Gator Bait!!

I don’t have much to say because there isn’t much to say. We own the ‘Noles. We beat ’em at Ron Zook field last year and, if not for some egregious officiating, we would’ve beat ’em at home two years ago. In fact, there are a lot of parallels to our 2003 matchup, but the glaring difference is that the refs didn’t blow call after call this year.

At any rate, by blowing out FSU, Urban Meyer has redeemed himself and our season (not that Urban really needed much redeeming). Granted, a win at South Carolina a couple weeks ago would’ve been wonderful, but beating all our big rivals–UGA, UT and FSU–in a season for the first time since 1996 is plenty reason to celebrate. Pile on our first season since 2000 without a home loss and things just seem that much sweeter.

So, the pros of our season just might outweigh the cons. With the whooping we put on FSU, we might get a decent bowl bid. Also, we played a very difficult SEC schedule this year and Urban still had a decent season while installing a new system and working around several key injuries. It’s obvious that a healthy Gator squad with a full year of Meyer’s offense under its belt will be a force in the SEC next year. Also, it seems we may have finally taken back the Swamp.

All in all, it’s been a good season. I’m glad I got to go to both the Tennessee and FSU football games. Next up, the Alabama State vs. Florida basketball game on Monday night.


Florida football falters

Well, we made a good run, but Spurrier bumped us off just when our SEC Championship hopes were peaking. Notice I said “Spurrier” and not “South Carolina.” That’s because their football team didn’t beat us, we were just flat out-coached. They played well, but they were coached better. Also, we just didn’t show up to play. Again, our offense sputtered and our defense decided to take it easy and give up some big plays at the worst times.

That about sums it up.


Big game tonight

I’m not even being sarcastic. The Gators need this game pretty badly, but not in the typical sense. Meyer has begun to retool the offense, but we’re far from polished. We squeaked by Georgia using a stripped down offense that mostly went north-south. But that’s not Meyer’s vision and I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten his beloved Spread.

This game will be a chance for the Gators to add some Spread plays and work on blocking in the more complicated schemes. We have to remember that we still have to beat South Carolina on their field, then we have FSU at home and a bowl game. But, if Auburn prevails in Athens, we’ll be playing in Atlanta for the SEC Championship, a likely rematch against the Tide. We already saw what happened in Tuscolusa and if we’re going to beat them the offense has to be clicking on all cylinders. Now is the time to start tuning up the engine.

I expect to see a good mix of old school play calling and some new school Spread plays. I also expect our defense to give Vandy fits. I’m not necessarily predicting a blowout, but I expect us to cover the spread (looks like about 19 points).


The football infestation continues…

Well, I said I didn’t want this to become a football blog, but since I have no life and I love football, I guess that’s just what’s on my mind. We beat Georgia… again. I’m not saying that in a cocky way, it’s just how it is. Yes, they were without their quarterback, but that elicits little sympathy from me. We’ve been playing without our stars all season–Chris Leak hurt his shoulder against Alabama and it clearly affected his next couple games; Andre Caldwell, our first receiver, broke his femur against Tennessee; several of our key defensive players have missed games and on and on–and we’re not looking for sympathy. We’re just playing good football, the same as Georgia. And this game wasn’t as close as it looked on paper, either. We should’ve scored just before the end of the first half, but we fumbled on the 5 yard-line when a Leak/Wynn exchange went poorly. That wasn’t good Georgia defense, it was a gift from the statistical gods. Also, Georgia’s only touchdown came on a trick play that only worked because it was botched. It was a nice catch by T3, but he wouldn’t have been open if he didn’t accidentally fall down earlier in the play. It was like hitting a 3-pointer off the glass–you get 3 points, but everyone in the game attaches a mental asterisk whose note reads, “3-point airball.”

Anyway, it was another SEC slug-fest and we were fortunate enough to win it. Our offense actually came alive in the first quarter and then it went back into hibernation as the defense dominated the rest of the game. Meyer is finally figuring out what to do with Leak and company. Keeping it simple is the best way with these guys. Zook’s problem in 2004 wasn’t offense–we torched most of the teams we played–it was a lackluster defense who took naps and drank drinks with little pink umbrellas in them during the fourth quarter. Our defense has totally transformed this year, but our offensive personnel are the same. Give Leak a pocket, let him pass and use our running backs to run it right down their throats. We are best on the ground when we’re running downhill.

So now what? Well, we should win out in the SEC, which means we’re going to be chanting “War Eagle!!” soon enough. I think it’s silly that we’re depending on UGA’s game with a Western Division foe to vault us into the SEC Championship. Each East team plays 3 random West teams and Florida had to play AT Alabama and AT LSU. Georgia? They get Auburn at home. They don’t have to play ‘Bama or LSU at all. Must be nice. The planets have aligned and UGA may have a shot at the SEC Title in spite of their second-best SEC East record.


Two losses to two Top 10 teams

I guess Florida haters like to see that we have two losses and we’ve fallen to 5-2 overall. But I don’t think it’s really that bad. Of course, we didn’t look good against Alabama, but they’re still in the Top 10 right now. After this week, LSU should be Top 10 as well. All things considered, I think that’s reasonable.

