COLUMBIA, Mo. — As the Florida band members marched down the stairs of the emptying stadium after the game was over, one Gator fan who would not quit was there to offer support.
“Go Gators … in all kinds of weather,” he said softly.
What would you have if a tornado, a hurricane, an earthquake, a tsunami and a hail storm all converged on the same football program at the same time?
The Florida Gators, the SEC’s worst team.
UF may not have the worst record in the conference, but the team that this school put on Faurot Field on Saturday was as bad as we’ve seen this year. It made you wonder how the 4-8 team from 2013 would fare in a game against this squad of depleted and demoralized Gators.
All we know for sure is we wouldn’t want to watch.
Florida made a team with zero SEC wins this year look like Alabama.
After his first game of what will be a short stint as interim head coach, Randy Shannon must have mentioned 20 times that he has to wait to watch the film of this game before he comments.
I’m guessing you don’t either unless your TV mercifully went on the fritz at around noon Saturday.
Florida was bad at offense, defense and special teams. Other than that, no problems.
The players did all manage to show up wearing the same color uniforms and nobody spilled pizza on the way to the bus when it was over. And they kept their scoring streak alive.
(Can I get a sarcastic “Yippee?”).
This lost season reached a new low. Getting hammered by Georgia is one thing. Getting dominated by a bad Missouri team is another.
Florida football has fallen so far there is no light where the Gators have landed.
“We didn’t come out with the energy we needed,” said linebacker David Reese. “We didn’t play as a unit.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise.
These guys played like a team that had the rug pulled out from under it. They looked like a bunch of guys who had Melatonin milkshakes for breakfast.
Nice eight days, huh? Lost to Georgia, lost your head coach, lost to Missouri.
It’s a miracle they didn’t get lost on the way to the stadium.
“We weren’t playing as Gators,” said defensive tackle Khairi Clark, who has become the unofficial spokesman for this team.
You kinda are, at least this year’s Gator team.
“We had some good plays, we had some bad plays,” Shannon said.
Not enough of one, too many of the other.
Florida fans got a heavy dose of Shannon as a head coach Saturday when he went for field goals in a game that needed touchdowns.
He said he wanted points in a game where Florida had little chance to match Missouri if the Gators weren’t going to try something different or take some chances.
It was as simple as the first drive, and I use that term loosely.
Same stale play-calling.
And after a defense that is a shell of its former self managed to get off the field on Missouri’s first two drives into Gator territory, of course there had to be a giant special teams mistake to set up the Tigers’ first touchdown.
It’s what these Gators do.
If this was truly an audition for players and/or coaches, a lot of them stumbled off the stage into the orchestra pit.
Was Malik Zaire a little better than Feleipe Franks has been? Yeah, but that’s not saying much. Zaire tried to be positive after the game, talking about how the Gators were able to move the ball (against the nation’s 113th-ranked defense) and, “we didn’t have as many penalties.”
Florida had 14 last week. The Gators had 11 Saturday.
(Can I get another sarcastic “Yippee?”).
Those penalties were part of a problem that feels like a runaway case of shingles. Florida football has been infected and it can’t stop scratching no matter how raw it gets.
There was a time when a season like this seemed unimaginable. But it’s real and it’s ugly and it feels like the season can’t end fast enough so everyone can move on to the next coach, the next staff and the next everything.
For now, the mighty Gators can take solace in one thing. They’re making the media boys work extra hard looking up the last time Florida was so bad.
Oh, and they’re No. 1.
As the worst team in the SEC.
Can I get one more sarcastic “Yippee”?
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at email@example.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.