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.

Moving back to Florida

I've accepted a job offer in Gainesville, FL and I'll be moving back in a couple weeks. I don't have too much to say about it now, but I'll write more soon.

UPDATE: I'll be leaving Dallas on Monday, October 2 and should be arriving in Gainesville on Tuesday evening. My original plan was to work through Tuesday or Wednesday, but I decided there's just not much to do here, so I figured it'd be easier to pack and load the truck on a weekend.

The rest of my time here will go by very quickly. I've already started packing my stuff into boxes (my bedroom and closet are essentially done) and I'll continue packing throughout the week. Friday night, I play a local Tournament of Champions, which is a single-table tournament with a $50 buy-in and an additional $2500 overlay. I'm positive I can win this tourney and it's a deepstack event, so that makes it even more likely. Saturday morning, I'll pick up my moving truck and start loading it up. I'll work on loading the truck through Sunday night. Monday morning, I'll start heading back to Florida. Right now, the plan is to stop off around Jackson, Mississippi on Monday night.

Once in Gainesville, I'll start unpacking pretty quickly and hopefully be done moving in to my new place by Thursday. Then I have to do all the usual "new resident" stuff like getting my car registered in Florida and eating at Newberry Backyard BBQ. Saturday is our Homecoming game (homecoming indeed) against LSU. Sunday, I'll probably visit a church and rejoin the basketball league I played in while at school. Monday and Tuesday will be more of the "new resident" stuff and I'll probably start work on Wednesday, October 11 or so.

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Florida Flattens the Final Four

Ironically, there isn't much I can say about the Gators' performance this weekend. George Mason was billed as this year's Cinderella, but Florida didn't seem to share the same respect for Mason's mystique as the rest of the country. They simply outmatched George Mason at every position and coasted to a convincing win. Next up: UCLA. It was entertaining to see all of the sports analyists flip-flopping on their predictions after Saturday's games. UCLA handled LSU, but it was pretty obvious that LSU just had a terrible game while UCLA played very well and capitalized on LSU's many mistakes. Before Saturday, Florida was the consensus favorite to cut down the nets on Monday, but after UCLA's game against LSU, the consensus became a coin-flip. UCLA's vaunted defense became the big story and everyone forgot that Florida handled Villanova, a No. 1 seed, less than a week earlier.

Fortunately, the Gators have refused to acknowledge the hype--positive or negative--all year, and the media's sudden distrust in their ability to hang with a tough defensive team didn't affect them in the least. It only took a couple minutes on Monday for the Gators to announce their superiority, and then they continued to remind everyone just how good they are by frequently adding exclamation points to the story they've written all season long. Noah with a block, Horford with a dunk, Moss takes a charge, Humphrey buries a transition three, Brewer with a steal, Green with an assist, Green with an assist, Green with an assist, Richard changes a shot. And every time UCLA tried to answer, the Gators took it up a notch to keep them at bay.

This has been such a fantastic season for the Gators. It's too bad Coach of the Year honors have already been given because I think it's obvious to everyone that Billy Donovan deserves that title. Out of nowehere came a team with more chemistry than I've seen on any team in years, and suddenly they're breaking records and setting new ones: Best start in school history, first triple-double in school history, most made freethrows in a game, most consecutive freethrows, and the list goes on and on, culminating with our first National Championship.

I'm tempted to speculate about next season, but it just doesn't seem appropriate right now. October is so far away and there's no telling what will happen between now and then. For now, I'm just looking forward to reading the deluge of articles that will be written over the next several weeks. In a way, the best part of winning the Natinal Championship is that we're going to be the topic of conversation for the next several months. It's great to be a Florida Gator!

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Another choke

I didn't see or hear the game, but from what I could glean from Sportscenter, the Gators let another one get away today. Apparently, we had a lead late against LSU, but we choked it away in the last few minutes. I expected us to get beat up a little inside (their frontcourt is solid, while their backcourt could use a lot of work), but I ultimately thought we would pull this one out, especially since we were playing at home. I thought wrong.

I noticed an LSU player doing the "Gator Chomp" just before time expired... I'm not sure what compels players to mock our Gator chomp, but I find it ironic that other teams never mock it before they get a win. Why? Probably because they know we can beat any one, any time if we bring our A game, and who wants to look stupid mocking our chomp and then gettin' beat? I guess am entertained by how flamboyant other teams come after they squeak out a win against us... where's all that confidence before the game, fellas?

Switchfoot

They have a new song--Meant to Live, I think--being played on the local alternative station, and I think it's a fantastic song. Here are the lyrics:

Fumbling his confidence
And wondering why the world has passed him by
Hoping that he's bid for more than arguments
And failed attempts to fly, fly
[Chorus]
We were meant to live for so much more
Have we lost ourselves?
Somewhere we live inside
Somewhere we live inside
We were meant to live for so much more
Have we lost ourselves?
Somewhere we live inside

Dreaming about Providence
And whether mice or men have second tries
Maybe we've been livin with our eyes half open
Maybe we're bent and broken, broken

[Chorus]

We want more than this world's got to offer
We want more than this world's got to offer
We want more than the wars of our fathers
And everything inside screams for second life, yeah

We were meant to live for so much more
Have we lost ourselves?
We were meant to live for so much more
Have we lost ourselves?
We were meant to live for so much more
Have we lost ourselves?
We were meant to live
We were meant to live

I think they're playing it on the radio because it's a great piece of music... but I'm glad to hear that Switchfoot is making a breakthrough into the maintsream on the wings of this particular song. The lyrics are powerful and it's difficult to listen to the song without asking, "Why are we meant to live?"

More Target time

So, I went back to Target tonight to exchange a couple lamps I bought. I ended up spending about $150 and making two trips instead of just one. I had been keeping a list of stuff I needed, so I took this opportunity to cross some things off that list. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was going to write a little about what all went into moving--logistically, financially, etc.--and I'm definitely including this list. The list has things I never would've thought about until I lived here for a while. Hopefully it'll save me some trouble later on, or maybe it'll help someone else. That's coming soon.

Snow

I went to go play basketball this morning and I was greeted by several inches of fresh snow. I think this was the first time I'd ever woken up to see fresh snow on the ground (unless I include the Winter of '89 when it "snowed" a little in J-ville; it was mostly just ice). I took several pictures, but didn't realize until after it stopped snowing that my camera was set to the lowest resolution (1 Megapixel), so I'm not sure how they'll turn out. I hope to post them on JoshDoody.com pretty soon.