The facts are pretty simple for the 2011 Florida football season. This is a mediocre team. Penalties and turnovers are rampant. There are very few playmakers on either side of the ball. Entire position groups are barren (offensive line, receivers). There have been some impact injuries. The coaching staff has struggled with play calls and player rotations. And the program is at a crossroads.
Florida is 14-11 in its last 25 games. Before that, the Gators won 25 of 26. Florida is 0-9 in its last nine games against the AP Top 25, getting outscored 268-115. Actually since the creation of this website, the Gators are 13-10, including a mind boggling 7-9 in the SEC. Enough people are blaming our namesake, but maybe it is us. Frankly, if this thing doesn’t get turned around soon, the only logical thing is for us to pull the plug (hold your applause).
Being a sports fan in 2011 means being on Twitter. But when your team is struggling like Florida, is that a good place to be? Twitter can be a beautiful thing, especially during games. It brings people together, fans alike, rooting for their favorite team. I’m BM’s West Coast resident. My family and friends are all back east so I tend to watch most games by myself. But through Twitter’s cyber sports bar setup, I’m never truly alone. At the same time, like any rowdy bar, Twitter gets out of hand at times. Saturday was a prime example of this. The rage directed at Will Muschamp, Charlie Weis, John Brantley, Jaylon Watkins and many others was quite disturbing. I’m not saying they don’t deserve criticism; I’ve dished out plenty myself. But any call to fire Will Muschamp is just a bit premature.
Calling for Jacoby Brissett to replace John Brantley? We saw that experiment for a couple of games. If anything, Brantley deserves newfound respect. I have never been a big fan but that dude is tough and has given everything he has. In fact, he exemplifies everything we should love about the Gators. He plays as if he bleeds orange and blue, which given his family connections and upbringing, he does more than any of us.
Florida’s problems are deeper than just one player or one coach. They are endemic right now. The question that I ask myself is are the problems correctable in the near future? There is enough talent on campus to get things turned. Despite the rash of criticism, Urban Meyer did not leave the cupboard bare. Yes, he left behind some rancid cheese and stale crackers. But he also left some top shelf whisky and a few excellent cuts of meat. Muschamp is working on another top 5 recruiting class. Florida will always have talent. Muschamp will have to prove in the next year or two whether he can manage the program.
We won’t desert the program, no matter what happens. In all kinds of weather. So despite the rancid taste, we’ll savor every bite of this 2011 season. Belly up to the cyber bar with me (@shawn_kopelakis) for Furman and Florida State and let’s enjoy the final two games of the regular season.
Here’s this week’s top 25:
2. Oklahoma State
10. Virginia Tech
11. Boise State
12. Michigan State
14. South Carolina
16. Kansas State
19. Southern Miss
22. Penn State
23. Florida State
24. Notre Dame