Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day September 1

A few thoughts to jump start your Labor Day morning...


What to do about Idaho? That’s the question of the day for the Florida Gators and one for which there are no simple answers. It’s complicated, to say the least.

What seems to be the simplest solution would be to reschedule the game for October 25. The Gators are open that week and so are the Vandals, but that just happens to be the week before the Georgia game. Georgia also has an open date that week so if the Gators have to play, that could be a huge advantage for Georgia in Jacksonville on November 1. Having seen South Carolina play Texas A&M, you have to figure that (a) the Gators have a real shot to win the SEC East and (b) the game that seems likely to decide the East champion is Florida-Georgia.

Other options would be to cancel the game altogether or see if there is a Division I-AA team that is (a) open and (b) desperately seeking a paycheck. Canceling doesn’t seem like a very good option either for Florida or for Idaho. Although it’s a cupcake game that the Gators are unlikely to lose even under bad circumstances, it’s a game against a Division I team and that could factor into both the playoffs and the bowls. Replacing Idaho with a D1AA team would mean the Gators play two D1AA teams and that wouldn’t bode well with the playoff committee. Eliminating the game altogether could mean the Gators get passed over for a top tier bowl by a team that had one more win against a Division I team.

And then there are considerations for Idaho starting with finances. This is a paycheck game for an athletic department that funds 13 sports on a $16 million budget. Idaho needs this paycheck. It wouldn’t make any sense at all to give the Vandals the full $975,000 they are guaranteed if the game isn’t played but how much would they get? And how would they balance their budget if they only got half, for example? Of course, they’ve already spent something like $100-125,000 for a visit to Gainesville without a game. For them to come back, they would incur the same costs. Would Florida up the ante to bring them back to help cover the costs?

If the game is rescheduled for October 25, how do you handle ticket sales? Do you charge fans for another ticket and if you do, is it a discounted ticket since fans traveled from all over the state to come to Gainesville for the season opener that was never played? What happens if the Gators are the surprise team in the nation and they have run the table going into October 25? Then that would suddenly be a hot ticket but there is no way to determine that now.

Whatever decision Jeremy Foley makes this week, he will earn his paycheck. There is no easy decision and whatever choice he makes, someone is going to be unhappy.


1. Georgia (1-0, 0-0 SEC): The Bulldogs have the best player in college football in Todd Gurley and the most disruptive defensive player in the SEC in Leonard Floyd.

2. Auburn (1-0, 1-0 SEC): Auburn didn’t disguise anything in the second half. Just lined up and ran and ran and ran. Arkansas knew what was coming and couldn’t stop it.

3. Texas A&M (1-0, 1-0 SEC): What Kenny Hill did against South Carolina makes you wonder if it’s the system that made Johnny Manziel look so good or are Hill and Manziel just that good? Either way, the Aggies have a seriously good offense.

4. Alabama (1-0, 0-0 SEC): The running game looked formidable. Everything else looked like it needs a lot of work, especially the defense against an up tempo attack. West Virginia was the third straight game the Tide has struggled against the up tempo and the third straight game they’ve given up 20 or more points.

5. Mississippi State (1-0, 0-0 SEC): The defense was one of the best in the SEC last year. It’s improved. So has quarterback Dak Prescott who looks much better throwing the ball.

6. LSU (1-0, 0-0 SEC): For 2-1/2 quarters the Tigers looked clueless. In the final 1-1/2 quarters they looked like a team nobody is going to want to play after October 1.

7. Ole Miss (1-0, 0-0 SEC): The Rebels have a quarterback, good receivers and some studs in the secondary and D-line. Everything else is a work in progress but there is no denying the talent level is SEC upper division.

8. Florida (0-0, 0-0 SEC): Since the Gators didn’t play, it’s next to impossible to rank them any higher.

9. South Carolina (0-1, 0-1 SEC): Either the Texas A&M game was a bad day at the office that is correctable or else the Gamecocks better have it in them to win some shootouts this year.

10. Missouri (1-0, 0-0 SEC): The Tigers were formidable last year on both sides of the football. They looked very average in game one against a D1AA team.

11. Tennessee (1-0, 0-0 SEC): The Vols looked much improved in their 38-7 win over Utah State, but they are still one of the youngest teams in all of college football so in all probability the season will be a roller coaster.

12. Arkansas (0-1, 0-1 SEC): If they only played 30 minutes, the Hogs are a good looking bunch. Unfortunately they play 60 minutes and they don’t have SEC depth on both sides of the ball. They’ve lost 10 straight games.

13. Kentucky (1-0, 0-0 SEC): They beat a very averaged D1AA team. They’re still the Kentucky Wildcats, charged with Vanderbilt to hold up the bottom of the league.

14. Vanderbilt (0-1, 0-0 SEC): They looked like the pre-James Franklin Commodores. Losing by 30 to Shirley Temple is embarrassing both for the program and for the SEC.


