Friday, November 2, 2007

Dores and Gators

I told Dori I think Vanderbilt has a chance to beat Florida tomorrow in the Swamp. Girl thinks Boy is crazy: "We're not going to win, Jim." Admittedly, this boy has had a bit too much Kommodore Kool-Aid in the past. Vanderbilt is flirtacious and a known heart breaker, we all know.

Look at the last five years, however, and Florida has struggled with VU when they have had good or great teams. This year, they have a good team that has been beaten up in succession by Auburn, LSU, Kentucky and Georgia, with no bye week. Here are some reasons I think this game will be close and could go the Commodores' way:

- The Gators are hurt on the defensive line, secondary and QB. Tebow is not 100%. Florida's D is nothing like last year's.
- Florida has gone from competing for a national championship to competing for a decent bowl. Yawn.
- Florida is a good match-up for the Dores. I was at last year's game and remember thinking these guys aren't outclassing us like in years past.
- Vanderbilt has a speedy defense with strong cornerbacks, allowing other players to roam the field and hunt the ball. VU brings in the nation's No. 14 defense.
- The Dores look like they can finally cover kicks, as well as return them. Alex Washington and D.J. Moore are going to bring one back soon.
- We have receivers who can get open and make great plays.
- VU is 6-7 on the road in recent games, and have wins against UT, Arkansas, UGA and USC. We play loose on the road.

Of course, concerns remain:

- Our QBs haven't really extended the field with their arms, and our running game is one-dimensional. VU's Dean of Arts & Sciences is considering adding a three-credit class, Conservative Play-Calling with Professor Ted Cain. Stopping us is pretty easy, if you're well coached. The gimpy Gators are.
- VU's only bad loss this year was at Auburn, 35-7. The Dores looked lost against a charged team.
- Our QB and offensive line output has been sub-par, making it difficult to score copious points.
- We're prone to bad kharma against the Gators - the awful celebration call in 2005 and two blocked punts last year in the first quarter. The first five minutes are crucial to Vanderbilt's chances at the upset.

My astute seven-year-old son, unlike my wife, believes the Dores have a good chance. Several pundits on talk radio also are predicting a tight one. I see a very close contest. Something like, 27-23 or 24-17. I think the Dores have a 30% chance at the upset. The line started at an astonishing 17 points Monday and has moved down to 13-14 points, a significant move. The smart money recognized a bad line.

Final from Gainesville:

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