Come down off those ledges and bridges, Gator fans, there are at least five reasons not to go to the dark side.
1. You are halfway through the toughest month perhaps in the history of Florida football scheduling. The opponents won’t get any tougher.
2. The worst is over. Your team won’t be facing any more brutal defenses than Alabama and LSU.
3. Though John Brantley and Jeff Driskel are banged up, you’re finding out about a bright newcomer in Jacoby Brissett. As they say about weddings, “you’re gaining a son, not losing a daughter.”
And if you want to add a sixth, consider that nobody in the state is doing much better. How’d you like to be an FSU fans, rooting for a team expected to compete for championships, but losing three straight?
For the first time since 1982 there is no Florida football team among the nation’s Top 25. So don’t fret about the Seminoles or Hurricanes having a recruiting advantage.
Yes, these are the down days for Gator football, times when not even Mary Poppins with orange-and-blue bi-focals could conjure up visions of championships.
After four wins and then two beatdowns against the two best teams in America — not to mention the demolition of two quarterback— there is a somber mood in Gator Nation. Maybe “sober” is a better word.
The metrics aren’t pretty. Looking at what’s ahead, the “Oh for October” mantra could become more than just paranoia. Next comes a better-than-expected Auburn team, in the sandbox on what they once called “the Loveliest Village,” and after that an open date, then Georgia.
In fact, of the remaining eight teams on their schedule, the 4-2 Gators might have difficultly gleaning better than a 7-5 record out of Muschamp’s first season. (Yeah, I’m giving them wins over, Furman and Vandy. And at least one more among Auburn, Georgia, South Caroline or FSU.)
Which makes one wonder about the 2011 Gators: Will they become “bowl eligible” before November?
How bad is all this in context of recent history? The last time a Florida team won as few as seven games was 23 years ago (in 1988 and ’89) and the last team to win just six was 25 years ago.
Though history tells us that the Gators and their fans are resilient, clearly Will Muschamp should not be considered as a write-in candidate for president, or even governor. He may turn out to be a great hire by Jeremy Foley, but leave us not forget about Ron Zook.
The worst full-season record Zook ever had was 8-5. And he wasn’t elected president or governor either.
(Listen to Buddy Martin’s Sports Page Monday-Friday at 5 p.m. on WOCA.com or in N. Central Florida at 1370 AM/96.7 FM.)