Florida Gators Drop 3 Spots In Both Polls; Now At No. 11 In AP And No. 8 In Coaches

You attempted to guess where the Florida Gators would end up in the latest AP and USA Today Coaches polls and you may have been half right. Or you may have been half wrong. Depending on your general outlook on life. That whole glass half empty, glass half full thing.

Billy Donovan - Florida Gators

My guess was that the Gators would fall into the No. 9 slot in both polls if No. 4 Michigan had defeated No. 9/10 Michigan State. The Wolverines did their job, but the accurate fall only occurred in one of the polls. Florida did indeed fall to No. 9 in the Coaches Poll, but the Gators drop was a harder one in the AP’s version. The orange and blue came in at No. 11 according to the media. Just outside of the top 10 we so highly value for reasons we really can’t explain and don’t really understand.

While I can’t (and won’t) put up an argument for the No. 11 ranking, I do wonder what impressed the AP so much about Kansas State to give them a five-spot jump. That said, the Gators lost to the Wildcats earlier in the season, so I can’t even argue that. The more that I think about it, the more I come to the realization that No. 11 may just be right. While Florida has been up and down in recent weeks, Kansas State has won five in a row.

The polls did agree on one thing–the Gators were three spots worse than they were just one week ago. Florida fell those three spots in each. It seems not so long ago that the Gators were the No. 2 team in the nation because it wasn’t. Just three weeks.

The Gators have an opportunity to gain those spots back as the regular season approaches its end. Florida closes with games against Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Two wins should put the Gators firmly in the top 10 of both polls heading into the SEC Tournament.

Kansas State Wildcats 67 – Florida Gators 61: Dead Streaks Kill Gators Again

In the loss to the Arizona Wildcats, the Florida Gators had four minutes that determined the fate of the game. On Saturday night, the Gators doubled that to eight minutes, during which the Kansas State Wildcats took control and secured the 67-61 victory.

Florida Gators - Kansas State Wildcats

This is nothing new for Florida basketball. For as long as Billy Donovan has been the head coach of the Gators, we’ve seen Florida teams go through worrisome stretches that have led to tough losses. That’s not to say Donovan should be drug out of his office kicking and screaming and dumped in the middle of Paynes Prairie–after all, the man can coach–but it’s an observation of a situation that keeps appearing and leading to painful defeats.

Here are two such dead streaks that contributed to the Gators’ second loss of the 2012-13 season:

First Half, 7:55 – Scottie Wilbekin makes a free throw and the Gators go up 19-17. Florida wouldn’t score again for more than three minutes. During that stretch, Kansas State would take the lead and push it to 26-19.

Second Half, 9:15 – Wilbekin makes a layup to bring the Gators to within three. The Wildcats lead 50-47. Florida would go almost five minutes without scoring, during which Kansas State would go up 57-47.

Eight minutes of scoreless basketball for the Gators led to the six-point loss. Kansas State outscored Florida 16-0 during those stretches, or more than they needed to win the game. Not quite as heartbreaking as the one-point loss to Arizona, but still disappointing for the No. 8/9 team.

Senior guard Mike Rosario fell flat after leading the team in a big win over Southeastern Louisiana. Fellow senior guard Kenny Boynton wasn’t much better, shooting less than 40% from the field. Combine them with junior guard Scottie Wilbekin and the trio went 10-for-31 from the field and 2-for-12 from behind the arc. While junior center Patric Young had a night to remember, everyone else had an outing to forget.

The loss puts the Gators at 8-2 with two losses on the road that will be remembered come NCAA Tournament selection time. Let’s be clear, Florida is a tourney-bound team, but losses like these impact seeding. It’s not the end of the world, or even the end of the season, but a second loss in three games and 12 cumulative minutes of nothing.

Florida Gators Vs. Kansas State Wildcats: We Got Ourselves A Bit Of A Challenge Ahead

Not many better ways I can think to kick off a long vacation than with a premier college basketball matchup. Okay, so a premier college football matchup would rank slightly higher on my list, but the Florida Gators heading to Kansas City, MO to face the Kansas State Wildcats will more than do.

