Dooley: What'd we really know?
Published: Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 1:01 a.m.
It was a hot, humid day in the summer (like there are any other kinds of summer days in Gainesville) and we were anxiously awaiting the start of football season. We thought we knew what to expect, forgetting that the beauty of college football is that we don't know anything In August.
But here we are now, a third of the season in the rear-view and we know more than we knew then.
At least we think we do.
I like to divide college football seasons into thirds and we are getting ready to start the second third. It actually started Thursday night, but for the sake of this column, let's say it starts today.
So many things we thought we knew have changed. Others have not.
We thought we knew: That Florida's biggest issue on offense was a lack of playmakers. We thought the offensive line would be better, but with a sophomore quarterback and a lack of guys who had a knack for turning in big plays, would it matter?
We now know that: Big plays have returned to Florida football. Brent Pease has found a way to get skill players into space and they have come up big so far. Florida has 18 plays of 20 or more yards.
We thought we knew: That Mike Gillislee's goal of getting 1,500 yards rushing this season seemed like a pipe dream, especially since Florida hasn't has a 1,000-yard rusher since 2004.
We now know that: He's got a shot. Gilly is averaging 100.5 yards a game which means he's on pace to break the 1,000-yard mark, and he has a shot at his goal if he can stay healthy.
We thought we knew: That John L. Smith made sense for Arkansas. OK, maybe I'm one of the few people who thought that, but the thinking was that his loose style would help a team in turmoil.
We now know that: It was a huge mistake. The Razorbacks are in a downward spiral with no end in sight. Just this week, Smith told a booster club that Arkansas isn't his program it is “a state of Alabama program.” Yikes.
We thought we knew: That Jarvis Jones of Georgia was the best player in the SEC. That's where we had him ranked in The Sun when we did our list of the Top 25 players in the conference.
We now know that: We were dead-on with that call. You can argue whether he's the best, but he's in the argument. Jones has 4½ sacks already this year despite missing a game with a groin injury and has shown the ability to take over games.
We thought we knew: That there were about seven or eight teams that could be in the race for the national title this year.
We now know that: Two of those teams — Oklahoma and USC — already have a loss and will need a lot of help to get back into the mix. There are 21 unbeaten BCS conference teams and a dozen of those have legitimate shots at playing in Miami.
We thought we knew: That Vanderbilt was on the rise under James Franklin and the Commodores would be a force with Jordan Rodgers at quarterback.
We now know that: It's been an awful third of the season for Vandy. The Commodores rank 100th in the nation in scoring and Rodgers was benched. It's hard to envision Vandy making a bowl game this year.
We thought we knew: That Charlie Weis had a one-year offensive hiccup at Florida and would give Kansas a schematic advantage.
We now know that: The big guy seems to have lost his touch. Kansas is 102nd in passing yards and it appears that his swing-and-a-miss at UF was not an aberration.
We thought we knew: That Zach Mettenberger would change the LSU offense and make the Tigers the team to beat in the SEC.
We now know that: Not so fast, my friend. Mettenberger is struggling, throwing for less than 200 yards in three of four games. LSU is still a terrific team, but Mettenberger has been average at best.
We thought we knew: That FSU's schedule would be a big reason why the Seminoles could end up playing for a national title this year.
We now know that: We were right. After disposing of Clemson, there are only three roadblocks left for Jimbo Fisher's team — at Miami, which lost 52-13 already this season, at Virginia Tech, which lost to Pittsburgh this year, and Florida at home. Gator fans might want to brace themselves for FSU being truly back.
We thought we knew: That Denard Robinson had a shot at the Heisman Trophy.
We now know that: He has no chance, not after he was embarrassed by Alabama and Notre Dame. Robinson was so upset after the Notre Dame game he apologized to his team and Michigan's fans.
We thought we knew: That officiating in college football would be a big controversy at some point this season.
We now know that: The NFL cornered the market.
We know so much more now than we did a month ago. But if we know anything, it's that we don't know anything. Buckle up for the second third.