I smell a massacre. Appropriate Kanye: "Monster."
1. Les Miles is joy forever. You have varying antagonisms going with various coaches as a fan. Nick Saban is this bleak narcissist drudge-genius, Jimbo Fisher is the doofus workaholic, Gene Chizik as the hollow shacket riding out the Larry Coker plan at Auburn, and James Franklin is the preppie who asks "you want somethin', fucko?" before eating a fistful of pistol from Henry Hill in Goodfellas.
There are, however, some coaches who shed antagonism completely. Spurrier, being our real dad*, is immune to any antagonism. You don't enjoy losing to South Carolina, but a part of you understands how that could happen to an extent no one else can fully appreciate. Derek Dooley at Tennessee is too odd not to like, while Mark Richt's saintly demeanor and equally inoffensive record against Florida also makes him benign in comparison to others.
2. Les Miles' status as teflon don for opponents comes from so many things, but mainly his ability to drop a pin on the map of the world and show exactly how close and yet how far he is from your plane of reality.
3. Urban Meyer: the stepdad we really came to respect who then divorced our mother, had a nervous breakdown, and it turns out left the finances in a shambles after some ill-advised investments.
4. Yes, Les, we as red-blooded Americans all agree that there is nowhere else we would want to be. It's also insane how much you are the demento Patton of the SEC, capable at any moment of framing yourself dramatically against an electric blue sky. An American flag may drop behind him at any point during this moment. Anything's possible with Les, really, save for quality quarterback play and tiny, well-proportioned headgear.
5. Also, you were wearing a jacket on a scorching day in the Swamp. You're just bizarre in so many ways, most especially your total lack of functioning sweat glands. (This is why Les Miles pants constantly and spends hours a day conducting business submerged in University Lake on the campus of LSU.)
6. Red-blooded is relevant phrase here, and literally so, because my god, the blood. Six points in a first half, relentless violence, Jeff Driskel hitting the turf like a narcoleptic at 8 frames a second, and Matt Elam flooding entire zones of the defense with angry wasps he was excreting from his pores spelled nothing fun for either offense or the viewer. It would be dishonest to say that LSU/Florida 2012 was "fun" in any sense for an uninterested viewer, the same viewer who probably got much more out of watching Texas WVU or the first hellacious quarter of UGA/South Carolina.
7. It would also be equally dishonest to say that for those interested, watching two teams agreeing to strangle each other and wait for one to pass out wasn't totally gripping. Thus the total lack of panic at the half, when Florida trailed 6-0. In a game testing the ability to function without oxygen, Florida and LSU were both at the bottom of the pool looking happily at their watches and shooting each other the finger.
8. And before we get to who ran out of breath first--and that was LSU--salute the defeated by acknowledging Kevin Minter of LSU, the linebacker who tallied 17 solo tackles and 3 assists on the day. He was less linebacker than a Stanley Cup playoffs goalie having his own series, dragging down Mike Gillislee and eating pulling guards for three hours in between tackling Jeff Driskel before he even had a proper chance to finish his drop. Minter was unholy and unblockable in a losing effort, making him the defensive Nick Foles* of this week. That is a high compliment, even if it doesn't sound like it at all.
*The Arizona Wildcats QB who always, in losing efforts, posted phenomenal numbers and made tremendous and valiant efforts to keep his team in the game. They rarely worked, but that's the point.
9. Minter was partially to credit for the unreal split between Florida's yardage and first downs: 237 total yards yielding 22 first downs, with 134 of those yards coming on two drives in the second half. Offensive numbers this strange are always a compliment of one sort or another to the opposing defense, and in this case in particular to LSU's defensive line. Once Driskel spent the entire first half admiring the cloudless sky, Brent Pease just shut down the passing game and started piling in as many offensive linemen and tight ends as the law would allow. That number of linemen on one play: seven.
10. The number of runs (called or not) ending the game for Florida: twenty-five straight, mostly running "power," and all aimed at something seemingly irrelevant to the scoreboard.
11. That thing irrelevant to the score: inflicting pain. I have never seen a gameplan so designed solely in thrall to the notion of obliterating an opponent for obliterating them's sake, and in turn have never seen an offensive line so bent on murdering the man in front of them on every assignment. Scoring seemed incidental, and in the midst of a bar brawl, Mike Gillislee just happened to look up and find himself in the endzone.
12. And sure, Zach Mettenberger was awful, but let's put that in context. He had his best throw of the day, a field-flipping bomb to Odell Beckham, Jr, stripped from his receiver's hands by Matt Elam. He weathered drops all day, had little to no time to throw, and received 42 yards of support from the run game. In other words, he did pretty much what every other quarterback Florida has played this year did in the second half: nothing.
13. That said, we never, ever need to see Mettenberger try to do anything outside of the pocket ever again. He scrambles as well as Case McCoy does, and that is to say that we fear for his life with every step and pray he is not killed running blind, slow, and upright in the middle of the field.
14. When you remember this game, you will remember how ugly, how reminiscent of Auburn/LSU games of the mid-2000s it was with zero offense, pounding rushing attacks, warped facemasks at every turn, but remember this, too: this was the day Matt Elam became the Apocalypse Chief of this Florida team.
Elam even tried to kill his own teammates, and played in a haze of barely contained rage and naked aggression. Seven tackles, a forced fumble, a late hit penalty, and miming CM Punk were enough, but that forced fumble? That forced fumble saved the game on what could best be described as "some George Teague shit there."
True, Elam did not return it like Teague did, but the rest is there: a blown coverage, a game-changing play in the making, and then a recovery, refusal to give up on a play, and then a recovery that confirmed that all LSU's efforts would be in vain for the rest of the game. Plus, unlike Teague's play, it counted. (Poor George's play had been whistled dead by a penalty, but you shouldn't let the stupid rules dictate what counts in your memory.)
15. In terms of what you could have plausibly learned that was new about this team from watching the game, there's little. Florida remains a second half team with a primeval passing game, brutal run attack, and a defense that in quarters numbered three and four will negate everything you do and turn it into sad, voided effort. Mike Gillislee is the war-armadillo we always believed him to be, and Charlie Weis is terrible at his job. We already knew all of these things.
16. What you might not have known is how this team looks when angry. We thought the 2008 UGA game was the angriest Florida team ever, a team so bent on destroying Georgia that they used the score of the game and yardage given up to the UGA offense as their reps in offseason workouts. That may still be true, but as hideous as it may have been, nothing I've ever seen matched the malice on display Saturday.
17. This team is not capable of blowouts, but what it is capable of doing is winning a fight to the pain. There is a scene in Henry V where the French are charging in, the archers at the ready, and the camera quickly shows Brian Blessed as the Duke holding...a mace? And no face guard? It's a quick shot, but one that lets you as the viewer know who the craziest motherfucker on the field is that day, and also that when you see him beating a man into the blood-soaked mud of Agincourt later in the battle scene that doing so makes him so very, very happy.
18. On a day when Les Miles was standing on the opposite sideline, that's quite an accomplishment, regardless of how the rest turns out in what remains a very long and brutal season, but that's Will Muschamp's spirit animal: a man with a mace wandering into fight. Then, in celebration, he stage dives.
19. The Kanye for this week is "Monster." The reasons, after watching three and a half hours of headbutting and joint locks on the football field, should be obvious.