Our hopes at a shot for the SEC title are all but gone, but I guess that’s just the way it goes. What’s frustrating is that we could be undefeated in the East and still not play on December 3rd in ATL. Something seems a little off there, but I’m just a biased Florida fan.

Speaking of Top 10 teams, our next opponent lives there as well. In two weeks, we go to Jacksonville to play Georgia. That should be a good game and could be Urban’s second win against a Top 10 team. Of course, we’ll be underdogs, but that’s the way it has been many times over the past few years. We’ve only lost to UGA once since I started school back in 1998 and I think we have a good shot at keeping that stat intact.

I don’t like that this has turned into a football blog, but at least I’m updating it with some frequency.


It’s still great to be a Florida Gator…

But it’s a bummer losing like that. I’m still not sure what happened but, if I had to guess, I’d probably use the words “meltdown” and “unprepared”. Our defense stunk up the stadium and our offense was a one-trick pony with little resembling anything “spread” or “option”. ‘Bama played well, but they beat a team that was only a shell of the team I’ve seen the past few weeks. I don’t know where the Gators were on Saturday, but they weren’t in Tuscaloosa.

Hopefully we’ll play well and run Meyer’s offense this weekend against Mississippi State. I hope we’re able to get a win and gain some confidence in our schemes so that we’re prepared when we go to LSU in a couple weeks. I think the most important thing to remember right now is that we’re still in control of the SEC East. We do have a loss, but it was to West team, so it did the least amount of damage possible. If we get back on track and run the table in the East, we’ll go to the SEC Championship game and hopefully get a rematch against the tide.

Anti-Gator fans?

Since our loss to Alabama, I’ve had a few people–none of whom are Alabama students, fans or alumni–say to me or e-mail me a big “Rolll Tiiiide!!” I don’t get it. I don’t understand why people dislike Florida so much. My only guess is that Spurrier was so dominant and cocky that people just decided to hate the Gators. One of the people who said that to me is an Auburn grad. When they lost to GaTech earlier this year, I didn’t say a word to him. When they got snubbed out of the National Title game last year, I told him I thought that was stupid and the BCS was flawed. The only jawing I’ve ever done is to say, “We’ll see you in the SEC Championship.” That’s it. But when we lose to a tough football team, this guy starts giving me lip. Seriously?

Another person, an FSU fan, e-mailed me with nothing but “Rooolll Tiiiide!” I guess she may’ve been irked because, after she tried to tell me how we’re going to lose this year and UGA has our number, I called Doak “Ron Zook Field”. I never e-mailed her last year (or any of multiple opportunities) to say “Go ‘Canes!!!!” or “Go Terps!!” I didn’t e-mail her to talk smack after we beat FSU on their field last year. But we get a road loss to a Top 15 team that she doesn’t even root for and I immediately get an e-mail? Seriously? Nevermind that an astute FSU fan would realize that Florida’s record come November 26 could have a huge impact on FSU’s potential to play for the National Title, and a Florida loss doesn’t help their cause.

After UGA beat us last year, I was at Radio Shack buying some batteries or something. Some random dude saw my hat and came up to say, “You a Gator fan? Man, them Bulldogs beat y’all today, huh?” He was obviously trying to get a rise out of me and also obviously not a Georgia fan. I said, “Well, we have to give them one every 15 years or so. We figured this’d be a good year to do it since we don’t have a coach and all.” He just kinda’ sheepishly put his head down and walked away. I guess he hadn’t really thought his chiding through. But why say anything to begin with? I’m surrounded by Sooners fans. I haven’t said a word to any of them about their season so far. I work with several Aggies. I haven’t made a peep. It’s one thing to root for a football team, but it’s another thing entirely to root against a team just to spite its fans.

Yes, I know what a rivalry is. No, I don’t like FSU or Tennessee. But, no, I wouldn’t e-mail anyone from those schools if their team lost a football game to some team I don’t even root for. That just seems silly and sort of mean-spirited.


It’s great to be a Florida Gator

Wow. Saturday’s football game was really incredible. I’m pretty sure the last time a home game held that much significance was Tennessee in 2001 at the end of the season. If we won that game, we would go on to play for the SEC Championship and possibly play in the National Championship. But we lost.

It’s been almost four years since then and we’ve had some big disappointments and a couple nice wins, but Saturday’s game was the first game in a while that’s meant something. We’re back in the Top 5. Our schedule is difficult, but if we remain undefeated and win the SEC, we’ll have an excellent shot at playing for the Championship. We still have to play LSU, Georgia, Alabama, another West team in the SEC Championship and so-far-undefeated FSU. If our schedule is as difficult as it seems it will be, we could have to win five games over Top 10 opponents.

But all that’s just chit-chat. The real deal was going to a big game in the Swamp and beating a solid opponent when it really counted. And the best part of the real deal was watching the game from the student section, 20 rows up on the 30-yard line. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had at the Swamp, and I’ve been to a lot of home games.

Now, I just have to see about getting tickets (plane and football) for the FSU game in November. I’m hoping to take Thanksgiving week off and travel home to see family, friends and some Florida football.