Questions that will have to be addressed this week:

#2 ALABAMA: If Blake Sims is no better this week than he was against West Virginia, how long does Nick Saban stick with him? Or, if Sims is really and truly the best he’s got, can Bama contend for SEC and national titles going with a 70-30 run/pass ratio because that’s what they’ll need to do.

ARKANSAS: In the first half, the secondary got exposed. In the second half, the run defense got exposed. Do the Razorbacks have the athletes or the scheme that can stop anyone?

#6 AUBURN: Was it the Auburn defense that really got the job done in the second half against Arkansas or was the Auburn offense just so overwhelming that Arkansas was in shell shock?

#12 GEORGIA: Does Georgia have the playmakers on the outside in case an opponent figures out a way to stuff Todd Gurley at the line of scrimmage? And, if the Bulldogs have the playmakers, can Hutson Mason actually deliver the ball on time and accurately. He looked pretty lame against Clemson.

KENTUCKY: Patrick Towles looked really sharp at quarterback, but it was against UT-Martin. How significant a dropoff will there be in his production when he sees a real defense?

#13 LSU: The Tigers got gashed up front by Wisconsin’s very big and very good offensive line, opening up some monstrous holes for Melvin Gordon to run through. Can they shore up the run defense before they open their SEC schedule with Mississippi State, Florida and Auburn?

MISSISSIPPI STATE: The Bulldogs have a history of playing very well against unranked opponents then coming up short when they start facing the big boys of the SEC. Will their early season cupcakes set them up for disappointment when they travel to LSU on September 20?

#24 MISSOURI: If South Dakota State hadn’t shot itself in the foot, the Jackrabbits might have sprung the upset. Can Missouri’s defense get an SEC team’s offense off the field and can anyone in the secondary cover receivers who have genuine speed?

#18 OLE MISS: The Rebels have struggled with Vanderbilt the last four years (1-3 record and the lone win came on a 75-yard scoring run with 1:07 left in the game last year. If the Rebels want to step their game up to the next level they can’t afford slipups against outmanned teams. Will they put the hammer on Vandy this week or will they continue to struggle against the Commodores?

# 9 SOUTH CAROLINA: Now that those freshman cornerbacks have been exposed, is there anything defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward can do to create pressure up front and take the heat off his youngsters?

TENNESSEE: Even against an undersized Utah State front seven, the Vols struggled to run the ball with any consistency. Can that young offensive line get it together before the SEC schedule kicks in with Georgia on September 27?

#21 TEXAS A&M: The Aggies looked much improved defensively, but even with the improvement they would have given up 50 against the Gamecocks if the South Carolina receivers hadn’t dropped three catchable touchdown throws.

VANDERBILT: Derek Mason played all three of his quarterbacks and all three of them looked inept. Can he find a quarterback and stick with him or is he going to have to play musical quarterbacks every single game and hope one of them has a hot enough hand to move the football down the field?


Oklahoma State is either much better than anyone thought or else Florida State came into this game way too cocky. One other thought: Are the Seminoles perhaps not quite as good as last year ... Arizona had 58 points and 787 total yards against UNLV. The Wildcats ran for 353 yards and passed for 434 ... Former Gator quarterbacks Tyler Murphy and Jacoby Brissett got wins in their debuts as their new schools. Murphy passed for 173 yards and 1 touchdown and ran for 113 and another TD in Boston College’s 30-7 win over UMass of the MAC. Brissett threw the winning touchdown pass in North Carolina State’s 24-23 win over Georgia Southern with 1:37 remaining in the game. Brissett threw for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns and ran for another 28 yards ... Kurt Roper’s old Duke offense cranked out 567 yards in the Blue Devils’ 52-13 win over Elon. The Devils ran for 275 and threw for 292 ... Surprise team of the week is UT-San Antonio, which drubbed Houston, 27-7, in the season opener. UTSA is coached by former Miami head man Larry Coker ... D1AA champ North Dakota beat Iowa State of the Big 12, the Bison’s fifth straight win over a D1 team ... Charlie Strong’s Texas defense gave up only 94 total yards as the Longhorns got a win over North Texas, coached by former UF D-line coach Dan McCarney ... Right now, the Big Ten looks like it will be the weak link conference and the odd league out when playoff decisions are made ... Baylor’s brand new stadium is a total wow.


Should the Gators reschedule Idaho for the open date before the Georgia game or take their chances by canceling the game altogether?


The Idaho Vandals beat the spread Saturday night. Of course, the rain, thunder and lightning had something to do with that but just getting through week one on the road against an SEC team without getting their brains bashed in has to be considered an accomplishment. Now the Vandals are safely back in their home state. I found this song by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons from 1968 which talks about the joys and wonders of the state of Idaho. Please feel free to read the lyrics and sing along.

Where I long to go
Thrilling checker games
Spelling bees, cherry trees

Idaho, lovely Idaho
Daisies on the grass
Grandma's stew
The cows and you

Idaho, lovely Idaho
Playing pick-up sticks
Santa Claus, apple sauce

Rain or sleet or snow
You'll be in my heart
I love you so, just?thought you'd like to know
My Ida?Sweet as apple cider
How I love you so
My Idaho

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