What’s the deal with the SEC! chant?

Now that college football season is over, and FSU won the final BCS Championship, there’s a bit of a college football vacuum to fill. I might as well take a few minutes and explain something that seems to really confuse people outside the SEC: What’s the deal with the “S-E-C! S-E-C!” chant?

The short version

The SEC! chant was a marketing gimmick to get SEC teams more votes and more favorable rankings in the polls, meaning higher BCS rankings and more shots for SEC teams to win the BCS Championship.

The longer version

The BCS era was a transitional regime between simply voting for the national champion and deciding the championship “on the field” with a playoff. It was essentially a two-team playoff whose participants were determined by a computer algorithm that accounted for poll rankings, strength of schedule and some other stuff. The actual algorithm changed often throughout the BCS era as components were dropped, certain polls got more weight, the strength of schedule formula changed, and they made other tweaks here and there. But at its core, the BCS relied very heavily on polls, getting votes, and beating other BCS-ranked teams.

The SEC! chant reminds voters that the SEC is pretty good, so they’ll give SEC teams more votes, leading to higher poll rankings for SEC teams. This has an explicit benefit of nudging SEC teams ahead of non-SEC teams in the polls, and subsequently improving BCS rankings for SEC teams. For the last half of the BCS era, if it came down to a tight race between an SEC team and a non-SEC team in the polls, the SEC team would generally get preference. Sometimes, the preferred team would be a non-UF SEC team, but sometimes it would be UF, and we’d get a shot at a title. So that’s one way it helps UF when UF fans root for the SEC.

There was a nice indirect benefit, too: The BCS formula also included a bump for “quality wins”, so beating a Top 15 BCS team meant a better BCS score, which often meant a better BCS ranking. Most of a football team’s season is played against conference opponents, so if your conference had a lot of BCS-ranked teams, then that was good for your team because there were more “quality win” opportunities available. But if your team was the only BCS-ranked team in its conference, that meant there were no in-conference quality wins available. In this sense, rooting for the SEC was also rooting for UF.

To put a finer point on it, the SEC! chant gave SEC teams a small mathematical edge over non-SEC teams in the BCS formula; since UF is an SEC team, UF got a small piece of that edge. So, at least in the SEC, we could have our cake and eat it too—we could root for our team by rooting for our conference.


The trick with this whole gimmick is the SEC had to show up and actually win games so that the SEC! chant would continue to carry weight. If the SEC had gone to a couple BCS Championship games and lost, the chant would’ve been almost worthless. Of course, the SEC dominated the BCS era with the most appearances of any conference, winning three more BCS Championships than all other conferences combined. So it seems the SEC! chant served its purpose.

The Fair Weather Fan: A triumph of sports marketing

A Fair Weather Fan
A Fair Weather Fan

Illustration by Sean Nyffeler *

Part of the American ethos is that we should love sports, and that we should love particular sports teams. This goes all the way to the top: George W. Bush recently threw out the first pitch at a World Series game, and next March will bring hours of coverage of President Obama’s bracket for March Madness.

A good way to get a funky look is to go to a Chili’s and tell someone you “don’t follow sports.” If you’re lucky, they’ll pity you. If you’re unlucky and they’ve had a few drinks or recently seen their favorite team lose, you could be berated and publicly mocked for your lack of culture or cojonés. If you’re really unlucky, you could be punched in the face or even forced to drink a generic light beer (it’s definitely possible that I’ve been watching too much of The League lately). Only slightly less repulsive than a sports non-follower is the agnostic sports fan. “Who’s your team?” “I don’t really have a team. I just like watching the games.” He probably won’t be berated or flogged, but he’ll almost certainly hear a guffaw or see a smirk.

But among the upper crust of American society, among Die Hard Sports Fans, the most reviled group of fans may be those of the fair weather variety. Not to be confused with bandwagon fans (although they’re not mutually exclusive), the Fair Weather Fan is one who ostensibly “has a team”, but who only roots for his team when it’s doing well. Not winning Super Bowls or World Series rings recently? Then the Fair Weather Fan is nowhere to be found. He’s not off rooting for some other team, he’s just not rooting for his team since they’re no good right now.

