Thirteen of the last 14 years Florida fans have walked away from the stadium in Jacksonville as winners. “That’s all of your adult life,” I told one of my friends who was glum after Georgia won 31-24. I like it when Florida wins because a lot of my friends (and my daughter who’s a UF grad) are happy. But I also like it when Georgia wins because the ‘Dogs fans hang around and have fun in town. Florida fans always hang around win or lose, so it’s a big festive atmosphere for the whole weekend.
I would have liked it if the Gators had won on Saturday just because Head Coach Ron Zook deserves a solid send off. Getting fired is part of the job, but Florida hasn’t handled this thing very well over the last week. Still, Zook’s players couldn’t muster enough to beat Mississippi State, why would anybody expect them to all of the sudden become something different against Georgia. Emotion plays a big part in this game, but it can only carry you so far. For the Gators, it carried them to a close game, but Georgia was the better team and showed it in crunch time for the first time in the last three years.
David Green gets his first win against Florida and so does Head Coach Mark Richt. Richt walked into his post game press conference and said, “You know this is the first time I’ve walked down the hall in this place and didn’t have to figure out what I was going to say.”
Florida had too many penalties (10 for 77 yards), and Georgia took advantage of the Gator miscues. Plus, just as Florida was gaining the momentum in the 4th quarter, but Green hit Reggie Brown for 51-yards to move the ball into Gator territory and quiet those at the game in Orange and Blue. Gator players said after the game that emotion wasn’t a problem and they were disappointed that they couldn’t pull out this win for Zook.
Ciatrick Fason has turned out to be the real deal for Florida. His 17 carries for 139 yards kept the Gators in the game (he also caught five passes out of the backfield). But how he gained his yards was even more impressive. He constantly looks like he’s stopped, and somehow escapes to rip off big chunks of yardage. More and more it seems he will turn pro after this season. If he continues to develop at this rate, his value jumps out of the middle rounds and into the top two or three.
Florida now has games against Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Florida State remaining on their schedule. They have better athletes than Vandy, but South Carolina can do some damage if they don’t pay attention, and the FSU game is usually unpredictable. (Especially this year with the Seminoles as unpredictable as they’ve ever been.) As Jeremy Foley has said a couple of times, Florida still isn’t bowl eligible, but Peach Bowl and Outback Bowl officials were at today’s game scouting the Gators.