Florida vs. Vandy, Bowl Eligibility, and Awkward Hashtags

Twitter could be one of the worst things to happen to our society, or one of the best; there is no in-between. It allows us to find out at a moment’s notice that the Florida Gators are no stranger to injury, while also bringing trash talk to a new level. It also accounts for more moments of awkwardness than possibly any other medium, because as a not-so-famous (at the time) actress once said in a movie about another social network “the internet is written in pen, not pencil.” (That may have been paraphrased for reasons having to do with me being too lazy to look it up.)

What did Twitter bring us today? It brought us Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin. Franklin is the motivation type as many coaches are when it comes to Twitter. You won’t find much real talk when it comes to such figures. Instead, it’s all inspirational quotes, motivational sayings, or battle calls to rally the troops. But occasionally awkwardness rears its ugly (and humorous) head.

Put it this way, if you need a disclaimer every time you say something, you should think about saying it in a different way. When “opportunity is now here” quickly becomes “opportunity is nowhere,” it’s time for a new hashtag, even if it is oddly appropriate for the game about to take place this Saturday.

The opportunity for the Gators to secure a bowl berth is now here. That much is true; painfully so. When you’re nine games into the season and need a win against a Vandy team that beat a Georgia team that beat you in hopes of going bowling nowhere better describes things than now here. And that is exactly when we give out yet another large sigh and ugh ourselves into the fetal position. “Opportunity is nowhere, but hey look my vat of beer is now here!”

Opportunity is nowhere because the Gators are 4-4. It’s nowhere because a bowl isn’t a guarantee. It has been too many years since Florida last missed bowl season and too many to even think of a losing record. Opportunity passed us over and moved on to the next man standing. (With Oregon’s loss to Stanford just one night ago, that man may be Florida State. Say it with me again without vomiting just a little in your mouth—“UGH.”)

From that, let’s talk about coaching changes. Wait, no. Let’s not do that. We have plenty of time for that. It seems like the end of the season is fast approaching, but we still have four games to go, meaning we have more than enough time to talk about the fate of Will Muschamp and the rest of the coaching staff. And complain about them and then complain about whoever the Gators replace him with if they do. Is FireTheNextGatorsCoach.com available?

Quick prediction: At least three assistants go, while Muschamp returns for year four.

Let us instead talk about the players. I have a hard time being too hard on the players. Mostly because they are kids and I’m a man in his mid-30s. I also had the pleasure of sitting a few rows in front of a man much older than I who absolutely hates Jeff Driskel and isn’t afraid to let the world know it. That’s fine (free speech and all), but if you have that much of a problem with a college kid playing a game, you should reevaluate the way you choose to live your life. Players perform and players don’t. We can analyze their talents and weaknesses and successes and mistakes to death, but there’s a line. We’ve all come close to that line and even crossed it in the privacy of our inner circle of friends (myself included), but I hope 20 years from now I don’t openly and publicly hate a player as much as this individual despises the Gators former starting quarterback.

Now that I’ve taken us to a different level of moods entirely, back to those players and what they’re playing for. Over the years, I’ve read my share of articles describing the bowl experience and how even a tough season can end on a high note for the players as they go through a bowl week. That’s why as disappointing a 7-6 or 6-7 record with a bowl appearance may be to us fans, I hope the players get to experience it. It doesn’t matter where or when the bowl is, you don’t want your season to completely end in late November.

For Tyler Murphy, I hope he starts at quarterback for the Florida Gators in a bowl game. He was thrust into playing time at a moment’s notice and responding as best he could. The offense he was thrown into had struggled for years before he became its QB. Most thought he would never play much more than a few final minutes of a game here or there. There is no BCS bowl in site for Murphy, no SEC Championship Game to play in, but he should get a bowl. Murphy may only have a few more games left in him as the starting quarterback; I hope one of those is a bowl game. He’ll look back on this season years from now and see the highs and the many lows and one high should be being able to experience a bowl, whatever it is.

For the rest, and they could be singled out, but I’ll spare you that, much of the same applies. We have no idea what 2014 will bring. Staff changes are sure to occur whether they’re few or many. Next season’s offense will take a turn one way or another. It may get better, it may remain stalled, but it will be different. There could be a new coordinator or a new head coach. Either way, 2014 is a new season. The players need to find a reason to finish 2013 before we get there though. Whatever that reason is—passion for the game, heart, self-respect, drive, desire, their teammates—they need to find it. As much as we fans think we need a win, the players truly do need it. I think it’s hard on me to lose and I don’t matter; I’m just a guy with a ticket and a blog.

On the light side, I hope we can laugh tomorrow. The weather should be perfect in Gainesville, so there’s that—78 degrees and no chance of rain. That’s football weather right there. I’ll be there, cheering on the Gators hoping to all hope we beat a Vandy team that has given us a handful of close calls over the years. 5-4 or 4-5 doesn’t seem to matter all that much anymore, but we need something to keep us going another week, so here we go. Go Gators! Just win. #opportunityisnow (You see, James Franklin, simply dropping the “here” makes it all that much better.)

About The Bull Gator

I like orange and blue things.
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13 Responses to Florida vs. Vandy, Bowl Eligibility, and Awkward Hashtags

  1. Big Ed says:

    Wow……it gets worse every week. First time since 1945 Vandy wins in Gainesville………..Muschamp needs to go now. As I said before, waiting another year will delay the inevitable.

    It looks like 5-7 this year? How much better does anyone think they do next year…….

    • debbie hall says:

      I just want to say the players are giving their heart and soul. They didn’t choose their coaching staff. Foley….please give these guys a fighting chance. This was your choice, not their’s.

      • Big Ed says:

        I think I will disagree. Last week the defense showed nothing the final 8 1/2 minutes of the game when it mattered, and this week they could not stop Vandy at all…….Zero coaching……

        • The defense didn’t give up 34 points. Turnovers and bad field position did.

          • Big Ed says:

            Admittedly, turnovers and the bad field position do not help. However, take a step back at look back at the Missouri, Georgia, and Vandy games. Can you really say the defense is a strength? With the three remaining games, is anyone really confident in the defense to coume up big in any of those games, including Georgia Southern? If the defense is so good and if he is such an elite defenaive coordinator, then UF should at least be able to hang with those teams. At least for a while, right?

            Recruiting teenage kids kids is a tough business, and kids flip all of the time. I really hope Mushmouth can keep the offensive guys on board……..

            • No I can’t, but I also can’t say it’s a glaring weakness. The Mizzou game was a disaster all around. Against, Vandy it was the red zone defense. Vandy got the ball with great field position and the defense couldn’t hold them to field goals. However, it’s an entirely different game (any of the losses really) if you have an offense that can move the ball consistently and give the defense breaks and better starting position. You can have the nation’s best D and if the offense can’t do anything, they are going to break.

              Even during the Ravens first Super Bowl run or when the Bucs won it all, they had offenses that were serviceable. They were far from great, but they we far from awful too. That helped the defense.

              Eventually, with no offense, the entire team on both sides of the ball breaks down.

            • As for offensive recruits, Grier seems good to go. He has said several times that he’s all in and can’t wait to get to Gainesville in a few weeks. The actual worry with him was that he would look elsewhere if Muschamp was gone.

              Cook seems 100% too, but people are still a little concerned about him. Most think in the end he’s a Gator, but there could be some nervousness there.

  2. Big Ed says:

    Pretty quiet here on this site. But I guess that is expected, as apathy abounds around this program. And that in itself is very telling…..

    Hopefully Foley is going through his list……….

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