To some sports fans, being called a fair weather fan is one of the more flagrant offenses. “I’ve been rooting for this team since they were awful! My father lived and died without ever seeing us win a ring!” He wants you to know that he has suffered. He was there when they were awful. He went to the games. He’s witnessed heartbreak. Repeatedly.

Let’s step back and look at sports objectively, as a product. The not-best way to do this is to create a character who isn’t me, but is a lot like me and speaks in the first person. So I’m going to use this device for a little bit:

It’s Game Day. I go to the stadium, and I pony up $50 to see the game. I pay $5 for a hotdog. I pay $3 for some Gatorade. I pay $5 for some cotton candy because I have a sweet tooth and I can’t not eat sweets when I see them. Sue me, ok? If we win, I’m really happy that I spent $63. But we don’t win. We lose and I’m pissed that I just blew $63 on such a crummy game where I ended up with a nasty stomach ache.

Next week, we’re playing again. Yeah, I blew $63 last week on a loss and a stomach ache, but you know what? I’m going again because I’m a fan, ok? I put up another $50 for a ticket, and some more for concessions that most children could make with a dollar and some unsupervised time with a stove (No, not an Easy-Bake Oven. You can’t make authentic sports-stadium concessions in that. I’m talking about a real stove, manned by a real child.). We lose again. This one stings because I’m pretty sure some of the cheerleaders got playing time in the second half. I’m not even sure My Team is trying, ya’ dig? Now I’m out $120-something and I’m starting to get an ulcer from all the stress and bad food I’ve been eating. In a moment of clarity, I look at our record for the past two seasons: we have two wins. That doesn’t seem too good. I’m a big fan of My Team and everything, but two wins seems… maybe a little on the weak side?

Ok. We have another game in two weeks. I’ll need to work overtime and do a Miracle Cleanse to get ready for the game, but I can do it. I can get the money together and hopefully my gut will be back to normal by then. But you know what? I’ll be honest here: I’m having second thoughts about this one. I’m not sure I want to spend a bunch of money on a game we’re probably going to lose. I haven’t even talked about how I have to spend the whole day getting ready for the game, going to the game, getting home from the game. It’s a big investment, and I’m just not sure I want to make that investment again right now. Maybe if we were winning these games, but man we’re losing almost every game.

Why are you shouting at me? I think you just got some spit in my eye. You seem pretty worked up. Are you ok? What does that giant vein in your forehead mean? I’m just trying to explain what’s going through my head as I decide whether I want to go to this next game.

So that poor guy (who, like I said, isn’t me at all) just got chewed out for not being excited to pony up $60 to go see his favorite sports team lose again. That fella is dangerously close to sliding down the slippery slope that is Fair Weather Fandom, which is probably really miserable even when compared to the Island of Misfit Toys or the infamous Ugly Island.

Here’s the thing about fair weather fans: they may be much smarter than full-time, rain-or-shine, been-there-through-the-hard-times fans. You want efficiency? They are it. We’d never know that by listening to sports commentators or reading sports writers or talking to our other sports-fan friends. Still, it’s true.

Sports aren’t manna from Heaven. They aren’t a gift from God or Goodell. They’re products produced by businesses to make money. They’re products we buy. They’re products used to sell other products. We pay for them, we consume them.

Most of the time, we’re very discerning about how we spend our money. If we buy something and it sucks, we don’t buy it again. Or maybe we buy it just on more time to make sure it really was that bad. But that’s it. If it’s bad again, we’re done buying that thing. Unless it’s a ticket to a sporting event. In that case, we proudly buy our ticket and tell our friends that we were there through the lean times. It’s a badge of honor to tell stories about going to the games we were guaranteed to lose. “I went to every single game in 1975. We didn’t even have a quarterback that year, and our team’s contract stated they weren’t allowed to play more than one series in the second half!” That guy was really dedicated to wasting a bunch of time and money on something.

