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The Alligator Army Weekly Open Thread, Vol. XXIX

Florida was knocked down, but the season is not out.

Florida v Tennessee Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Florida lost its first game of the season. That loss was bound to be disappointing, no matter when it occurred, but Tennessee snapping the streak undoubtedly stings. And blowing a 21-point lead certainly adds additional salt to the wound.

But, all is not lost. There is a long season still ahead for our Gators. This is a team that most expected to win eight or nine games this year (and therefore also expected to lose three or four games). Tennessee was always in the grouping of those teams that Florida had a greater chance of falling to. While the Gators have obviously not looked unstoppable; who else on their schedule has? I’m not implying that I believe that Florida will finish the rest of the season unscathed, but that the Gators should have a fighting chance in every game they have left.

There were flashes of ability on offense on Saturday (mostly in the first half), and there have been such flashes throughout the season. The defense was stellar through the first three games but had a rude awakening on Rocky Top. However, there is enough talent on that side of the ball that the Gators should be able to regroup, and learn from and correct their mistakes.

I’ve always been an in-all-kinds-of-weather type of fan, and always try to be optimistic about the Gators’ chances. We’ve all made it through some stuff, to put it kindly, with Florida in recent years. One loss - in a rivalry, on the road, to a good team (yeah, I called Tennessee a good team) - does not a season end. (And I won’t even add “with a back-up quarterback” in there either, because I was, and still am, pretty pleased with the play of Austin Appleby on Saturday.)

I’m disappointed but not discouraged, and still more hopeful than heartbroken. It was a tough, and embarrassing, loss for the Gators, but Florida still has two-thirds of their regular season left to play. The season is far from over, and I look forward to the orange and blue being victorious again.

And as always, this Weekly Open Thread is for any and all comments on any and all topics, with the rules of commenting decorum still applying.