What's offseason? What's summer? It never stops ✊ #64 yarder pic.twitter.com/Z2SzDKiFat— Eddy Pineiro (@eddypineiro1) May 3, 2016
First viewing: Dang, what a boot. Florida football's had a number of frustrating elements over the last few years, but the complete inability to convert field goals always feels especially cruel. Last year, Florida went 7 of 17 on field goals, including a 2 of 9 stretch to end the season. And it's not like the Gators were attempting a bunch of 52 yarders. These were relatively makeable distances that seemed to end in failure over and over again!
Second viewing: I'm perfectly aware that getting excited about a new kicker is exactly the kind of thing I'd usually mock Kentucky or NC State or Colorado or any of the Big Ten schools for, especially when Florida still has major questions at quarterback and wide receiver. Baylor barely made more field goals than they missed last year, but nobody cared because the offense scored 86 touchdowns.
Fifth viewing: Does that make field goals the equivalent of an orange and some walnuts in a Great Depression-era child's Christmas stocking, things that only become treasured and valuable when you exist in a state of constant deprivation? But then what's the alternative -- being the kind of ridiculously demanding fan who never thinks things are good enough and wants to know why our senior quarterback fumbled once even though he also threw seven touchdowns?
Ninth viewing: God, those really are the two primary choices. You can either point out all the problems and flaws and fucked up things with a player, or a team, or a conference, or the sport itself. Or you can be the overly optimistic idiot who thinks this is the year everything's different, these are the kids that aren't going to do anything stupid that college kids do, and ours is the team that only stays on the right side of the line.
Twenty-seventh viewing: In 1971, the crew of Soyuz 11 died after a cabin vent valve malfunctioned when the ship was separating from Salyut 1 (the first-ever space station). Those are the only people who've actually perished in space. I wonder if that's a comfort to every astronaut who's gone up since then. No matter what, they can't be the first person to die in space. In fact, we probably don't know who the first person was, since all three of the Soyuz 11 cosmonauts more or less died simultaneously. Though someone will still be the first person to die in space of natural causes.
Thirty-third viewing: Why don't more coaches line up in field goal formation on third and long? If you think you're unlikely, percentage-wise, to pick up a first down, setting up for a field goal on third either gives you the option to take the kick without much pressure from the defense (because they're worried about the fake) or get a big play (because they're going for the block), and if something goes wrong with the snap, you've got another down to work with.
Forty-first viewing: I say all this like I'm not going to be delighted if this kicker nails a bunch of forty-plus yarders in a win over Georgia where Florida only gets five first downs or some dumb shit. Totally fine with me.
Fiftieth viewing: Maybe the bigger problem is that I don't know what I want out of Florida at this point. Take that 2012 season, which was inarguably a success on paper but felt so unpleasant and hollow throughout. Is it more important to win or to be entertaining? The answer's not definitely one or the other, but it's difficult to say where you should land on that sliding scale. If you go too far towards the winning end, then you're incapable of enjoying a well-played game that you happen to lose. Tilt overboard on the entertainment side and you can't appreciate the entire reason the players and coaches put so much time and effort into a game: to win.
Fifty-eighth viewing: And that's the same form vs. function question we have to answer in so many areas, from architecture to agriculture. Do we find things beautiful because they are useful? Are things useful because we find them beautiful? What makes the world a better place: a toilet that uses 40% less water or a song that speaks to people on levels they didn't even know existed?
Sixty-fourth viewing: That "kick on third down" was a terrible idea. You're such an idiot, Ryan.