Florida's 31-7 loss Saturday night to Florida State was all of the season's problems wrapped into one neat 60 minute package. There were the fumbles that were not a result of hits, John Brantley floating balls into opposition hands, Urban Meyer and Steve Addazio struggling to get plays in, desperate 4th down plays, and a complete lack of organization and discipline. The sickness of the lack of focus has spread so far that even the equipment trainers screwed up by not bring longer cleats for the tall and slick grass in Tallahassee.
The Gators made it 7-3 after converting a short field in the first quarter, but that drive was not evidence of things to come. FSU outplayed the Gators, for the first time in seven games. But much of the Gators' performance was the same mistakes that have plagued them all season. The Florida offense turned the ball over on fumbles, a pick and downs, leading to 14 FSU points, field position switches and denying the Gators points when they drove the ball late in the second quarter.
The second quarter drive that ended with Brantley's interception was his Kiss of Death. After Jordan Reed rolled the Gators 60 yards, Brantley came in on 3rd down inside the FSU 20. His ball was beautiful, as they always are. But he didn't see the defensive back underneath and was throwing to a player surrounded by two other FSU defenders. Had Reed not gotten hurt in the second half by diving like the whale in the Pacific Life commercial, we might not have seen Brantley again.
Florida will accept a bowl bid, maybe the Music City Bowl, because they need the extra days to practice. In the mean time, Urban says it's time to rebuild. That's nice and all, but it starts at the top with Meyer. He needs to reassert himself and mold the program back into the vision of a team that wins because elite athletes are in positions to win by coaches who understand what they are doing. Don't blame one-armed Moses Jenkins for getting beat all day or Chris Rainey for fumbling the ball. The problems for this team started in the football offices and filtered to the game days.
As for the total season perspective, we will have more on that later this week. In the meantime, please be serious about this; Florida had won six consecutive games in a series that had not had that level of domination in 20 years. Things happen. Teams lose games. In addition, it is not very flattering to be a fan and blow this game out of proportion. There are a lot of tragedies in life and losing to Florida State is not one of them. A tragedy would be attending Florida State, not losing a football game.