When fans decide their Favorite Sports Team sucks and they’re not going to keep spending money and time watching them suck, it isn’t the fans that are broken. The product is broken. It’s ok to make a rational decision to not waste money to go to games that probably won’t be any fun. That’s the smart thing to do. The more I think about it, the more I think that “Fair Weather Fan” isn’t a scarlet letter, it’s the mark of a rational, thinking person who has better things to do than dump money and time into a company that’s selling an inferior product.

So how did we get here? It’s one thing to point out that being a fair weather fan isn’t as stupid as we’ve made it out to be. But why do we hate fair weather fans? Because sports marketing is just that good. The entire sports industry (the same industry that brought you multi-day draft coverage, dedicated sports news networks, entire panels of people paid to discuss a “fantasy” version of a sport, and wall-to-wall coverage of player-versus-owner business negotiations) has successfully convinced us that we’re not buying a product. Sports are ethereal, a gift sent down from Mount Olympus to entertain man and make his life better. You don’t know who won the NBA Finals in 2005? That’s probably because you’re just not living a very satisfying and complete life. You’re working the full day on Monday? That’s only because your life is terrible and you haven’t found the wonderful world of Monday Night Football. What are you going to talk about on Tuesday? Your life or something? Your kids? That’s so lame, man!

Sure, you have to pay money to go see sports, but that money isn’t buying you a product, it’s buying you an experience. You get to hang with your friends, tailgate, drink yourself sideways, and tell stories the next Monday at work. Sure, there happens to be a team playing on the field, but that’s totally ancillary and almost coincidental. What you’re really buying is an experience, a collective opportunity to create a mass-memory that’s shared by you and everyone else who went to or watched that particular game. The irony, of course, is you could create your own memories for free. No, they wouldn’t be memories (fuzzy as they may be) of tailgating and football games, but they’d be a whole lot cheaper. And yet the geniuses (I’m not even being sarcastic there) who market sports to Americans have convinced us to pay for the privilege of creating memories with our friends, often at crummy sporting events.

Pretty clever, right? I’ve totally cracked the code!

Here’s the real kicker, though: I’ve watched all the Gator Football games this season. I watched some of them by myself at home. I just dropped $50 to go watch the Gators get killed by Alabama in The Swamp, and I might go to the Florida/Georgia game again this year. I’ve been to a lot of Florida sporting events. I’ve probably been to something like 60 football games, an SEC Championship game, some bowl games, dozens of Gator Basketball games, a Final Four and even some Florida baseball games. I don’t even like baseball. One year, I traveled back to Gainesville from Dallas just to watch the Gators in the Final Four with my friends… on TV! Why? I was making memories and stuff, but I also don’t want to be called a fair weather fan. I don’t really want to go watch us lose games when we’re bad (and we’re bad at football this year), but I don’t want to miss anything either. I’m fully aware that the idea of the Fair Weather Fan is totally manufactured and contrived, and yet I still don’t want to be called a fair weather fan. That’s totally nuts. The Fair Weather Fan really is a triumph of sports marketing; it transcends all reason and rationality.

But it is what it is, and I can’t wait for the Gator Basketball season to get started. You know we’re ranked Pre-season #10, right? We could be pretty good this year.

* Special thanks to Sean Nyffeler for his great illustration. You should read his stuff over at Popcorn Noises.

Need a story? Blame the refs!

Full disclosure: I’m a psychotic Florida Football fan. I spent almost six years as an undergrad at UF, and I’m there now working on my MBA. I may be biased. But so is everyone else who follows or reports on sports, so I’m not alone. In this article, I will try to be as objective and rational as possible, which means I won’t be trying to write this during any Gator games.

As always, the sports world has been awash in controversy and conspiracy theories this year. After all, who would watch ESPN if it were just a bunch of talking heads reporting scores that could be found freely on the web? Sports journalists’ jobs are to report facts and generate buzz. Buzz generates viewers. Viewers help generate revenue. And while I think that business model is fine, I think maybe sports journalists should be held to a higher standard than they currently are.

