"Happy Days" was the most beloved show on television right up until that infamous episode where Fonzie jumped over a shark on water skis (naturally wearing his leather jacket). That episode serves as the quintessential "the beginning of the end" moment in television history and gave rise to the phrase, "jumping the shark." Well friends, the once storied Gator football program jumped the fucking shark on Saturday.
In 10 short months we've gone from an up and coming 11 win season and Top 10 preseason ranking to 5th place in the East. Look at yourself in the mirror and try to be convincing when you say that Muschamp can come back from a season where we lost to Vandy on Homecoming and missed out on a bowl for the first time since 1989. Good luck with that.
Obviously injuries have aided this unmitigated disaster, but what I saw Saturday against Vanderbilt (a team that we'd to beat in Gainesville since World War II) had more to do with heart than injuries. And by that, I mean a complete lack of it. This coaching staff lost this team when time expired in Jacksonville last week and let me tell you, Bubba, it ain't coming back. So barring a miraculous turn of events, this is the last Report of the season. After all, if the team isn't going to show up why should I? This weekly self-flagellation is simply no fun. I literally cannot remember a team as bad as this one in my lifetime.
My sister in law is getting married Georgia Southern weekend, so while I'll be at the South Carolina and FSU games I don't hold any hope that I will see another Gator victory in 2013. This team won't manage a bowl game and, no matter the injuries, that is purely unacceptable at Florida. Vanderbilt pasted Florida on Saturday with lesser talent but was clearly the better coached team. I'm hopeful that Jeremy Foley got James Franklin's cell number before he flew out of town. Vandy has won 14 out of its last 20 games including wins over UF, Georgia, Auburn, Ole Miss, NC State and Tennessee. Vanderbilt is a better program than we are right now.
Here's what I expect to see the rest of the way out-
South Carolina- I'm sure the Cocks will remember the beating they took in Gainesville last year and unless Spurrier turns nostalgic in favor of his alma mater, this will get ugly in a hurry. We couldn't block Vandy's front line, what is Clowney and Co. going to do to us? Answer: Anything they want. We couldn't stop Vandy's running back, so the SEC's leading rusher, Mike Davis, and Connor Shaw will probably rush for 300 yards Saturday. South Carolina 45-Florida 10.
Georgia Southern- I think we win, but I also think less than 30,000 people will be there. Which brings up a quick sidebar I want to discuss. Specifically, I don't think we deserve to call the stadium "The Swamp" anymore. Our student section is embarrassing. By the start of the fourth quarter it was less than 20% occupied. I can remember days when the stadium's energy helped us win games. When I was in school, we had to sneak people in to sit in our block on the student side. Now the lack of energy and attendance helps us lose and we've got more students crammed into dorm rooms playing "Call of Duty" than we do at Florida Field. For a team with a fragile psyche and lack of leadership, running out of the tunnel to 30,000 empty seats does nothing to get you fired up. I'm sure the recruits we're trying to land notice as well. "In all kinds of weather, we all stick together" my ass. Florida 27-Georgia Southern 17.
Florida State- I'm sure all of our postgame comments last year about making FSU quit as a result of our physical style are going to resurface in Tallahassee and bite us. There will be no quarter given in this one and the Noles are going to pound us on their way to playing for a national title. I said at the beginning of the year that with this defense at least we knew we'd never get routed. I was wrong. FSU 48-UF 9.
I'm sorry, Gators, I wish I had at least a shred of good news to share, but there is nothing going well for Florida right now. The team has quit, the coaches are seemingly clueless as to how to possibly fix anything and our fans are staying home. Let's hope 2014 is kinder, I can't see how it could be worse.
On the bright side, Stetson won, so that's something...
I really hope I'm wrong and before the end of the year I'm back talking about something positive. I pledge to bring outstanding effort to the USC and FSU tailgates and do my part as a fan. Here's hoping the players decide to put in a similar effort before the year is out.
Go Gators. C'mon Gators. GET UP AND GO!