And then there was one.
"The hard work this team has put
together. ... We do everything together,"
And make no mistake about it – LSU
is still a good team. Just not as good as
"Today was a great day for
It remains to be seen if the Gators will ever get that chance. Now, instead of listening to Auburn fans whine and complain about the supposed national conspiracy to keep the Tigers out of the BCS national championship game, we'll have to listen to Gator fans listening for the black helicopters as they grind and gnash their teeth about Ohio State, USC, Michigan, West Virginia, et al., keeping Florida out of the national championship game.
Instead of worrying about the
things they can't control, the Gators would be wise to follow the path of
well-worn clichés: worry about the things they can control and take it one game
at a time. The only thing
The Gators (6-0, 4-0 SEC) are good enough to win the rest of their games and force a national debate on the BCS issues, but it's not like they're unbeatable.
"We're on cloud nine," Gators defensive tackle Ray McDonald said, "but we know we can't be on cloud nine too long because we've got Auburn next week."
Here that hissing sound? That's the
air coming out of Saturday's Auburn-Florida game. If
"I thought we could compete for
It was the most complete
performance by an
"They came in here and pretty much
dominated on the ground,"
It's not like
"We got beat to the punch. We got outcoached. We got beat in our brand of football," Tuberville said. "We knew starting the week we had to run the ball and be able to stop it, and we didn't do either one."
So where do the Tigers go from
here? They can start calculating their path to the SEC championship game or they
can learn a valuable lesson from the way they play against
"We're disappointed, but this is not over," Tuberville said. "We know we have a lot of football left. This was the first half of the season. But it's difficult to swallow knowing we didn't go out and give a better showing. We're not that bad of a football team."
"They executed and we weren't making plays," defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said. "When you lose a game like this, all you can say is you lost."
But a loss is never just a loss.
"You get so used to winning, to lose in this fashion is troublesome," defensive end Quentin Moses said. "I don't know which hurts [worse], to lose by one or to lose like this."
They've got two weeks and games
against Vanderbilt and
The SEC might need both
Surely that would open up a spot for a one-loss SEC team right?
"I'd argue that, but I doubt it's going to happen," said Richt, who votes in the coaches' poll that plays a part in the BCS standings. "I don't know if I'd vote that way. I'd probably have to vote for the undefeated team. But if I thought the undefeated team played next to nobody and another team had one loss by one point .... "
The problem is depth and parity.
It's both a blessing and a curse for the SEC right now. Except for
"I think back in the mid-'90s there wasn't quite as many really good teams," said South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, whose Florida teams won six SEC championships from 1991-2000. "There are about six teams now that could win the league."
It won't capture the attention of
the national media or fans across the nature, but from an SEC perspective it
will be interesting at this point to see how the losses affect LSU,
But what about LSU,
"In the big picture, this is not as bad as it feels," tailback Thomas Brown said. "Everyone is down and devastated right now, but there's still a lot of football to play. In the SEC, you never know what might happen. We still have a chance to end up in the SEC championship game."
Tuberville will get ripped by critics this week for even talking about the BCS and the playoff debate last week, but he didn't bring up the topic and he still made some excellent points.
Coaches don't like the rip the
college presidents in public, but since
Here's what Tuberville had to say on the topic:
"You have presidents that for some reason look at the situation as more for the money than having a national championship on the field. They keep coming up with these lame excuses about academics and missing classes. Football players miss less class than anybody.
"There'd be so many things you'd have to change in the way of conferences and TV contracts and traditional games — it'd be so hard to do that. The first thing you'd have to do is get the presidents to agree, but most of them could care less about a playoff system.
"It's hypocritical, and until we can get the presidents to understand to do something for these student-athletes and the sport, we're not going to make any headway.
"We added a BCS game - for what in the world? I understand we're avoiding lawsuits and let everybody else make a little money. But let's take care of the players and our sport, and then you work backward. Let's take care of having a true national champion, and then add more to the BCS. It's all about money in our sport."
Tuberville isn't the only one who isn't afraid to rip into the presidents about the lack of a playoff.
"When I was coaching at
Richard Scott is a Birmingham, Ala. based sports writer, author and freelance columnist in Tiger Rag. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.