Mike Rosario - Florida Gators

On Saturday night, the Gators and Wildcats will play in what is being referred to as a neutral site game. I would laugh at that, but the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is widely considered a neutral site as well. Although, Google Maps would tell us Gainesville, FL is 1,133 miles from Kansas City, while Manhattan, KS is a mere 121 miles away. Still, neither of these teams calls K.C. its home, so neutral it is. And that’s more than enough about a neutral site that might not really be a neutral site.

We have officially entered the time of year when we start our shift from college football to college basketball. The Gators’ football team last played on November 24 (WOO HOO!!! WE BEAT FLORIDA STATE!!!) (Sorry.) (No, I’m not.). The basketball team has played four times since then and will play twice more before the football team takes the field in the Sugar Bowl. That would indicate our focus had already begun to shift and, yes, it has.

The 8-1 Gators come into Saturday’s game ranked No. 8/9. The Wildcats aren’t ranked, but at 8-2 aren’t far from the top of the Big 12 standings. Both teams have a lot to play for. For Florida, a chance to get a win against a solid opponent and put the loss to No. 4/5 Arizona even further behind them. For Kansas State, a chance to knock of a team that may be among this season’s elite. Just one week ago, the Gators were a top-5 team. They may get there again and because of that it would be a monumental win for the Wildcats early in the 2012-13 season.

But it would also be a telling one for the Gators. Florida had dominated opponents before it lost to ‘Zona. A 13-point victory over UCF was as close as anyone had come. After the loss to the other Wildcats, the Gators rebounded nicely with a big win over Southeastern Louisiana, but how much did that game teach us? Or better yet, how much did it teach Florida? Well, it taught them that when senior guard Kenny Boynton is off, someone needs to step up. That someone was fellow senior guard Mike Rosario. If Boynton finds himself off his game again, who will it be against the Wildcats.

Enjoy this one; the Gators only play twice over the next 15 days. It’s one of only three left before SEC play begins. The Gators need a win more than it might seem.

The Full Week 7 College Football BlogPoll: Where The Florida Gators Go Up, But There First-Place Votes Go Down

Monday, my ballot. Today, the full Week 7 SB Nation College Football BlogPoll.

College Football Rankings 2011

Results for Week 7

# School Points/blog SD Delta
1 Alabama Crimson Tide (62) 24.64 0.84
2 Oregon Ducks (3) 23.32 2.15
3 Florida Gators (5) 22.51 1.40 Arrow_up 2
4 Kansas St. Wildcats (1) 21.99 1.36 Arrow_up 2
5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4) 21.30 1.81 Arrow_up 2
6 LSU Tigers 18.41 2.62 Arrow_up 3
7 South Carolina Gamecocks 17.05 2.44 Arrow_down -4
8 Oregon St. Beavers 16.89 3.84 Arrow_up 2
9 Oklahoma Sooners 16.18 3.44 Arrow_up 5
10 Ohio St. Buckeyes (1) 16.05 5.49 Arrow_down -2
11 Florida St. Seminoles 13.70 3.69
12 USC Trojans 13.09 4.69
13 Georgia Bulldogs 11.82 3.12
14 Mississippi St. Bulldogs 10.21 3.80 Arrow_up 5
15 Louisville Cardinals 9.88 3.84 Arrow_up 3
16 Clemson Tigers 9.49 4.56
17 West Virginia Mountaineers 9.29 3.46 Arrow_down -13
18 Texas Tech Red Raiders 8.32 4.52 Arrow_up 13
19 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 7.33 3.61 Arrow_up 1
20 Texas A&M Aggies 6.36 3.70 Arrow_up 4
21 Cincinnati Bearcats 6.24 3.87
22 Stanford Cardinal 4.83 4.42 Arrow_down -5
23 Ohio Bobcats 3.96 4.92
24 TCU Horned Frogs 2.11 2.61 Arrow_up 4
25 Michigan Wolverines 1.76 2.58 Arrow_up 4
Others Receiving Votes: Boise St. Broncos | Arizona St. Sun Devils | Iowa St. Cyclones | Louisiana Tech Bulldogs | Northwestern Wildcats | Nevada Wolf Pack | Texas Longhorns | Tulsa Golden Hurricane | Northern Illinois Huskies | Toledo Rockets | North Carolina Tar Heels | UCLA Bruins | Wisconsin Badgers | Virginia Tech Hokies | Western Kentucky Hilltoppers | Penn St. Nittany Lions | Nebraska Cornhuskers | Ball St. Cardinals | Utah State Aggies | Kent St. Golden Flashes
Updated: Oct 16, 2012 9:30 AM EDT

