Every sports column should come with a caveat, a disclaimer that says that what we are writing about really, really matters, but only in the small speck of life that is sports entertainment.
As we await a killer hurricane in lines for gas and wonder if we have enough water, we are fortunate that we have the common sense to understand that a win or a loss, a pick-six or a sack-six, a nasty tweet or an angry talk radio call, they are all just peripheral parts of life.
They are going to play a college football game in The Swamp on Saturday. There’s no telling how many people will be in the stands and, to be honest, it doesn’t matter. Attendance will be less of a referendum on Florida’s offense than it will be on Florida’s geography.
But this is a sport column and rather than continue to be sanctimonious, this is as good a time as any to shift gears and talk about the favorite topic of the last few days, the one that has so many members of the Gator Nation chewing nails and spitting out darts.
The mighty Gators have played all of one football game and already there are fans looking for the escape hatches. Ask the guy in line in front of you what the answer is and he might reach into his shirt pocket and pull out a bunch of pink slips.
Saturday in Arlington, Texas, was ugly, except for the lovely press box dessert spread. If Florida’s offense against Michigan were a scented candle, it would have been a sulphur, litter box and skunk juice milkshake.
Last week, Jim McElwain said he didn’t have the tape from the Citrus Bowl loss two years prior against Michigan because he “probably threw up all over it.”
And then a less-experienced Wolverines team made what was supposed to be his best Florida team queasy all over again.
But let’s put that loss to bed and think about where this Florida football team was going in the future. And let’s just pray we all have a future.
It is only one game, but it is a track record. I’m not going to bore you with stats about how bad Florida’s offense has been since Tim Tebow left or how few offensive touchdowns the Gators have scored since the first half of last year’s Tennessee game (it’s 13 in 21 halves of football).
You don’t need a roadmap to know how to get across the street and you don’t need any more stats to show you what you have been seeing for 29 games.
But I am also here to say that it’s a little early to be driving to the games with a white towel flapping from your car window.
There is a lot of football to be played. Before we judge a season, let it unfold. The Gators lost to a team that is way better than I thought it was on a neutral site with the stink of selfish suspensions still on their clothes.
What is most disturbing, however, is that Florida needs to call LifeLock.
Because this program’s identity has been stolen.
Seriously, if I ask you how you would describe the Florida offensive philosophy under McElwain and Doug Nussmeier, what would you say?
And no cursing.
There is no identity unless you count punting.
McElwain has never been afraid to go for fourth downs, but you would hardly call him a riverboat gambler because of the way this offense operates on the other three downs.
I’m still waiting on that identity question.
I said no cursing.
The head coach at Florida doesn’t want or need my advice and none of his predecessors have ever asked for it either. But he’s going to get it anyway.
Quit being easy to defend.
Let your hair down and let her fly.
Pick a quarterback and stick with him.
And pick an identity.
If you can’t have your way with Northern Colorado, I’m not sure you get it. I don’t want to hear the excuse about getting up early for a noon game. The other team is playing at 10 a.m. their time and probably will ask for a running clock so they can make sure they get ahead of Irma.
Have some fun Saturday, boys. Remember, you’re just entertainment,
Try to be entertaining.
It’s an identity that has worked before.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.