The crisp, chilly weather in Gainesville helped supply Florida fans with infinite energy Saturday morning and afternoon. Gator Nation is always excited on game days, but there was a different sort of contagious emotion circulating throughout the streets and lingering into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Timmy's last game.
Girls with their, "Marry Me, Tebow" signs flooded the sidewalks. Grown men wearing black eye-patches with biblical scripture written on them brought a tear to my eye. It was laughter, but a tear nonetheless. Profanity, followed by loud chants of, "Gator bait" echoed while Florida State fans bravely walked by the hordes of UF students. Pabst Blue Ribbon overflowed garbage cans, spilling out into the streets.
So, did Urban Meyer call the dogs off against the 'Noles? Does Meyer know something we don't?
After rewatching the game, I'd honestly have to say yes on both counts.
I'm not sure if Meyer was trying to show the absent-minded Bobby Bowden compassion, but it certainly looked that way. The Gators could have easily won that game by 40, but the play-calling, on offense and defense, became very vanilla and conservative. Meyer has always been an advocate of breaking necks when your foot's on your opponent's throat, so why stop now? Why not annihilate and humiliate your in-state rival and send them away broken and disgraced?
I'm thinking Urban knows this is it for Bobby. You embarrass your enemies. Not legends.
Rumors have been circulating for some time about Bowden's departure and even recently a Florida State recruit spilled some beans by mentioning on a trip to Tallahassee that FSU will be switching to a 3-4 defense next season. To me, that means Jimbo Fisher has the reigns, but where does that leave Bobby? It's been mentioned that the aging coach will stay on as a consultant, but he has dismissed the idea. We'll actually know more by the end of today since Bowden is meeting with FSU's president, athletic director, and boosters.
Key notes from the game on both squads: Florida State sophomore linebacker, Nigel Bradham, has improved dramatically throughout the season. He'll be someone to watch out for next year. Bradham was the only 'Nole on defense to actually show signs of life.
Riley Cooper loves to catch the tough passes and drop the easy ones. Not exactly what you want out of an outfielder, but I wish that young man much luck in his future with baseball. He's from 20 minutes down the street from me and I like to cheer on the local guy.
Aaron Hernandez is a punk. He reminds me of a certain UM punk that acted the same way in college, and is now playing for the Bucs. Hell of a talent, but has a ton of growing up to do.
EJ Manuel will get it together. Some FSU fans are nervous about the young signal caller, but Manuel is a very bright, athletic kid. Fisher did wonders for Ponder and he wasn't nearly recruited the way EJ was.
I did not catch the USF v UM game, but I heard Miami just out-manned and beat down the boys from Tampa. Still think you're part of a "Big 4?"
With all of that said, I'm actually going to go out on a limb here and pick against the Gators in the SEC Championship game. It feels like a season of destiny for Florida and they've certainly got the wins to prove it. This will be an absolute brawl 'til the clock hits zero. 'Bama beats UF in a close game.
And because the ACC Championship game is in Tampa, I'll make a little prediction too. Clemson upsets Georgia Tech.
Should be a great weekend of college football. Enjoy!