A few points:

• The Florida Gators lost four first-place votes, but moved up two spots. Basically, less believe the Gators are the nation’s top team, but more believe they should be near that No. 1 spot. It really came down to South Carolina and West Virginia losing. The two dropped and the Gators started their climb.

• Alabama is the overwhelming No. 1, as expected. Both Oregon and Florida received first-place votes, along with Kansas State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. I’m assuming the Buckeyes ranking didn’t take their defense into account.

• LSU is the top one-loss team, but I disagree. The Tigers’ win over the Gamecocks’ was impressive and a check in the positives column. Their three outings before that showed that they may not be as good as many want to believe. I put them back in my top 10, but I’m not thinking this is an elite LSU team. I could see them losing again before all is said and done.

• Texas Tech one spot below West Virginia? Nope. That’s wrong. That wasn’t an upset, it was a destructive blowout. Plus, the Red Raiders one loss is to Oklahoma, who has one loss to Kansas State. Texas Tech deserves to be the higher team.

• Stanford belongs, but two losses already hurts. Especially when one of those losses isn’t to USC.

The Bull Gator Week 9 BlogPoll Top 25

Plenty of movement this week as we lost a few among the ranks of the undefeated. It starts to get interesting now with few left with no losses. LSU and Alabama will play each other, so another will fall soon, giving any of those next few in line a chance to move into the top two.

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

The Bull Gator Ballot – Week 9

Rank Team Delta
1 LSU Tigers Arrow_up 1
2 Alabama Crimson Tide Arrow_down -1
3 Oklahoma St. Cowboys Arrow_up 2
4 Stanford Cardinal Arrow_up 2
5 Boise St. Broncos Arrow_up 2
6 Clemson Tigers Arrow_up 3
7 Kansas St. Wildcats Arrow_up 4
8 Oregon Ducks
9 Houston Cougars Arrow_up 5
10 Arkansas Razorbacks
11 Michigan St. Spartans Arrow_up 7
12 Wisconsin Badgers Arrow_down -8
13 Nebraska Cornhuskers
14 Oklahoma Sooners Arrow_down -11
15 Penn St. Nittany Lions Arrow_up 1
16 South Carolina Gamecocks Arrow_down -1
17 Virginia Tech Hokies
18 Michigan Wolverines Arrow_up 1
19 USC Trojans
20 Texas A&M Aggies Arrow_up 3
21 Georgia Bulldogs
22 Texas Tech Red Raiders
23 Texas Longhorns
24 Arizona St. Sun Devils
25 Cincinnati Bearcats
Dropouts: West Virginia Mountaineers, Washington Huskies, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Illinois Fighting Illini, Auburn Tigers, SMU Mustangs
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »

Andre Debose And Matt Patchan Cleared To Play

File this under News We Already Know. Doing some cleanup after a quick vacation and an ongoing bug that is doing it’s best to destroy any enjoyment I might have in life.
There you have it. You can go ahead and wipe the sweat off of your brow and let out a sigh of relief. Andre Debose and Matt Patchan have been cleared to play. To read the full quote from the University of Florida, check out Alligator Army, but here’s the basic idea: there are no eligibility issues with either player. Both can play, so says the NCAA (hey, it’s Friday, I don’t apologize for a rhyme here and there).
This is great news for Florida, but continues to be bad news for Miami. The NCAA was quick to inform Florida, Georgia, and Kansas State of the eligibility of Debose, Patchan, Orson Charles, and Bryce Brown. What does that mean for the Hurricanes? It means they’re the focus of the investigation and will be the program on the NCAA’s radar for now.
Be happy the two Gators mentioned have been cleared, but continue to be amazed with the state of college football.