True, sports journalists aren’t typically reporting on significant world events — tragedies, politics, technological and medical breakthroughs, etc. — but, as with mainstream journalism, what they report can have real-world consequences. Usually, those consequences can be measured in dollars, and sometimes they can be measured in affected lives. But even without measuring the effects of what sports journalists report, I think it’s important that they report truth (or what they know to be true) and that they do their due diligence and find some evidence to support what they’re “reporting”.

Do Florida and Alabama get all the calls?

“There’s a conspiracy to get Florida and Alabama into the National Title game!” This statement has been made both explicitly and implicitly by many over the past several months. Mike Wilbon very, very strongly implied it. I think he stopped short of actually saying, “There’s a conspiracy theory.” when Tony asked him point-blank if that’s what he thought. Ultimately, Mike fell back on claiming there’s an “environment” that is cultivated that causes this stuff to happen. Other bloggers and sports media personalities have alluded to it as well. And, true, these people aren’t “journalists” per se, but they’re sort of the cyclists of the car-and-pedestrian world: they get all the privileges of being journalists, but don’t have to follow any of the rules.

The mostly commonly cited indicator of the alleged conspiracy is that Florida and Alabama “get all the calls” in order to give them an edge against their opponents. In other words, the refs are either blowing calls, or making the wrong calls in order to give Florida an edge. I have yet to see any real evidence to support this claim. And yet the claim itself could have some very real consequences for people. For example, the refs for the Arkansas vs. UF and LSU vs. UGA games were suspended after the LSU vs. UGA game. That means they didn’t get paid. And it means their reputations have taken a hit. And it means their careers as refs could be shortened substantially. After all, if they’re trying to rig games, they’re responsible for defrauding a LOT of people, and they’ll likely end up in jail like Tim Donaghy. So, they’ve given up quite a bit to get UF and Alabama into the BCS Championship game picture, haven’t they? And what have they gained by giving up all that? Nothing that I can think of. It seems like the only possible compensation they might’ve received for assuming all that risk is cash. But where’s the paper trail? In the end, I think the onus is on the conspiracy theorists to gather some kind of evidence to back up their claims. Without any evidence, it’s just speculation. And that’s not “reporting”, is it? Even sports journalists are responsible for following some kind of “good reporting standard”, aren’t they?

Statistics is 99% certain it knows the answer

Let’s take a look at some rudimentary analysis of the claim that Florida and Alabama “get all the calls” to help them win games.

It’s actually really easy to see who’s getting all the calls in the Florida and Alabama match-ups this season. I did some basic statistical analysis of the penalties called against Florida and Alabama relative to their respective opponents. I looked at total number of penalties called against, and total penalty yards assessed against each team. Here are the numbers (all of these are averages) through the end of the regular season:

UF: 6.5 penalties called against for 49.5 yards per game.

UF Opponents: 6.17 penalties called against for 50.17 yards per game.

Alabama: 5.25 penalties called against for 46.25 yards per game.

Alabama Opponents: 6.08 penalties called against for 51.33 yards per game.

So, on average UF is flagged .33 fewer times per game and is penalized .67 yards fewer per game. And, on average Alabama draws .83 fewer flags per game and is penalized 5.08 yards fewer per game.

It turns out that these differences are not statistically significant. Specifically, we I can say that I’m 99% confident that neither UF nor Alabama have fewer penalties and yards assessed per game than their respective opponents due to real world factors such as bias or skill.

I’ve been running the numbers for both teams every week since Week 6 of the season, and there has never been a statistically significant difference between either UF or Alabama and their respective opponents with respect to aggregate number of penalties and yards called against.

Ultimately, I think there are two factors at play here: first, the media feels compelled to generate stories; second, there is some observer bias and that is clouding the media’s judgment. I don’t think my first factor really needs any explanation. It’s pretty obvious that the media in general, and specifically the sports media, thrive on controversy, tragedy, intrigue, etc. They actively look for these types of stories and, occasionally, they manufacture them to keep viewers interested. But the second one isn’t explored very often. For example, after the Arkansas vs. UF game, there were many cries of conspiracy to get UF into the Championship game. But where were the cries when the refs blew four big calls in the Tennessee vs. UF game earlier in the year? That game was close all the way (at least on the scoreboard), and the refs called an excessive celebration penalty against Florida that they didn’t call in a similar situation against UT later, and they wrongly called intentional grounding against Florida and totally blew an obvious intentional grounding call against Tennessee later. But those plays are never mentioned when the conspiracy theories are being discussed. Only plays that support the theorists’ hypothesis are discussed.

