Dr. Football’s Mailbag, Vandy week


Thanks for all the questions for the mailbag. Keep them coming.

If the Gators convincingly win out, win the East, and then the SEC championship game, what are the odds they make it into the playoffs as the 9-3 SEC champ? — Blake.

Blake: It is amazing how a week ago the general feeling was that Florida would be looking for a new coach and now people are talking in a positive manner. It’s also refreshing for Dr. Football. The negativity was getting to be overwhelming. First, you’re getting way ahead of yourself. The more important question is whether or not the Gators can steal the East. They’d need to win the next two, Missouri would have to lose to Tennessee and one of its remaining West opponents and Georgia would have to lose once. If Florida did that and won out, I still can’t see any way a three-loss team could make it, even with some really nice wins at the end of the season. There is still a head-to-head loss to Alabama and a bad loss to Missouri. I appreciate your optimism.

Has it been announced what the tenure is for the CFP committee members?  Are they all being replaced at the end of the year?  Obviously each person makes their choices based on their own beliefs and it would be difficult for schools to get a feel for what the committee prioritizes (quality opponents, away games, margin of victory, conference champions) if they change every member each year. — JS

According to the College Football Playoff website, “Members will serve one three-year term. Terms will be staggered to allow for an eventual rotation of members. Until the rotation has been achieved, certain terms may be shorter or longer.” Like a lot of things in college football, that makes little sense. But you are right. As the committee changes, so will personalities. In basketball, we see slight differences from one year to the next so I assume that — even though there is a mandate given to the Gang of 13 minus One — there are no sure things.

Why does the play calling seem so inconsistent both week-to-week and in the game itself? For example, we see Demarcus Robinson tie the UF record for receptions against Kentucky, goes back to being an occasional contributor, and then only hear his name when it comes to his blocking prowess for the running game against UGA. Jeff Driskel hardly runs the ball at all for a good part of the season, then runs it constantly one game, then reverts back to being a dropback passer (which is the kiss of death). Kelvin Taylor looks great at the end of last year, has a good game, gets two carries the next game, then lights it up against Georgia. In game, for just one example, we run Debose on a jet sweep that works and never see the play again. I realize some of these may be due to injuries or defenses reacting differently, but ALL of these? — Ryan.

All teams vary their play-calling from game to game based on the defense of the opponent. Debose did run a jet sweep against Georgia and it lost five yards. Florida obviously went conservative with a freshman starting at quarterback. Taylor was not playing as much because he missed too many pass rushers on blitz pickup. But when you’re just going to ask him to run the ball, he’s a weapon as we saw. Some of the play-calling baffles me and I’m curious to see what happens next.

Are the Gators not nearly as bad as their three losses suggested, or is Georgia not nearly as good as all of the hype they received coming into the game?  My theory, a little of both.  UF was one dropped pass in the end zone away from being 6-2, and one stubborn refusal to bench the turnover prone QB away from having a chance to be 7-1.  Likewise, UGA’s defense has given up more than 30 points in 1/2 of their games this year (4 out of 8).​ — Cannon.

Yeah, I think people got a little carried away with Georgia because they whacked Clemson and Missouri. Those are good wins, but one thing we saw in the Florida game is that offensive coordinator Mike Bobo got away from what was working once the Gators took the lead. Georgia is a solid team but hardly the great team some were making the Bulldogs out to be. And yes, Florida is a dropped pass away from being 5-2, not 6-2 (Idaho never happened). We’ll never know what might have happened against Missouri if the Gators had won that game against LSU. Then again, maybe the Georgia game is different. Florida is not as bad as its three losses. Before the season, I thought it was an 8-4 team and I still think UF can go 7-4.

The SEC East is such a mess and the West is so strong. If the NCAA allowed it (which they don’t), do you think the SEC should eliminate divisions? — Nick.

Nick: The NCAA only mandates that you have to have 12 teams and divisions to have a championship game, a rule that the ACC and Big 12 have both pushed to be “deregulated.” Even if that happened, I don’t think the SEC will go away from divisions. I mean, what would be the incentive for the teams in the East the rest of the year? Remember, however, that these things tend to go in cycles. From 1993-98, The East won the SEC every year.