Is LSU’s Les Miles Lucky Or Bold?

Les Miles pregame

Many will claim LSU head coach Les Miles is lucky more often than not. The ball bounces his way, a freak penalty bails him out, or the football gods give him the opportunity to weasel his way out of whatever blunder he has just committed. This luck led to the 11-2 record the Tigers posted in 2010 and is the reason LSU is again picked to be a force in the SEC in 2011, they would say. But is it really luck?
Team Speed Kills – SB Nation’s SEC football blog – explores Miles’ luck and more specifically the fake field goal against Florida that led to the Tigers win at The Swamp in 2010. After examining it and similar calls against South Carolina in 2007 and Kansas State while Miles was at Oklahoma State in 2003, Team Speed Kills comes to the conclusion that it may not be luck guiding Miles’ hand. It may be bold play calling. Miles knows there’s a risk with making that call, but there’s a risk with deciding to go for the first down the traditional way as well.
So what say you? Is Miles lucky? Is he bold? Or is he a little bit of both? In his six seasons at LSU, he has never produced less than eight wins and has had 11 or more four times. Winning 62 games in six seasons can’t all be attributed to a rabbit’s foot.

Monday, Not the Best Day for the Florida Gators

GAINESVILLE, FL - APRIL 18: A fan of the University of Florida Gators watches play during the spring football Orange and Blue game April 18, 2009 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

We learned a lot on Monday that we didn’t want to know.  Things that we’d rather not have knowledge of.  We were going along fine.  There were no new commitments for the Florida football team, but there wasn’t horrible news either.  Ryan Shazier decommitted and as much as it hurt, it wasn’t a body blow.  The news that Kelvin Benjamin was putting off his announcement to come see Gainesville in January tipped the scales to the positive side.  The basketball team had defeated a highly-ranked Kansas State squad over the weekend.  Despite the Wildcats playing an absolutely miserable game, a win is a win.  Things weren’t great, but they were good enough.  And then Monday happened.
Recruiting took a double hit in the forms of Timmy Jernigan and Nick Waisome.  Jernigan announced his final three and the Gators weren’t on the list.  The superstar defensive tackle will be selecting between Alabama, FSU, and LSU.  No Florida in sight.  For quite some time, there were rumors that Jernigan would have a hard time qualifying academically at Florida, but through it all he seemed to want to be a Gator more than anything.  Then the news came that he wouldn’t wear the orange and blue of Florida, but would instead end up at one of the school’s biggest rivals.  The Gators have pulled in more than their share of top defensive tackles in the last few years, but will miss out on Jernigan.
For Waisome, it was about uncertainty.  In making the switch to FSU, Waisome knows exactly who will be coaching him.  The defensive back had been committed to Florida for a while now, but not knowing who his position coach would be weighed on him heavily.  He wants to be an early enrollee, but can’t in good conscience do so without Florida’s assistants in place.  You really can’t blame him if that’s one of the main reasons for the switch, but it’s big to lose someone who seemed so pro-Gator throughout the recruiting cycle.  Someone that had talked to other prospects about joining him in Gainesville.
Both Jernigan and Waisome may be prime examples that there are many different reasons that prospects choose schools.  For all those that said “Florida is still Florida” after Urban Meyer stepped down, there are just as many that committed to the coach and not necessarily the school.  It’s a hard reality to accept, but there are those that wanted to play for Meyer (or in Jeoffrey Pagan’s case, Dan McCarney).  To those, the coach outweighed the school.  With a new head coach in place, the Gators may need to hope for some of the opposite out of other recruits.
Not to be outdone, the basketball program had a letdown of its own on Monday.  After beating Kansas State and making their way back into the polls, the Gators fell to Jacksonville 71-68.  The Dolphins aren’t an awful team, but they also aren’t one Florida should lose to.  The season had started well enough for the Gators.  A loss to Ohio State, although not wanted, could have been expected and UCF is a much better team than many give them credit for.  But Jacksonville shouldn’t be able to come into Gainesville and knock off Florida.  The game highlighted the issues the Gators still have, mainly poor three-point shooting, turnovers, and ill-advised shot selection.  Florida can be a solid team and compete with most opponents, but after Monday many questions remain.
It’s still early on Tuesday.  Early enough for some good news to come to make Monday nothing but a memory.  Hopefully the good will come quick.  Recruiting joys, the hiring of assistant coaches, a basketball victory on Wednesday.  There are plenty of things that can turn the tides, but it may be hard to get the taste of Monday out of our mouths.  There will surely be worse days for Florida in the future, but we’ll take the better days more often.