Ten weeks later…

Remember that time when I said I was going to try and make a substantive post every two weeks? Me neither.

So, here’s what’s been up since my last post:

Well, obviously, we’re more than SEC Champs these days. Since we whooped up on OSU, we’ve become the first school to hold both the basketball and football National Titles in the same calendar year. I don’t have much to say about that except that it’s great to be a Florida Gator. Oh, and I feel we’re a strong favorite to repeat in basketball… and look out for us in football next year.

Speaking of next year’s football team, it looks like Urban Meyer is a recruiting genius. But we don’t have a chance next year because we’re losing so much on defense, right? I don’t think so. I think our defense was great this year because we had a lot of talent, but also because we were so well coached. I think after spring practice and our first couple games this fall, we’ll be back on track. Also, our schedule is much more favorable this year and our offense is going to put up some serious numbers. I think our coaches will have the defense ready (though maybe not quite as good as last year), and our offense is going to put up better numbers this year. I think this year’s offense will make last year’s look pretty timid.

Moving on, um… I’ve been reading a lot. I recently finished reading Tipping Point. It was excellent, and it helped me have a new perspective on causality. It was interesting to get a better picture of what can make things “tip”. Here’s the analogy that comes to mind for describing what a “tipping point” is: Paper burns at 451 degrees Fahrenheit; it doesn’t burn at 450 degrees (in theory, or whatever). It’s not that 450 degrees isn’t hot, but that 450 degrees isn’t hot enough to cause the paper to burn – to tip. At 450 degrees, the paper is just hot; at 451 degrees, everything is on fire. But there’s not much difference between the two numbers. That one degree is just enough, in addition to the previous 450 degrees, to make a bunch of stuff happen and finally catch the paper on fire. And so it is with social epidemics – things will often be going on as they always have, and then some small thing suddenly causes those things to become something bigger and much more obvious. The book basically tries to break down the individual factors that contribute to something reaching its tipping point.

I am currently reading Fast Food Nation, which is pretty boring, but educational. I guess I’m learning a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in the “food industry”. The book goes through a brief history of “fast food”, then goes into the specifics of where most of that food is produced, who produces it and how very evil the whole process and industry is. Ironically, I keep finding myself craving a good hamburger while I read it. That ain’t right.

I’ve had a good run playing poker online recently. I spent some time working on my cash game, had a really, really good run, then took a break when the law of averages roundhoused me in the face (but still ran at about 5BB/100 hands for about 5K hands). I jumped back into MTTs and recently had a pretty big score in a $30 tournament. There were 113 people and I took 2nd for $678. Normally, I’d be very pleased with that finish except I battled back from a 2-to-1 chip deficit to a 10-to-1 chip lead (over about 25 minutes of solid heads-up play)… but then I lost a coinflip (AKs vs. TT), a 70-30 (King high vs. QQ), then lost another coinflip (all-in on a QTx flop with two hearts – I had KJo, he had 8h7h and flushed the turn). By the time all that was over, the blinds were so high we were just gambling. I lost one more flip and that was it.

Anyway, I’ve been to Jacksonville several times over the past couple months and I’ve enjoyed being able to get home so easily. I’ve seen my family several times and I’ve spent time with some friends too. It’s nice to be able to head up to Jax whenever I want, and it’s especially nice that I don’t have to burn vacation time or like $500 a trip. As I think back on my time in Dallas, it really seems like it was just an extended internship or something. I never really felt “at home” there, and I was always in a “wait and see” mode. I knew I’d either move west to pursue acting, or I’d move back east to be near my friends and family. Texas was never really a long-term option, and I’m really glad I ended up back in Florida. It’s hard to describe the overall increase in my quality of life since I moved, but it’s pretty drastic.

