Urban Destruction and the Buckeyes
by The Gator Narrator on Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 6:38pm ·
Gotta love December, Gator Nation!
For the last three Decembers, Urban Meyer has, whether intentionally or not, put the Gator Nation through a ton of drama. This latest episode shouldn’t have caught any of us by surprise, but here it is. We are playing a rematch of the 2006 National Championship—albeit with two teams vying for a winning season versus the top position in the land. We thought this would be an Urban-free bowl season, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. I suppose we should be just happy that we were invited to a bowl game. Let’s talk some football…
So this matchup was named shortly after losses for both teams to their annual rivalry teams. Then Charlie Weis leaves after one year to go coach…..Kansas. I’m beginning to understand that coaching at Florida requires great intestinal fortitude…not great intestinal magnitude. Then we hear that Urban Meyer is named the coach at OSU and….living in Columbus, I can tell you…the crowd goes wild. The man they hated the most five years ago is now their savior of their storied program. Kind of funny if you think about. I hear that Urban Renewal shirts are very popular in Central Ohio. I’m wondering if they need to stock up on Urban Destruction shirts in a few years. I digress. Unlike seven years ago when Urban Meyer took over at UF, he was replete with talent left by Ron Zook. It was not so much rebuilding that he needed to do as it was re-tooling and changing mindsets. No doubt for four years he brought in quality talent, but what he left Will Muschamp with is clearly a lack of overall depth and talent….and he knew it. So he got out while the getting was good. A perennial record of 7-5 and 8-4 just wasn’t going to cut it with him. Funny how one year was all he needed away from the game to re-charge and get back in touch with the family. He will get OSU back to where it was with Tressel mainly built on the idea that they aren’t playing Alabama, Georgia, FSU and LSU every year. I thoroughly enjoyed our two Championship seasons and hope for more, but our next few years are going to be tough.
Will Muschamp’s first season was average at best for the Gator Nation. I won’t go into depth on the parallels of the Ron Zook year’s but they are very glaring. I will concede at this point–having played the entire regular season–that he has extensively less talent than the Zooker when he took over from Meyer. That said, he has some very big difficulties ahead for him. He lost to UGA and FSU this year which will make recruiting that much harder. Losing to both those programs in your FIRST year impacts many things. For the Georgia series it means they have momentum now in the rivalry and….gasp….HOPE. It’s been a very long time since Georgia had any in this series. FSU now has a two game win streak on us. To top it all off, he will also be competing against Meyer in the state of Florida for recruiting. He has a very tough road ahead and, unfortunately, he has not demonstrated that he’s the X’s and O’s mind that can get us over the top. Charlie Weis was supposed to help him through these years and now he’s gone after one year. With a very thin offensive line and only two OL commits for next year, his next selection as O Coordinator better be good or the Gator Nation will get absolutely frenetic.
Let’s turn our attention to the Ohio State Buckeyes. They lost their last three games of the season to Purdue, Penn State and Michigan. Two of which have good defenses and no offense and the latter of which has a tremendous offense but absolutely no defense. Our defense showed up against FSU. Unfortunately, our offense couldn’t produce much of anything. I don’t know if Brian White calling the offensive play will change anything, but I’m just going to assume that it can’t hurt. The big, glaring, elephant in the room stat that will absolutely almost positively guarantee (maybe) a win for us is NOT TURNING THE BALL OVER. That said, we didn’t have many games where we didn’t turn the ball over and forced the other teams into turnovers. It plainly is that simple. We hold onto the ball and force at least one turnover, we should win this game. OSU’s offense isn’t near the potency we saw of other teams this year, but their defense is definitely for real–when they want to be. Given they are riding a great wave of enthusiasm with the hiring of Meyer and with plenty of time to prepare I’d be very surprised if their defense doesn’t come ready to play. In the Meyer-era, when we had time off before a game we won every time except for once. So far, Muschamp is 0-1 against UGA. Here is his chance to break even. There shouldn’t even be a question of our motivation for this game given so much for the Gator Nation is riding on it. Florida 23 Ohio State 17. Game time is 1pm EDT, 10 am PDT on Monday, January 2nd on ESPN2. Happy New Year, Gator Nation! Let’s get 2012 started with a win and build some momentum for next season. I will be in pre-deployment training before heading over to the big sandbox for game day so I won’t be able to watch—and I won’t be in an area where I can get game updates on my phone. I’m hoping the day ends well tomorrow. Every other Gator on the other hand should stick to the old school adage “in all kinds of weather” and go to your local Gator Club because celebrating a Gator Bowl Victory over the Buckeyes is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.