2009 Gator Opponents: For Better Or Worse

When the Gators are annually ranked so high Gator fans typically worry ahead about the team's opponents. Here is a team by team look at the Gators' opponents and how they faired this week. We will give our assessment of their play related to how we think they should have done. With 11 games left on the schedule, here is our take on how those 11 opponents fared in their games last weekend.

Troy (0-1)
Last Game: Lost 31-14 at Bowling Green
Report: Definitely not the kind of game Troy was expecting. This is a team with a lot of physical talent comparable to many BCS conference teams. Troy takes in a lot of transfers including heralded receiver Josh Jarboe from Oklahoma. Jarboe caught two passes for 20 yards including a 19-yarder in the opener. Bowling Green is a team Troy should have beaten.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: Worse (than a week ago)

Tennessee (1-0)
Last Game: Won 63-7 in Knoxville over Western Kentucky
Report: Much like Florida's opener, it was hard to get much from the Volunteers in this game. Western Kentucky is in a rebuilding year with over 40 freshmen and a Football Championship Subdivision team. The Vols took more than a quarter to score, but when they finally did the floodgates opened. Most of the starters played into the fourth quarter and were too much for WKU to handle. Overall it was a feel good performance for the Vols and something they probably needed.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: Slightly Better (than a week ago)

Kentucky (1-0)
Last Game: Won 42-0 at Miami of Ohio
Report: It wasn't too long ago where a game like this on the road might some trouble for Kentucky. They completely dominated Miami running up 488 yards to 188. Randall Cobb is a new weapon at receiver after moving from quarterback and had 96 yards receiving and an 11 yard run on the day. All American cornerback Trevard Lindley is already starting off strong with an interception in his first game. This wasn't supposed to be a strong year for Kentucky so......
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: A Lot better (than a week ago)

LSU (1-0)
Last Game: Won 31-23 at Washington
Report: LSU gave up 478 yards total to Washington and only came up with 321 of their own. The Tigers had a strong running game finishing with 149 yards, but the passing game while scoring three touchdowns wasn't very diverse as two receivers totaled eight of the 11catches on the night. It is the LSU pass defense that seems vulnerable yet again this year, but I really wasn't impressed with LSU coming into this game.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: About the Same (than a week ago)

Arkansas (1-0)
Last Game: Won 48-10 in Fayetteville over Missouri State
Report: Bobby Petrino got his passing attack going with a quarterback that can really wing it. Ryan Mallett went 17-of-22 for 309 yards and a touchdown as the razorbacks totaled 447 passing and 591 total yards. The defense held Missouri State to 205 total yards on the day. This was a team that should have been manhandled and it was with the flare the razorbacks were looking for in the passing game.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: Slightly Better (than a week ago)

Mississippi State (1-0)
Last Game: Won in Starkville 45-7
Report: Like the other SEC teams that played really out manned opponents, this was the kind of game that Miss. State needed to get Dan Mullen off to a good start as the new head coach. The Bulldogs rung up 410 yards while giving up only 192 yards on the day. Look for Mullen to utilize a two quarterback system going forward. His starter Tyson Lee, is more of a pure passer while backup Chris Relf can run well and accounted for three passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown on the day. Relf was also the leading rusher with 82 yards.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: Better (than a week ago)

Georgia (0-1)
Last Game: Lost 24-10 at Oklahoma State
Report: In a defense dominated game, the Bulldogs didn't look good in any aspect of offense. Georgia drove 80 yards on their opening possession and managed 177 yards the rest of the day. They were hurt by three costly turnovers, two fumbles and an interception, while OSU had none. The vaunted Georgia offensive line pushed ahead for only 95 yards rushing and allowed two sacks on the day. The Georgia offense is going to need some retooling.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: Worse (than a week ago)

Vanderbilt (1-0)
Last Game: Won 45-0 in Nashville over Western Carolina
Report: The Vandy defense allowed only 115 yards and four first downs as the offense eclipsed WCU by over 500 yards racking up 620 yards on the night. The Commodores rushed for five touchdowns and had two 100-yard rushers on the day in Zac Stacy and Warren Norman. It doesn't matter who the opponent is, those are all very impressive numbers.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: Better (than a week ago)

South Carolina (1-0)
Last Game: Won 7-3 at Raleigh, North Carolina
Report: They won on the road and their defense looked great doing so. The Gamecock defense gave up only 133 yards total to NC State. However, the offense tallied only 256 themselves and Steve Spurrier has to be pulling his hair out over his offensive woes in the last few years. The gamecocks lost a lot of good players from last year, so I actually think this was probably a push game they were lucky to win and not one I was convinced they would win.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: About The Same (than a week ago)

FIU (0-0)
Last Game: Haven't played yet
Report: N/A
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: N/A

Florida State (0-1)
Last Game: Lost (38-34) in Tallahassee
Report: This is the worst FSU pass defense I can ever remember. Miami looked like they were running around carrying live grenades and FSU knew it as no one was within 20 yards of a receiver at times in the game. Somehow the FSU defense held Miami to just 90 yards rushing, but they also gave up 386 yards passing. FSU rushed for just 110 yards in the game and 68 of that came in the last two series, meaning just 42 rushing yards in three and a half quarters. Christian Ponder is a pretty good quarterback and threw for almost 300 yards, but there isn't one FSU receiver that scares anyone. Freshman mighty mite Greg Reid may be their best player. I thought this would be a low scoring game, but both defenses were pretty bad. I thought FSU would win at home.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: Worse (than a week ago)

Round Up: It appears that what were perceived as the best teams on the schedule, LSU, Georgia, and FSU, are about as expected or worse after week one. At the same time, teams like Vandy, Kentucky, and Mississippi State are possibly much better than expected. South Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee are three teams that have the talent to upset Florida, but we can't draw enough from them in week one to really gauge how good they are.

Note: This will be done earlier in the week moving forward, it is a new idea that came up during the week.

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