1. On Saturday, the Florida Gators fell into an early hole by giving up long plays on defense, and by failing to produce anything resembling offense, and by committing mindless penalties. The opponent slackened somewhat in the second half, Florida mounted a comeback, and then ended it when the opponent displayed superior competence in combination with a crucial game-killing personal foul penalty. Florida lost the game by a thin margin. This has been written before.
2. It could be written again. Go ahead and store it, since the people who cover Florida football probably have, and simply re-rig the game story with the same major plotlines, just with different names plugged into the blanks they leave for [PLAYER WHO COMMITTED PERSONAL FOUL AFTER THIRD DOWN STOP] and [OPPONENT WHO DESPITE MAKING IMMENSE MISTAKES MANAGED TO MAKE ONE LESS THAN FLORIDA.] They have been remarkable in that respect: by design, they implode the same way in every loss, and in a manner made more predictable with each added data point in the set.
3. That is made even more remarkable by the first excuse someone will make for Will Muschamp, and for Florida football in general: injuries ended this team's season before any number of losses did. That does have a degree of truth, though injuries had nothing to do with the offensive line, a unit that was supposed to be the strength of the team, and who could not keep Georgia defenders off the quarterback with eight men in protection. Injuries matter, but so does the nagging thought that even with everyone healthy, the defense would still have to prop up the offense, which doesn't need criticism beyond the numbers on the scoreboard, and its 104th ranking nationally.
4. But let's expand on how bad that is for a minute, because it feels good, now that we're down here on the floor, to roll around in this a bit. That means Memphis has a better scoring offense than you do, and that Kentucky does, too. That's just the extremely deceptive statistic of scoring offense, however, a mere trifle when you look at something like Offensive FEI, which has Florida at 97th in the nation overall through October 26th. The Georgia game won't improve that much, nor unfuck your mind when we remind you just how good Florida's defenses and special teams have been in terms of providing good field position. Florida is 118th in the nation in red zone conversions, and scores TDs on just 45% of their possessions from inside the 20 yard line.
5. Iowa is more efficient offensively than Florida is. Boston College, home of divemaster Steve Addazio, is more efficient than Florida is offensively. Wake Forest is more efficient offensively than Florida is, and so are Virginia Tech, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Rutgers, Michigan State, and Bob Davie's New Mexico Lobos. BOB FUCKING DAVIE. Oh, Notre Dame's a good 82 spots higher, in case that didn't fully crush whatever joy was in your heart.
5a. And it isn't a matter of playcalling, either, since a lot of what Florida is attempting to do is in theory sound: run the ball, use the power play a lot by preference, and then throw play-action and quick passes off that run game. It would be sound, and enough to have even a mediocre, time-killing offense like the one Will Muschamp so desperately wants. It would be enough if wide receivers didn't even know when they were supposed to motion, or if Tyler Murphy had ever run the speed option regularly in his life, or if the offensive line could protect against even a three man front. They cannot, and show no indication of knowing what they are doing whatsoever.
6. That isn't a player issue, or even a playcalling issue. That is coaching, or a lack thereof, since even if we don't like what Florida does at all stylistically, and believe margin-ball to be an unfortunate infection of the NFL that kills good brains and makes mediocre ones into shambling football zombies, we at least ask that it be done well, and competently. Under Brent Pease, it hasn't been taught well, and on gameday this results in Florida trotting out the equivalent of the worst organ player in the world, stuck with nice sheet music and no idea how to get through it without a disaster happening.
7. There isn't really an answer. This is a mediocre football team created by design to play low-margin football by a defensive coach with zero ability to evaluate and develop offensive talent. This is famine football, and will continue to be famine football. This team has to play Vanderbilt, and could lose. This team has to play South Carolina, and will likely lose that game, too. After a win (?) against Georgia Southern, they will play Florida State, and lose won't really cover that likely debacle's utter horror. It's in Gainesville, and if you make it to the end still sitting in your seat, you should be given instant booster status. It's something to joke about, but even if they did this and promised a parking spot close to the stadium, there would still be few who made it through it.
8. And why would you? This is not 1997, because even at its most reckless, Steve Spurrier football was not willfully dumb, and capable of moments of inspiration. After three years, this is Will Muschamp's team, and his brand of football. We have seen it, and it is, above all else, dumb, and not deserving of a longer word. It is outstanding talent recruited to play a half-brilliant style of the game, a crippled villain who makes insignificant cameos in other people's storylines, a neighborhood speed bump to other people's ambitions that sometimes reaches up and claims a muffler or cracked axle as a prize.
9. They did this on purpose, too, and by that we mean the people in charge of the program. This goes beyond football, and right down to the most trivial details of the program. The gameday experience is middling, and attendance (like everywhere) is sagging. Media coverage is dismal, thanks to the program's brilliant decision to just make their own news that no one reads, and at worst openly mocks for being the swamp cabbage Pravda of Alachua County. The hype videos are flat, the branding's a mess, and even our font belongs on the side of a malt liquor bottle. (Like, not even a classic like Mickey's, or a reasonably class malt liquor choice like Steel Reserve, but like, the really awful, end-stage alcoholism shit. The kind they find on bodies, not around them.) Alumni are miserable, and dreaded going to watch this team when they were actually winning, much less now that the depth chart's collapsed and reduced us to being the Pitt of the SEC.
10. It would be nice to blame Will Muschamp, but despair requires accomplices. Muschamp isn't to blame for this alone, though he's a good chunk of it, at least in the horrendous mismanagement of the offensive staff and its talent development. He can't be blamed for injuries, or for the AD opting for a second time to hire a balls-first, brains-later defensive coordinator with no head coaching experience to take the job. He can't be blamed for complacency, or for the malaise and string of Gator-branded vomit streaming out of the licensing machine, or for the fanbase, one that sees a .500 football team and starts manning the barricades instead of considering that maybe, just maybe, next year could be better.*
*I don't think it will be, and want everyone fired, and have no answers because I am a Florida fan, and just like killing things because this is a neverending Dothraki wedding. Without external threats, we just start murdering our own for fun.
11. Muschamp probably shouldn't be fired, if only because there is no clear alternative, and because he's recruiting well for the next bastard who takes this job. You have to have an answer, and a good one, and there really aren't many. Say a pro coach and you'll only get more of the same, and say Jon Gruden and we will cut your tongue from your head with pruning shears to save humanity the trouble of every listening to you about anything ever again. Kliff Kingsbury has one year of head coaching experience. Bobby Petrino--who Foley has wanted to talk to in the past, by the way!!!--is Bobby Petrino. Art Briles is never leaving the state of Texas. Hey, Chan Gailey's a Florida grad? Chan Gailey's a Florida grad!
12. You see where this game goes? You see what happens when you leave the lifeboat, even if you happen to be trapped with the guy who will open the coconut, dammit, even if he's knocked himself out three times today trying to headbutt it open? And that it's not a coconut, but instead a piece of a buoy, and you haven't had the heart to tell him because he's trying so hard to save us all. It'd be nice to have solutions. There is a Chinese phrase for what you do when there is no good solution, and no answer: eating bitterness. It's what's for lunch, and probably dinner, and then we lose to Florida State by forty. That's the menu. There are no substitutions allowed, and no pity given.