Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gators Take it Easy on the Citadel, Only put up 70

By JC De La Torre

For a lot of the Gator players, this homecoming game will be the final memory of Florida Field as a football player. Some will move on to the Pros, others will find careers in business, science, or law. All of them will remember this was the day that the Gators were charitable, calling off the dogs and even letting their opponent get a couple cheapo touchdowns against the waterboy. The Gators dominated the Citadel Bulldogs 70-19. They could have easily scored 100.

Urban Meyer understood the fine line between making it look good for the pollsters and just being downright cruel. When the Gators pulled Tim Tebow and the starters midway through the 2nd quarter, it was 42-0. Tebow attempted only 11 passes, but had 201 yds passing and 3 touchdowns. Chris Rainey carried the ball just 7 times, but had 143 yds and a score. Percy Harvin touched it just 5 times, yet had 125 yds and a touchdown (his 13th straight game with a score). Before unloading the bench on defense, the Citadel's offensive possessions consisted of four punts and two interceptions.

Eight different Gators scored, and they scored 70 points for the first time since 2001. Florida totaled 706 yards of total offense -- the third most in school history. Gators running backs Chris Rainey and Emmanuel Moody each went over 100 yards on the ground, the second time in seven games Florida has had two 100-yard rushers (previously they hadn't done it since 1997). During their 7 game winning streak, Florida has outscored their opponents 369-82.

Even the ultra-focused Urban Meyer admitted that at halftime he was already thinking about Florida State next week.

So what does this do for the Gators in the polls? Honestly, not much. Despite putting a 70-burger on the Bulldogs and continuing to destroy every opponent they face, the Citadel game actually hurt Florida's strength of schedule. It didn't help that Ole Miss, the bug of the SEC, took down LSU - who is gaspiping the end of this season and hurting the Florida strength of schedule. It does help Florida in that the team that beat them nearly beat #1 Alabama (losing by 4), beat Florida, and now took down a ranked team in LSU. Ole Miss may actually be a ranked team by next week, making the Gator upset all the more legitimate. Florida was also helped by Florida State's dominant victory over a ranked Maryland team, which may allow the Noles to climb back into to top 25 before the Gators head to Tallahassee. Of course, Oklahoma's demolition of #2 Texas Tech has sent the Big 12 in to disarray, it will be interesting to see how the BCS rankings realign. Will Oklahoma jump both Florida and Texas? Will Texas, who had a bye week, move up to #2, Oklahoma #3, and Florida staying at #4? Or will it be #1 Alabama, #2 Florida, #3 Oklahoma, #4 Texas? As I said, its going to be interesting. One thing is certain, the BCS will not have a non-conference champion play for the BCS title. So you will see the champion of the Big 12 face the Champion of the SEC...barring some awful chicanery that may cause a congressional investigation into the BCS.

In any event, no Gator fan cares about anything this week but making Florida State look like the Citadel on Saturday.

1 comment:

The Bull Gator said...

Very happy to see Emmanuel Moody playing so well lately. The Gators need him between the tackles. He is just a talented as advertised.