Gators descend into also-ran status

Florida scored seven points against the Bulldogs. Florida lost to Mississippi State at home in a game where MSU scored 10 points. Florida should be embarrassed.


Published: Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 11:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 11:28 p.m.

Hello, Shreveport.

The destination for the also-rans of the Southeastern Conference now looks like a possible destination for the Florida Gators. You may remember the Gators, winners of two national titles, dominant program in the SEC. This team hardly resembles those great Gator teams of the past.

Instead, it resembles, well, nothing I've seen around here for a long time.

On Saturday night, Florida lost to a team that didn't really try to score. I'm sure all of you pining for the Dan Mullen days were impressed with that second half of offense where Mississippi State ran the ball 29 out of 30 plays. But that's all Mullen needed to do in his return to The Swamp — control the clock and count on Florida's offense being it's usual bad self when a play needed to be made.

Florida scored seven points against the Bulldogs. Florida lost to Mississippi State at home in a game where Mississippi State scored 10 points.

Florida should be embarrassed.

"We're not very good," Urban Meyer said in his post-game presser. He said it several times. He could have said it another 20 times and come well short of the number of times it was said in the press box. And that's just at my seat.

Even on a day when Kentucky did the Gators a favor by knocking off South Carolina, Florida slipped deeper into the abyss of mediocrity. Funny thing, Meyer's team still controls its own destiny. Win out and you go to Atlanta.

Yeah, I said it.

Win out.

Doesn't seem possible right now.

If the loss to Alabama was predictable and the loss to LSU was numbing, this loss made you feel like you wanted to lose your tailgate food. I can give you plenty of reasons why Florida lost again, how Meyer did something that Ron Zook never did (lose three straight games), how bad this team is playing right now.

"You can point the fingers all over the place," Meyer said.

It's too easy. The offense is bad. Injuries are part of the reason. Play-calling is a big part of the reason. A lack of playmakers is a huge part of it. Remember that the next time you're drooling over recruiting rankings.

The defense isn't very good either.

And remember when special teams were a strong suit for UF?

I don't know if it's ignorance or arrogance but something has to change.

We all think we know what's wrong with Florida, what we would do with a bye week, but what are the answers?

More than anything, there are more questions.

Some of us have refused to step onto the window ledge as this team has struggled through the first half of the season. But this, a 10-7 loss to a team that came into this season thinking Shreveport was Shangri-La, it's just hard to understand.

You look at this team and realize it's two plays away from being 6-1. But those two plays seem like 200.

There's something not quite right about the 2010 Gators. Whether it's Meyer's time off, the new coaches, the old coaches, the players, the chemistry, whatever it is, there is something not right with this team.

A lot of you want to pin it all on Steve Addazio. I didn't see anything Saturday night that would make me want to argue with you.

Florida continues to make first down a lost down. This season, Florida has had 58 first down running plays that have gained three or fewer yards. Defenses have taken the approach with the UF offense that it's OK to drop into deep coverage because nobody is going to take a short pass and make it a long one. The running game has been crippled by injuries.

"We were down to zero backs," Meyer said.

Yeah, except Mack Brown was sitting on the bench. If your offense is so complicated that it renders players useless, maybe it's time to simplify things.

Look, this head football coach has done some amazing things at Florida. He deserves adulation and respect. But this team he has put together should not be as pitiful as it is. Maybe he'll figure something out in the next two weeks.

Maybe he won't.

Maybe we should check out the December weather in Shreveport.

I know this much — I'm happy Florida is off next week.

Because we don't have to watch them.

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