VETTEL: Nice way for the Zooker to go out

Saturday night the Gator football players finally quit TELLING us how much they love their head coach and finally SHOWED us. The Gators had their best all around performance since last year's LSU game in dominating South Carolina 48-14 in the Swamp in Ron Zook's final home game as the Gators' Head Coach.

Most of the credit goes to the defense, which stifled a dangerous South Carolina offense most of the day. Jeremy Mincey and Marcus Thomas were impressive in the trenches. Brandon Siler continues to play like a man possessed and Kyle Jackson shows why many of us have been screaming to see him on the field for weeks.

Even the Florida special teams got in the act, starting with downing a punt inside the South Carolina one-yard line. (Yes, the officials completely blew the call and it should have been a touchback, but it was a great effort nonetheless.) Loved seeing Jemalle Cornelius block a punt and Matt Leach make all of his kicks.

I thought Florida would win, but it would be close and high scoring. Well, it was high scoring… for UF! The Gamecocks helped out with a bizarre game plan which included almost no straight ahead power running, a Lou Holtz staple and a clear UF defensive weakness.

But perhaps the best of all… the Gators ran up the score! For the first time in forever, Florida got some visiting media grousing about a late Chris Leak touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter which made the score 48-to-7.

What is it about the Gators and Lou Holtz? Florida had 48 unanswered points Saturday night… the third time in five years Florida has scored 38 or more in a row against the Gamecocks.

Zook Likely To Coach Bowl Game

In a curious decision that caps a fall full of curious decisions, the Gator brass has decided to ask Coach Zook to lead the team into its bowl game. While I admire the job Ron and his staff have done through this difficult stretch, having him coach the bowl game means another month of UF having a lame duck coach. Obviously the new coach would not be in a position to coach the bowl game, but the current staff could have handled it.

Still, it is a great gesture to the players who have been through so much to not ask them to make another adjustment for the final game of the season. The risk of course is that Florida beats FSU and wins a bowl game, and the country ridicules the school for firing a team loaded with young talent. A team that went 8-and-4, beat an arch-rival on the road for the first time in almost 20 years and lost its four games by an average of less than five points with the of the losses to nationally ranked opponents.

It might make things a little tense around the football offices as UF readies for transition, but hell, I won't be up there anyway.

Signs Point More And More Towards Urban Renewal

Three recent events have me more and more convinced that Utah's Urban Meyer will be taking the helm of the Gator football program.

  1. Meyer refused to specifically stop the speculation about Florida
  2. He has effectively removed his name from consideration at Washington
  3. His Athletic Director, Chris Hill has reportedly asked heir apparent Mike Sanford (the Utes offensive coordinator) to hold off on accepting any other positions.

Meyer is an intriguing choice who has wowed everyone who has seen him in action. I also love the fact that people question is his offense, successful where he is could possibly work in the physically imposing SEC. It's a debate that raged loud and strong in the spring and summer of 1990 when another young, energetic coach with a wide open offense dared to ply his wares in the SEC.

Tyrone Willingham Unmasked

I was one of he very few who did not jump on the politically correct bandwagon praising Notre Dame's hiring of Tyrone Willingham. Not that I don't applaud giving more black coaches opportunities, I have made it almost a crusade in some ways. But Willingham was already doing a mediocre job at Stanford where he was 44-36-and-1 in seven years.

I started wavering after the Irish won a bunch of close games in going 10-and-3 in Willingham's first year in South Bend, but evidence continues to mount against Willingham being a championship-caliber coach. Saturday's loss to a below average Pittsburgh team about to fire its coach leaves Willingham 11-and-11 the past two seasons. That record will get worse in two weeks when Notre Dame gets pulverized by Southern Cal.

Speaking of Pittsburgh, once they fire Walt Harris, (for reasons more off the field than on it) their first call should be, and probably will be to Ron Zook.

Oh Boy, Boston College On Verge of BCS Bid

While neither the Fiesta nor the Sugar Bowl was excited about Big East champ West Virginia coming to their game, at least the Mountaineers would bring fans. Boston College's rout of WVU Saturday puts the Eagles in the driver's seat for the conference's automatic bid into the BCS. One of those two games will be stuck with a program whose entire tradition is "Hail Flutie". It doesn't thrill Big East officials either since Boston College is leaving for the ACC next year.

If All Three Win Out, Who Gets Screwed?

That's the question college football hopes does not have to be answered but will be if Southern Cal, Oklahoma and Auburn all win out. A trio of unbeaten teams from power conferences… and someone must be left out of the title game. Auburn's advantage is a very strong schedule that continues to improve and growing support from national broadcasters. Oklahoma's plus is they have the most impressive win, over Texas. Southern Cal has the status of the # 1 ranking and defending champion and likely Heisman winner. To be provincial, I'd take Oklahoma and Auburn… to be fair; there's no honest way to separate the three.

Keep those emails coming!

Don't forget to email me your questions and comments, but please do not include attachments! My email address is: vettel@gatorcountry.com .

I look forward to you joining me on the radio, Sunday nights from 6:00-to-8:00 on Gainesville's WSKY-FM 97.3 (877/975-9825 toll free)

Have a great week.


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