Season Saver Game for Gators, Dawgs

There's no way anyone in the Florida or Georgia camps entered this season thinking that these rivals would be a combined 8-7 when they meet up in Jacksonville, but that's the way it is. Georgia has rallied form a 1-4 start to win three straight and make something of the 2010 season while the Gators pulled the exact opposite by winning the first four and dropping the last three.

The bottom line is each team has a chance to salvage something meaningful from its disappointing season. But to do that, they have to win Saturday. The winner of this game remains in good position to earn a spot in the SEC title game while the loser has to start seriously worrying about whether or not they'll even be bowl eligible.

Should We Have Prepared You Guys for This?

I keep asking myself, should I have seen this coming? I told people before the season that the Gators would not win the BCS title, but would probably win the SEC East and finish up 10-2 or 9-3. While that sort of mark is still possible, it certainly doesn't seem realistic. No, you'd be safer betting on 7-5 than 9-3 at this point in time. But I come back to the question of not seeing this coming and I see a few key areas where I (and many others) made overly optimistic assumptions.

John Brantley ---- We saw his talent as a passer and we know his pedigree is about as good as you could hope for. Still, he is not the kind of runner that this offense needs and he had not played a truly important possession is more than three years. We should have been more skeptical.

Receiving corps ---- It just had to be time for Deonte Thompson, didn't it? Andre Debose was going to be a star and Carl Moore was back. Well, we should have focused more on how few catches were returning, that Debose was coming off a year of idleness and the tight end were all freshmen.

Coaching turnover ---- Two new coaches on each side of the ball were immediately assumed to be great fits and positive additions, and they may well be, but there were not enough questions about the staff fitting in and coping under fire together for the first time. The defense has not shown signs of struggling with the transition but the offense sure has, which bring us to another issue.

Addazio as coordinator ---- The Gator offense racked up tremendous yardage last year, but was awful in the red zone. The failures in close kept the Gators from putting games away last year and also resulted in a drop off of eight points a game. The offense was great against Cincinnati and it was assumed that all problems had been solved…. Not exactly. This year the Gators are gaining 129 fewer yards a game and scoring is down another eight a game from 2009 (16 points less this year than '08). The Gators have five coaches on offense and the only one who has five guys on the field at all times is also the coordinator and play caller. The issues of work load and distribution of resources are back on the table. They should have never left.

Meyer's fire ---- After Urban Meyer's abbreviated retirement it was never made all that clear exactly how he would be backing off and what aspects of actually coaching the team would be delegated. We still don't have much of an idea about that to be honest with you, but his personal pet project, special teams has been a minor disaster. Can the Gators win big with Meyer handling his job the way he does now? And what are the true differences in terms of how it relates to the on-field product? I have no idea what the answers are, but they're legitimate questions.

No matter how this season ends there are a lot of questions about the state of the Gator program and its short term direction. Those questions will continue to be asked and examined and healthy doses of skepticism and cynicism will be prepared for all mediots who tend to paint a happy face on everything.

Make mine a double.


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