Before an angry God strikes us dead for our ungratefulness...we're jacked that Florida won. Ecstatic. Kissing dogs and petting babies happy. The tipping point in Meyer year one could have been this game; if Florida loses, and the hounds of public opinion on the message boards/talk radio/etc. would have been on his pant leg like a Komodo Dragon, slashing him and waiting for the infection to bring him low enough to make for easy pickings and another Zook-like debacle scenario. Instead, he beats the Gators most extreme venerable most grand old school rival in a nail-biter where Meyer did everything he was supposed to in scaling back the decimated spread option and letting his players dictate the scheme.
The Komodo Dragon faction of the Florida fanbase will have to wait a game before ripping into Meyer.
In fact, the whole game adds up to a CWCID (Credit Where Credit Is Due) moment for several people in the college football ecosystem, players, coaches, and pundits alike.
Credit, coaching section: Urban Meyer. Max pro. A dominant, non-option run game. A passing game working in the previously invisible Tate Casey and multiple passes to the backs on the perimeter. What is this...fullback of which you speak? Urban Meyer finally listened to the Rick Pitino in his head--"Alex Smith ain't walkin' through that door, people"--and turned his offense into something resembling your average, garden-variety power run/play-action college offense.
And in a league suddenly allergic to offense--peep the 16-15 USC/UT game for example, or Alabama's 6-3 game against the anemic Vols (again)--average is gonna get you a long way, especially when your defense is burninating its way to greatness one game at a time and your special teams make at least two big plays a game. Kudos for the pride-swallowing by Meyer and OC Dan Mullen.
Credit, playing section: Jeremy Mincey. Mincey was anthrax on Georgia's last three drives. First he tackles Thomas Brown for an eight-yard loss on 2nd down, forcing the Bulldogs into third and 18 on a drive where UGA had been rolling down the field with sweeps, traps, and draws straight from the pages of a well-written high-school playbook. (Hey, no shot there--it worked pretty well, just as the rest of Richt's plan to make Joe T3 comfortable with a solid run game and simple pass schemes. They were one drive away from winning--thus the mad claps for Mincey's heroism.)
On the next drive, Mincey bats down a Tereshinski pass. Then he gets the final game-winning sack, forcing Tereshinski into heaving a Jeff George-like volleyball set harmlessly into no-man's land as the clock expired. Timely play from an end just starting to assert his silverback status in this defense.
Mincey: gettin' man-sized.
Credit, pundit section: Rod Gilmore. He takes flack on air for being a suspiciously white-sounding black dude from Stanford, but Gilmore nailed the Meyer game plan last week in his ESPN Insider column. The five things Florida needed, according to Gilmore: protect Leak, think defensively, add a wrinkle, spice up the passing game, and throw to the backs and tight ends. Meyer utilized four out of five, and may have even gone five for five if added a few new routes (we'll check the tape on review later today.) We cite this as excellent precognition on Gilmore's part, and proof that the ankle-biting blogosphere will throw a bone to the big boys every now and then.
And to balance that, we remind you that Matt Hayes sucks the crusty ass of a Balinese pirate.
In summary: 6-2. Wins over Georgia and Tennessee. Undefeated in the SEC East. Not bad for rookie shakes, we say.
One note from reader Big Mike: in our season long effort to play Mythbusters to the idea that Florida fans wear jean shorts at a higher rate than other SEC fans. Big Mike sends us another piece of refuting evidence hot from the Cocktail Party. Pure HOTTness.
Don't try to tell us he's really an undercover Florida fan. A Gator fan would be wearing Oakleys, not Aviator sunglasses.