Morning Reading: Expansion Not as Big as Once Thought

It’s all over.  The dust has settled.  There may still be a ripple or two in the water, but the big name is staying where it is.  Texas will remain in the Big 12.  The program that everyone believed would make the biggest impact when deciding on its new home, didn’t end up leaving.  Not to the Big Ten.  Not to the Pac-10.  Not even to the SEC.  The Longhorns didn’t budge.
Despite losing Colorado and Nebraska, the Big 12 remained strong by keeping the Longhorns, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M (despite flirtations with the SEC).  What’s of interest now is if the conference sticks with 10 teams or decides to get its way back to 12.
The Big 12 South remains one of the stronger divisions in college football.  The Big 12 North?  Let’s stay polite and just go with “not so much.”  Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, and Missouri.  That’s it for now.  So what does the Big 12 do?  Go after other teams or ditch the division format?  10 or 12 teams, something has to change.
The Big 12 doesn’t want to drop a championship game so getting back to 12 teams is certainly something to consider.  TCUBYUUtah.  Possibly even Boise State (Mountain West or not).  There are plenty of possibilities that might not make the loss of the Buffaloes and Cornhuskers all that bad.
Then there’s the thought of moving forward with just 10 teams, which the Big 12 seems like it might be okay with.  Less teams – the ones that wanted to stick around – means not as many to split the revenues among.  Due to unequal revenue sharing, the big dogs take home the lion’s share and they may not want to give any up.  While the Big Ten may have just become the Big 12, the Big 12 may have in turn become the Big Ten.
Through all of this the conference did lose two programs.  The 10 that remain keep the Big 12 among the nation’s elite, but the new number isn’t enough.  The Big 12 needs to become the Big 12 again.

The Long Snapper (6/9/10)

College football.  Quick and to the point.
Tim Tebow provided his latest boost to the Rocky Mountain Gator Club.  Typically getting together on Saturdays to watch Florida play, the club will now be meeting on Sundays as well.  With fan favorite Tebow joining the Denver Broncos, the club has a reason to digest football throughout the entire weekend.  Although he might not get the number of snaps members of the club would like to see, they remain Gator fans first and therefore will be cheering feverishly every time #15 enters the game on third and short.  And those of us not living in Colorado will be doing so as well.  (H/T: One Eyed Willy)
The SEC has yet to decide if it will make a move in the expansion wars.  Or at least has yet to reveal what that move might be.  Although the SEC could sit tight and be perfectly comfortable with doing so, you have to think their mulling over their options.  TexasTexas A&MVirginia TechFSUMiami.  All are possibilities.  I can’t imagine the SEC sitting back and watching everything unfold.  There will be a move of some kind made, whether it involves the conference expanding or not.  Something will be done to keep the SEC at the top.
Count Kansas among the institutions that don’t want expansion of any kind to occur.  There’s a very good chance the Jayhawks will be the girl that doesn’t get invited to prom along with instate rival Kansas State.  Both universities would like it very much if the Big 12 remained intact and moved forward together.  Kansas has already reached out to Nebraska urging them to stay put and will do the same with Missouri.  The Big 12 could have a solid future for itself if it can convince its core to stay together, but this is really about the Jayhawks potential collapse if the conference is raided.  I’m sure Conference USA would be more than happy to add Kansas and their purple rivals to their ranks.
J.R. Reed is getting another chance to continue his football career.  The former USF star safety played in the NFL for five seasons before becoming a defensive graduate assistant with the Bulls last season.  Reed was set to resume that role in 2010 when the Florida Tuskers of the UFL came calling.  He still hopes to return to coaching one day after his playing career comes to an absolute end.