We all know Florida is in a must-win situation Saturday and by must-win I mean they MUST WIN or this season is going to be fuel for a dumpster fire.
The fan base is angry, the players are beat up and the coaching is being questioned like it was on the stand in a trial.
So where were you on the night of the fourth-down play?
How do you know Doug Nussmeier and were you with him on the date in question?
Sir, are you aware of a play called the “jet sweep”?
Things were so bad last Saturday that the Gators actually employed a trick play … and were called for intentional grounding.
But Florida isn’t alone when it comes to Must-Win Saturday. The college football landscape is littered with teams whose seasons are on the line on the second Saturday of October.
The Sooners laid a smelly egg last week in losing to Iowa State. It’s the kind of really, really bad loss that costs coaches their jobs (I’m looking at you Mike Stoops) and can ruin any hopes at a College Football Playoff.
Lincoln Riley’s team faces Texas in the annual Red River Shootout and Grease Fire and it’s a win-or-go-home game for Oklahoma. Another loss and the dreams of anything special are out the door and don’t let it hit you on the way out.
Miami is unbeaten and coming off a streak-breaker of a win over FSU in dramatic fashion. But if the Hurricanes can’t handle Georgia Tech’s odd offense, that win will soon be forgotten.
Because of a soft non-conference schedule, Miami can’t afford a loss of any kind if it wants to do the unthinkable and storm the CFP. And the ACC Coastal, which the school has never won, is still wide open. Maybe it’s not quite a must win, but it’s sure one that could disrupt the season if it doesn’t win.
FSU, well, we know the Seminoles have to win at Duke or their hopes of just getting to a bowl will be in serious jeopardy at 1-4 with Louisville, Clemson and Florida still on the schedule (I include the Gators reluctantly) and only an 11-game schedule because of Hurricane Irma.
Michigan is at Indiana and that would have seemed like a no-brainer a week ago. But after the loss to Michigan State, playing an early game with your quarterback out could be a tall task.
Auburn has moved back into contention in the SEC West, seems to have the offense figured out and has a couple of giant games on the horizon with Georgia and Alabama. But a loss at LSU would be a leg sweep for Gus Malzahn.
Then there is that LSU team, fresh off a stolen win in The Swamp. Lose your second straight game at home and the Ed Orgeron bandwagon will be missing a wheel again.
Think Tennessee is in a must-win situation? The Vols play host to South Carolina with Alabama up next. There is alleged dissension in the locker room and heat on Butch Jones, who is changing quarterbacks in a desperate move. Another loss could be devastating.
On a lesser scale, Mississippi State must beat lowly Brigham Young at home to keep its bowl hopes alive. I’m not sure 5-7 gets you in this year, guys.
Vanderbilt is in the same boat. The Commodores didn’t fare well in their three-game gauntlet of Alabama, Florida and Georgia. They went into that stretch leading the nation in defense and proceeded to allow 47.3 points per game in the three losses.
Vandy gets to play Ole Miss, which appears to have cashed in its chips. Must. Win.
That’s the way it is in college football. There’s no waiting around for games that feel crucial even this early in the season. Some are for high stakes, some just for steak dinners at bowl games.
Of course, around here, there is only one game that feels vital. The mighty Gators are going to pull on their much-debated uniforms and try to save a season. Again.
Give me an orange! Give me a cross between used-ashtray gray and army green!
Maybe the uniforms will make a difference. Remember this — what we think about them really doesn’t matter. The players love them and if it makes them play better than they can wear tunics for all we should care.
Just win, baby.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.