I bought a digital piano a few weeks ago. It’s a Kurzweil PC88 and it’s in pretty great shape, especially considering it’s probably 10 years old. I have been surprised how much dexterity I still have, and it’s been fun playing “by ear” instead of just reading sheet music. I can tell my musical ear has definitely matured since I’ve been playing the guitar. It’s nice to be able to just sit down and play something that’s in my head (at least a slimmed-down, easy version). Hopefully I’ll stick with it and become pretty decent.

I think that’s about all I have for now. I’ll try to make it back before April.

Florida Gators: SEC Champs!

I’m still getting used to the idea that we’re playing for the National Championship in a few weeks. It seems as though we’ve been struggling since the second half at Auburn, and yet we’ve done nothing but win since that game. Here are my thoughts on our win over Arkansas in Atlanta last weekend:

  • We had our best offensive showing since LSU. Hopefully we’ve turned a corner and we can take advantage of OSU’s soft defense.
  • The final score didn’t really demonstrate how much we dominated Arkansas. We had four pass interference calls on our defense; two of them kept an Arkansas drive rolling and both of those were terrible calls. Both of those bad calls led to an Arkansas touchdown on the subsequent play. Half of their points were on plays that never should’ve happened.
  • Leak threw two interceptions, but I think both of those were due to Arkansas calling tricky coverage as opposed to Leak making bad decisions. All in all, he played a great game and made good decisions all night.
  • Our freshmen had a really big night, which is good news for us in the Championship game. If they show up in Glendale like they did in Atlanta, we’re going to be a very dangerous team
  • Meyer’s fake punt call was probably a “bad” play call, but I love it from a psychological perspective. Our team had lost momentum and we needed something to happen to change the tone of the game. That play was exactly what we needed and it was a very well designed play.
  • Wilbur is a fantastic punter and he had another good game on Saturday. It was nice to see him make some big plays to win the SEC Championship, help get us into the National Title game and start erasing the memory of the blocked punt at Auburn. It was also hilarious to see him mock Arkansas’ punter at the end of the game.

Now, I just have to see about getting tickets (game and plane) for Glendale. So far, it looks like the trip will cost about $2000 and I’m not sure I want to spend that much money. I’m also not sure I’ll forgive myself if I pass on the game and we win.

Road trips!

Road trip 1: Tonight, for the first time in about three years, I went running (outdoors and everything!). I’ve been doing various cardio exercises–ridin’ the bike, the crazy elliptical thing–for a few years, but I hadn’t gone for a run in a while. It was actually pretty relaxing and wasn’t as tough as I anticipated. I went about 3.3 miles in 30 minutes (nine-minute miles). That ain’t great and it ain’t awful. On the up-side, I did have to run a bit of a hill, so I’ll tell myself that slowed me down a bit.

Road trip 2: Tomorrow night, I’m heading to Atlanta to watch the Gators in the SEC Championship game. When I was a student, we pretty much expected to play for the SEC Title and we were always hoping to get into the National Championship game. Nowadays, playing for the SEC Title is a big deal and I want to be there if we win it. Also, it’s a pretty good excuse to go hang with my friends in Atlanta (I haven’t been since last Christmas). So, I’m leaving right after work tomorrow and I should get there around 10:00 tomorrow night. I’ll be heading back on Sunday afternoon.

Road trip 3: In honor of all the road-tripping, I picked up Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (audio book). I figure it’s just a bonus that Beatniks likely weren’t opposed to partaking of the acid from time to time (of course, that’s speculation based entirely on some stereotype I have for reasons I can’t recall).

Crazy week

About a month ago, I moved out here to work for a small software company. I no longer work for that software company… because we were acquired by a larger, public company. At first, I was a little nervous since I’m the new guy and the new guy is typically the first to go if there’s any kind of reduction in force. But, as I thought it over and spoke with my boss, I realized that I don’t have anything to worry about. First of all, the acquisition has been in the works for a few months, so they would’ve had to incur the cost of hiring me, moving me, etc., all while knowing they could let me go. Obviously, that wouldn’t make very much business sense and since I know the people I work for have a lot of business sense (they did just sell their company for a nice chunk of change, after all), I had to figure they wouldn’t make such a costly mistake. Also, a good friend of mine approached me about working there–I didn’t pursue the company so much as the company pursued me–and I couldn’t see my friend leading me to move out here, only to be canned a month later.

