for one of you, though, because someone is going to win Sunday’s Jacksonville at Houston game, right? Would a tie make anyone happy?
On a more serious note, the first reaction for most fans is the Jaguars are simply playing out the string. Get the season over and forget it. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. The Jaguars’ final six games of this season could be among the most important in franchise history. There’s a lot at stake.
First, of course, is securing their position in the draft. I’m on record as saying they might be better off not having the No. 1 pick and I haven’t totally changed my mind on that. But one thing to remember about the No. 1 pick is it also gives you the No. 1 pick in the other six rounds. Who knows how important they could be?
Equally important is making decisions on veteran personnel. The most obvious is what to do about perhaps their two best players, Maurice Jones-Drew and Paul Posluszny. But decisions also must be made on Marcades Lewis, Uche Nwaneri, Brad Meester, Jason Babin and Andre Branch among others. Evaluating what they have left to give, speculating on the development of younger players to replace them and the salary cap all are factors in the equation.
Possible coaching staff changes are also in play.
GM David Caldwell won’t have much time for Christmas shopping.