Friday, March 12, 2010

Some thoughts about the coming year

So, one of the greatest college football players - Tim Tebow is gone. With a host of other defensive and offensive playmakers that formed the winningest class in the SEC. The Gators start a new year with a new roster and a tough schedule with LSU, FSU, Bama, Georgia, Tennessee, an improved South Carolina and USF involved. Coach Meyer's health is drawing a lot of critics to dismiss Florida's chances this year. What record would you predict for this team? 9 wins? Maybe less?

It probably does not matter. Obviously no team contends for a national championship annually. Even if a team could be a potential contender (google: Boise State), the fiscal gods have to will your presence at the championship meeting. For all other bowl teams, the week between the regular season and the bowl allotment day seems to be good enough to forget the failure to make the podium and prepare to hate a future opponent. The flawed, yet unchanging BCS system will ensure that at the end of the year, a profitably matching opponent is drawn for the gators. Win the bowl game and one is happy. The fan mindset can change much quicker than most people think. Fans of the Michigan Wolverines - the winningest team in the history of the game - may possibly get a chance to celebrate bowl eigibility and I guarantee you, they will celebrate it like they have never made a bowl game. So what would determine a general satisfaction quotient with any current team?

Answer - respect. You get that with a 6-6 season, you are thrilled. However, since sport allows for show of undiluted, primitive hate and love, getting respect can be tricky business. The 2008 7-6 Vanderbilt team definitely got more respect than a more talented 2009 13-1 Florida team that went through its regular season unbeaten. Wins in big games can earn some love but what fans like most is drama, charisma and good, old-fashioned razzle-dazzle to keep them happy. That is probably why, despite just a single loss to the eventual national champion, the Gators look so ordinary all season.

So does Urban Meyer need to win a national championship again this year to bring it all back? Actually no, that would increase the hate for the Gators. What Urban would have to do is win against the biggies - Alabama and LSU and let slip a couple of losses to a good team like Georgia or South Carolina. And win the bowl game. Somehow, that does wonders for the off-season and builds up for an exciting and media-loved following year. Losing to a good team is easy but how do you beat the defending champions on their home-field? How do you account for the loss of so many stars and the one and only Tim Tebow? Next post.

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