Florida Senior RB Mike Gillislee has a quiet career. He was used sparingly his first three years as a Gator, almost a square peg for a round hold of what Florida seemingly wanted to accomplish on offense. And with the team gone from a title contender to a SEC afterthought, so was Gillislee.
And then 2012 happened. No more Rainey and Demps. New offensive coordinator Brent Pease and his Boise State background and wanting a power rushing attack. Insert Mike Gillislee.
34 of his team high 103 carries for the season came in the victory over LSU. His strong running played an enormous role in wins over Texas A&M and Tennessee. And those games can’t even begin to compare to what he did to the rock solid LSU defense. 34-146, 2 TD. Workmanlike. No run longer than 12 yards, but constantly moving forward and keeping Florida drives alive and protecting a second half lead.
Truth could be argued that the offensive line were the real heroes. Those guys controlled the line of scrimmage and Gillislee was the beneficiary. Those guys won the battle most thought they would lose on Saturday. So a major tip of the cap to them. Having an identity and having the personnel to execute it are two different things. That is why Gillislee is so vital.
Florida doesn’t win this game a season ago. Their style changed. And it couldn’t have changed without Gillislee. Demps and Rainey wouldn’t pounded away at LSU the way he did.
Florida is 5-0 for a lot of reasons. Their defense has been tremendous. The coaching staff has been terrific, both in game-planning, game-calling, and making adjustments. QB Jeff Driskel has made progress. But for my money, Mike Gillislee might be their most important player right now.
UNBEATEN COUNT: 16. SEC leading the way with 4 teams, followed by the Big East with 3. The WAC has two. The ACC has zero.
My top 25 with some expected significant changes with the big games this past weekend and a couple of upsets.
4. West Virginia
5. Notre Dame
6. Kansas State
7. South Carolina
8. Ohio State
9. Oregon State
18. Louisiana Tech
19. Mississippi State
23. Texas A&M
25. Arizona State
– Still boggles the mind that AP and coach’s poll voters still have USC ahead of Stanford. Almost like that never happened. Or the last 4 years for that matter never happened.
– Even more brilliant was the coach’s poll handling of the back end with Iowa State beating the Horned Frogs at TCU, but still leaving TCU ahead of them, 23 to 25 (note: I haven’t had them rated because they haven’t earned it or looked very good), and ignoring the fact that Texas Tech just won at Iowa State the week before but leaving them unranked. Basically they ranked them 3-2-1, instead of 1-2-3.
– Some weeks you feel like you have 35 teams for 25 spots. This week I felt like I had about 22 teams for 25 spots. Picking #25 was toughest thing about this poll. I could have made a case for 10 teams.
– Don’t say I didn’t warn you about FSU. I wrote on Monday about them leaving the state and on Friday about this looking like a much tougher game than anyone would think. It is a devastating loss in so many ways. I picked FSU to win the ACC and lose a game along the way figuring NC State, Virginia Tech, and Florida being the biggest obstacles but losing a shot at a national title, in all-likelihood, in October hurts. If the Seminoles win out, then I think the season would be classified as a success with a major, major regret. Kind of like Oklahoma State last year. I didn’t have the courage to pick the upset, nor did I expect it to be a low-scoring close game, but I am unbeaten on my Upset Specials though this season.
– The Canes took a beating in Chicago proving it just isn’t their pass defense that is dreadful. The Irish ran and ran and ran and Miami had no way to stop them. Perhaps the game would have played out differently if not for a disasterous start that including not one, but two dropped TD passes by WR Phillip Dorsett, a dropped interception inside the Notre Dame 30 yard line, and a roughing the punter that kept an Irish drive alive that resulted in a touchdown. That was just the opening five minutes. Miami was clearly outclassed, but that was a very frustrating sequence.
STIFF-ARMING TROPHY RACE
The list would still be too long, but I would caution eliminating folks with 1-loss yet. A lot of those guys we re-emerge in discussions over the next month.