Two-week update

It’s been quite a while since I wrote anything here. Why? I’m lazy.

Ok, so what’ve I been up to? Well, I’ve had two basketball games since my last post and I’m finally starting to play pretty well. Last week, I had 12 points on 4-of-6 3-point shooting. This week, I had 10 points–2 3-pointers, an 18-foot jumper and a couple freethrows. Those are decent point totals since this league plays a 36 minute game with a running clock and a 2-minute half time. Our team is averaging somewhere in the low 30s per game. We lost both games, but against decent teams and both games were pretty close. Last week, we just couldn’t hit our freethrows and this week, we basically didn’t have an answer for their big man.


Well, I have played for about a year online and have seen moderate winnings. Mostly, I’d been playing to get experience and learn more about the game. Recently, I decided to try and grind out some actual steady money, so I started playing Limit Hold ’em cash games. I started at Micro Limits–$.5/$1, 4-tabling–and am gradually moving up. My win-rate was just over 4BB/100 hands for almost 6,000 hands. I just moved up to $1/$2 Limit and I’m up, but I’ve only played a couple hundred hands. Anyway, I’ll play $1/$2 until I’ve won about 300BB, then I’ll jump to $2/$4. Slow and steady.


Since I returned from Europe, I’ve been reading a lot. Mostly, I’ve been reading books on poker, but I’ve also read some good fiction. Right now, I’m reading David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day. Sedaris is just a great author with a unique perspective and writing style. It’s just fun to read his stuff. Next, I think I’ll move on to John Irving’s latest book, but first it has to come out in paperback.

Work’s been rough

That about says it all. When I returned from Europe, I assumed the responsibilities that had previously been two peoples’ jobs. Actually, it seems I’ve taken on even more responsibility than that. Anyway, I’ve been ultra-busy and it’s been keeping me from pursuing acting like I want to. I know I should continue pursuing acting, but my schedule at work is very demanding and volatile and I don’t want to over commit myself. Hopefully, things will calm down by the end of the year and I can get back on the bus.

Headin’ home for football

I will be going to Florida to see the UT vs. UF football game next month. Really, I’ll be hoping to see the game since I don’t have a ticket. Basically, I plan to fly into Orlando, rent a car, drive to G-ville and start hunting for a ticket. I’ll be getting to G-ville on Thursday afternoon, so that’ll give me almost two full days to find a ticket.

I really should find something more interesting to write about.


Back to DAL from ATL

Well, my Florida/Georgia tour has ended and I’m preparing to re-enter the real world tomorrow. I figure I should capture some of the highlights from ATL, so here goes.

I had a great time hanging with my pals and just layin’ around. Mostly, it was good to see many of my friends from UF and also to spend time with all my buddies that have moved to ATL. I went to the Peach Bowl and watched the Gators get waxed, but at least I had decent seats and went with several of my good friends. While the game wasn’t too exciting, it was fun to make fun of the drunk guy behind us and mock the lady he was with. Apparently, his special lady friend thinks it’s ‘bad coaching’ if Leak slides short of the first down marker because there are three defenders about to crush him. Yes, lady, a ‘good coaching’ decision would be for him to just continue running right for the defenders so that if he makes the first down, it’s his last play of the season.

After the Peach Bowl, I went to a friend’s New Year’s party and had a great time. There were plenty of funny people there and I had some good conversations. Also, it was great to drive people to the other side of Atlanta at 5 am by using terrible directions supplemented by the guy in the passenger’s seat saying to his buddy on the phone, “Well, we’re at this place that reminds me of Batman one.” and “This looks familiar. Let’s try this one.” about a random apartment complex in the middle of nowhere.

Back on the bike

So, the best part about being home is that I can finally get back to working out. I start a basketball league in a week and I haven’t touched a basketball in at least two months. I have a lot of work to do so I’m ready to run Point when the league starts.

Today at the gym, I was riding the bike and reading (as usual) when a guy sits next to me and, in a thick European accent, says, “Quite a reading selection there.” I looked down to realize that I’d brought a copy of Entertainment Weekly and also The Art of War. I guess those aren’t generally read simultaneously, but I like to go for variety in what I read.

I’m going to shoot around now.


Back on the East Coast

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, but that’s mostly because I’ve been so busy traveling and such. I’ve been in Florida for four days now and I’m having a great time. Of course, I’ve done a lot of eating and sitting around, but I’ve also spent a lot of time with friends and having a great time.

There aren’t too many details to share because most of my trip has been simple relaxation and vacation. Today, I went to a Florida basketball game, which we won handily. It was fun to see our younger guys get some playing time and I thought we playe pretty well. We definitely need to work on our offense and our consistency, but we could be in good shape by March.

In a few days I’m heading to Jacksonville for Christmas. I’ll be seeing my family and some Jacksonville friends and hopefully meeting with a couple friends to talk more about the short we’ve been very, very slowly writing.

The following week, I’ll be off to Atlanta for more visiting and also to go to the Peach Bowl and hopefully see the Gators beat the ‘Canes.