So, after a lot of thought and several excellent meals on my new company’s dime, I’m pretty sure I’m good to go. Really, the best thing is that I know have more career options since I now work for an 800-person company rather than a 40-person company. Before, the only vertical potential was basically my boss’ job, and I don’t think he’s going anywhere for a while. Now, there are several places I can go within the company, and I can probably get there relatively quickly since the company is growing very rapidly.

Florida Football winning, but battling silliness

It’s true that we’ve had some close wins against mediocre teams, and we’ve had some close wins against great teams. Our only loss was a close one to a good Auburn team on the road. I haven’t seen the strength of schedule numbers recently, but I’m guessing our schedule is one of the most difficult. So what I really don’t get is why USC is already being anointed as the one-loss team bound for the National Title game. They lost to an unranked Oregon State and they’ve only beaten two teams who were ranked at the time they played. True, if they win out, they will have played a pretty tough schedule, but they still don’t have to play a conference championship game, and they certainly won’t be playing any Top 5 teams in the next few weeks.

We’ve beaten two ranked teams (one Top 10) and our only loss is to a ranked team. We’ll also likely meet a Top 5 Arkansas in the SEC Championship Game. Another thing to consider is that the quality of opponent in the SEC is just better than that of the PAC-10. We’re a stronger conference, but because our teams play defense, we’re being called weak.

I just needed to get that off my chest. If we win out and don’t play for the title, I think we should offer to switch conferences with USC, Texas or some other “big” team for a season. That would be interesting.

Florida Football limping, sputtering to wins

Well, it’s been several weeks since I posted (I guess I’ll need to be more intentional with finding time to post), and the Auburn game remains our only loss. Our wins haven’t been impressive, but they have been wins, and we’re in the driver’s seat. Although a bye might be nice next week, I think it’s good that we’ll have a tune-up game against Western Carolina. We need to work on our offense and hopefully find some kind of rhythm. Our defense and special teams seem to be just fine. Actually, that’s a pretty big under statement… our defense and special teams are pretty awesome. They’re really the only reason we’ve won games since they just don’t allow other teams to put any points on the board.

I’m pretty tired so it’s time to wrap this up. We’re winning games and possibly en route to a National Championship appearance (thanks to some pretty big upsets today). I’ll take it.

Florida Football shoots self in foot

I’ve been meaning to write about Gator football for several weeks, but I’ve been distracted with changing careers and moving back to Gainesville. Anyway, here’s my assessment of the season so far:

We’re good. Really, really good. Our earlier games showed that we’re a strong team with talent on all sides of the ball (I’m lumping special teams in there, too). We’re tough and able to finish games, we have a very potent offense and our defense is stifling. The Chris Leak, Tim Tebow duo is easily one of the best quarterback rotations in the country right now (and is probably one of the better ones in Florida football history). It’s been really fun to watch this team improve and I think we’re the favorite to win the SEC right now.

All that being said, we stunk in the second half at Auburn. Auburn didn’t outplay us, they didn’t out hustle us, we beat ourselves by making several stupid mistakes. I think the first half showed how good we are and the second half showed how dumb we can be. We were clearly the better team and we just melted down in the second half. They brought more intensity, but we were our biggest enemy. Their offense scored only three points in the second half, but our special teams gave up the winning touchdown.

I could rant about that for a while, but the bottom line is we made several stupid mistakes and it cost us. I think there’s a good chance we’ll play Auburn again in the SEC Championship and we’ll beat them by at least two touchdowns if we do (I feel like the magic number is 17 points, but I’m only predicting two touchdowns).

We coulda’ been a contender. We can still be somebody if we can win in ATL in December.


Texas is good

I figured they were a decent team, but I was blown away by their performance tonight. There’s no doubt that Vince Young is one of the best quarterbacks in the game and he answered all questions about his passing ability tonight.

This year’s Rose Bowl was definitely one of the best football games I’ve seen in a long time.