The Florida Gators of 2011 are what I thought they were, and maybe worse.
I picked Florida to finish 4th in the SEC LEast and they may only avoid that fate because of the complete and utter inepititude of the of 3 teams below them. (Sorry Tennessee I know it’s tough without your starting quarterback and best playmaker, but it is what it is).
The Gators offense is completely devoid of playmakers. The running game has been a joke for years now, and there is no Percy Harvin or Tim Tebow to bail it out. The receivers are barely of I-A quality. The offensive line has been manhandled more than it should.
The defense is okay, but far from dominant. The team, as a whole, has no identity.
The question is now when will it develop an identity? Urban Meyer is partly to blame for the lack of groceries in the pantry. Abnormal departures creating holes in the roster is also a factor. Attrition beyond the norm has happened to other great teams. Miami, USC, and Texas all went through too many players leaving early for the NFL and have suffered. The ability to bounce back immediately or at least quicker is based on continued success recruiting. One offseason miss can throw everything out of whack.
The other obvious reason some major powers decline is they miss where it counts most, the quarterback. Miami still hasn’t replaced Ken Dorsey. USC has done a tremendous job going from Palmer to Leinart to Sanchez to Barkley, but Sanchez leaving a year early, and the coaching change hurt the rhythm.
That is the other thing, coaching changes can be extremely difficult. Especially those that require a systems makeover.
Florida is battling all of these factors. And, in my opinion, doing it with a coach who wasn’t qualified or ready for this big-time of a job. Will Muschamp has never been a head coach before, and learning the ropes at Florida isn’t exactly entry-level. Will Muschamp, like Ron Zook, feels to me like the guy that has to follow the guy. Zook was able to recruit, just not coach. We don’t know if Muschamp can do either yet. He better learn quick or he’ll make the Zook hire look genious.
Tuck’s Top Twelve
2) Oklahoma State
5) Boise State
9) Kansas State
11) Penn State
Based on body of work Clemson and Kansas State don’t fall far, but are unlikely to be in the title contendor conversation any longer. K-State can jump back in quick if they upset Oklahoma State this weekend though. Stanford jumps Boise State based on a slightly more difficult schedule. Arkansas has been less than impressive the last two weeks against Ole Miss and Vandy, but they did win. Penn State has been less than impressive every week, but they lost to the same team that the Hogs did by a closer margin. Houston is running along like Shaun King’s Tulane team in the 90’s that didn’t beat anyone but won every game. Placing them is difficult because it’s a struggle to know exactly how good they are.
STIFF-ARMING TROPHY RACE:
1) RB Trent Richardson, Alabama- He can’t win it this weekend, but he can lose it.
2) QB Kellen Moore, Boise State- The winningest QB in college football history
3) QB Case Keenum, Houston- Career achievement recognition honor #2 on the list, most TD’s and yards.
4) QB Andrew Luck, Stanford- The most talented player in college football will probably win the trophy if his team goes unbeaten.
5) QB Brandon Weedon, Oklahoma State- Kind of a coin flip between him and WR Justin Blackmon, but the QB wins.