Monday, October 5, 2015

Gators 38, Ole Miss 10 - My Two Bits

I said before the game that for the Gators to have a chance at beating Ole Miss, they would need to play the full 60 minutes the way they played the final 10 against Tennessee. Little did I know that Ole Miss would be the team that wouldn't have a chance against the Gators.

My Two Bits on the Game
Wait What?
I'm still in a state of disbelief at what happened. Not about the fact that the Gators won - lest we forget, Indiana came thisclose to beating our friends from Ohio, because, you know, any given Saturday - but that the Gators so thoroughly dismantled Ole Miss. We always knew the Gators had a good defense; that was their saving grace many sometimes under Muschamp. But I don't recall seeing a defensive beat-down like the one I watched on Saturday, ESPECIALLY against a ranked team, let alone the third-best team in the nation. The Gators played the first half against Ole Miss the way they played the final 10 minutes against Tennessee, and then kept up that pressure on the defensive side in the second half, while taking their foot off the gas pedal on offense. This was as complete a win as I can remember, and it was so so so so so so much fun to watch.

That Said...
That said, what does that mean for this Gators team? At the end of the game the fans were chanting "Ov-er-rated bum bum bumbumbum" but was Ole Miss overrated? Did the Gators put a hurting on the No. 3 team in the nation or a team that just happened to be ranked No. 3? Ole Miss was No. 3 because it beat Alabama, 43-37, which was at the time No. 2 because it was Alabama, and is now back in the top-10 because of its 38-10 win over Georgia. Are the Gators really 34 points better than the Crimson Tide and 62 points better than the Bulldogs? I think it's safe to say the SEC is slightly overrated this year. The Gators' wins over Kentucky and Tennessee probably aren't as"good wins" as they were when they happened thanks to the Wildcats' near loss to Eastern Kentucky and the Volunteers' actual loss to Arkansas, but UF did beat an East Carolina team that beat Virginia Tech but lost to Navy...which means I have no idea what any of this means. It means the Gators beat Ole Miss and did so convincingly and that's what matters. Certainly Florida controls its own destiny to reach the SEC Championship for the first time since Tebow's senior year, but it won't be easy getting there. Good thing Gators fans tend to keep things in perspective when thinking about where their team stands in the national landscape.

Packed House
Gators fans not only filled The Swamp on Saturday, they made life miserable for the Ole Miss offense AND they stayed long after the game had been decided, and that is fantastic. Great job by everyone there. Good news: The Swamp is The Swamp again. Bad news: the Gators play away from The Swamp for four of their next five games, including the next three-straight, at Missouri and LSU and against Georgia in Jacksonville. I feel like I've heard this before this season, but now we can see what kind of team we have on our hands. The Gators are playing with a lot of confidence, which is good, because winning at Missouri, at LSU and against Georgia won't be easy. It would not surprise me to see the first loss of the McElwain era somewhere during this stretch. It would bum me out, but it would not surprise me.

Maintaining Focus
The coaching staff and the team did a great job of not allowing the emotional win over Tennessee affect their preparation and focus for Ole Miss. But now they have to make sure to ignore a) the incredible win they just had and 2) all the pundits saying nice things about them, and get ready to play a Missouri team that will be jacked to get back into the SEC East race. So far McElwain has been pushing all the right buttons; let's hope that continues.

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