Thoughts of the day: November 3, 2013


On Florida’s second play from scrimmage, Tyler Murphy dropped back and launched a deep ball that Quinton Dunbar ran under and turned into an 83-yard gain. If Dunbar hadn’t stumbled around midfield, he might have taken the pass the distance for what would have been a tying touchdown against Georgia Saturday. That was the first long ball the Gators have thrown in weeks. It was also the last long ball the Gators threw against Georgia’s suspect secondary. In the three plays following the throw to Dunbar the Gators, it was business as usual – a running play up the middle that was stuffed for no gain, an incomplete pass and then an option play to the outside. It was obvious that Georgia was shocked that the Gators came out throwing on their first two plays. When the Gators scored their final touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter, the final 39 yards were covered on two designed Tyler Murphy runs that negated the Georgia blitz. Georgia was caught by surprise on both plays. When you look at the Florida offense and wonder why, the first place to look is the play calling. At best, it’s confusing and that’s probably being generous.


Florida finds itself in a precarious situation after the loss to Georgia. The Gators (4-4, 3-3 SEC East) have four remaining games and each opponent will have added incentive to knock them off. Vanderbilt is improving rapidly and trying to get bowl-eligible for a school-record third straight year, plus the Commodores haven’t beaten Florida since 1988. South Carolina needs a win over the Gators and one loss by Missouri to win the SEC East. Georgia Southern is a D1AA team that will move to Division I next year, so knocking off an SEC team is huge incentive. In the final game of the season, Florida State will not only be looking to win but to pour it on to enhance its possibilities to play in the last BCS national championship game.


Missouri (8-1, 4-1 SEC East) controls the division, but the Tigers have losable games on the schedule with a roadie to Ole Miss and a season finale with Texas A&M. If the Tigers win their final three conference games, they are the Eastern Division champs, but if they lose one and South Carolina (7-2, 5-2 SEC East) beats Florida, the Gamecocks will make it to Atlanta by virtue of their head-to-head win with Missouri. If Missouri loses twice and Georgia (5-3, 4-2 SEC East) beats Auburn and Kentucky, the Bulldogs will win the East no matter what happens with South Carolina-Florida.


Oregon doesn’t play until Thursday so the computers have nothing to compare with Florida State’s blowout win over previously unbeaten and #7 Miami. FSU looked the part of a national championship contender in steamrolling the last serious obstacle to an unbeaten season. The toughest game remaining for the Seminoles is a Thanksgiving weekend date with the Gators in Gainesville. The next three games are Wake Forest Gump, Syracuse and Famous Idaho Potatoes. The Seminoles should also have a rematch with Miami in the ACC Championship Game. That might not be a good enough schedule to get the Seminoles into the national championship game.


With their 56-0 blowout of Purdue, #4 Ohio State has won 21 straight games and probably won’t be challenged until the Big Ten Championship Game when the likely opponent is Michigan State, which boasts the nation’s top defense, at least from a statistical standpoint. Unless Oregon or Florida State lose a game, the Buckeyes are probably going to get shut out of the national championship picture even with what will be by then a 25-game winning streak. The last time a team with a long unbeaten streak got this much disrespect was 1968-69 Penn State. This was pre-BCS so even though Penn State went 11-0 back-to-back, the Nittany Lions were only #2 in the eyes of the voters both years.


Former Gator assistant Steve Addazio has turned Boston College into a very tough opponent. The Eagles gave FSU its toughest game of the season and took Clemson down to the wire. The Eagles moved to 4-4 Saturday by knocking off Virginia Tech. With a favorable schedule, the Eagles have a very good chance to run the rest of the table. They’ll almost certainly win two of the last four to make it to a bowl game. On a side note, when are the announcers going to quit hyping Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas? All I see him do is make critical turnovers at the worst possible moment. He threw two picks and fumbled twice against BC.


These three coaches will be very fortunate if they remain gainfully employed by Monday morning: Charlie Weis (Kansas), Norm Chow (Hawaii) and Ron English (Eastern Michigan). Kansas lost its sixth straight game, although this one was close by usual Kansas blowout standards. Texas beat the Fighting Cheeseburgers, 35-13 … Chow and Hawaii dropped to 0-7 after losing to Utah State, 47-10. The folks in Hawaii should have realized what they had when June Jones was their coach … English is 11-47 in his Eastern Michigan career. The Eagles got hammered, 55-16, by Toledo. It won’t get any better.


My top 25 would be: (1) Alabama; (2) Oregon; (3) Florida State; (4) Ohio State; (5) Baylor; (6) Stanford; (7) Auburn; (8) Clemson; (9) Missouri; (10) LSU; (11) Texas A&M; (12) Fresno State; (13) South Carolina;  (14) Miami; (15) Oklahoma; (16) Texas Tech; (17) UCLA; (18) Michigan State; (19) Oklahoma State; (20) Louisville; (21) UCF; (22) Northern Illinois; (23) Arizona State; (24) Texas; (25) Wisconsin.


The more I listen to Lyle Lovett, the more I like his music and his willingness to stretch himself artistically. He’s a prolific songwriter who does some very cool original arrangements, but he also resurrects a lot of old songs and works with musicians from every genre. I found this on his “Release Me” CD. It’s a Michael Franks song called “White Boy Lost in the Blues” that features some very nice vocal work Arnold McCuller.

Previous articleWill the real Gators please stand up?
Next articleDonovan sees positives, negatives
Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.