After the Gators finally played a football game in the 2014 season, I wrote a column for GatorCountry.com subscribers. The game may or may not turn out to be historic, but it was a very easy win for the Orange and Blue.
Titled Sixty-Five Points for Seven Frustrations, this is how it began:
All is well in Gator Country this week as Gator Nation celebrates the ending of a 30-year aberration (a losing season for the Orange and Blue) with a sigh of relief and the giddy excitement of possibilities. The excitement of this season is heightened by the unusual circumstances surrounding it, circumstances that may be best encapsulated through seven particular frustrations attendant to the build-up of the 2014 college football season for Gator fans everywhere.
Well, what were those seven frustrations (in an nutshell)?
Glad you asked:
Frustration 1: Opening Weekend (the non-game);
Frustration 2: Muschamp Era Transitions (Floridians like seeing the football tossed around via the forward pass);
Frustration 3: Beasts of the East, Humbled (the most successful athletic program of this era suffers 4-8 season with a loss to Georgia Southern -- nuff said);
Frustration 4: The Quarterbacks (Gator Nation is completely exasperated with inferior quarterback play);
Frustration 5: Running Backs and Offensive Line (Muschamp got caught emulating the Nick Saban model at the very moment when its kryptonite appeared on the scene in the form of Gus Malzahn -- not good for a coach in transition or a notoriously impatient fanbase.);
Frustration 6: The Receivers and Tight Ends (2013 was the perfect storm here, need more be said?);
Frustration 7: The Defense (generally superior play has been squandered in the Muschamp era because the offense can't get fixed).
What was my opinion when writing that column? "All of these frustrations, every single one of them, would be exorcised in the Eastern Michigan game." And that was true. For all of one game.
Then came Kentucky.
Still, I am stubbornly hanging on to at least part of the sentiment expressed near the end of that column:
Jeff Driskel? A whopping 45 attempted passes, with 31 completions with one touchdown and no interceptions. Take your pick on what was most important among those statistics (I’d say the combination of 45 passes and no interceptions – that was what Roper promised, and that is what Jeff delivered). Most intriguing for me, however, was the other quarterback that stepped on Florida Field. A Florida high school legend that won two straight state championships and one mythical national title. A man with a phenomenal pedigree but remarkably little Gator hoopla who stepped onto the hallowed ground of Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and showed not only The (much-celebrating) Swamp but one and all: I am neither a wildcat quarterback nor a package quarterback, I am an elite quarterback, a pass-first-run-second quarterback, and don’t you forget it.
Treon Harris, ladies and gentlemen.
Two passing attempts, two touchdowns, 148 yards – a feat which set Gators and Gator Haters everywhere buzzing all over the universe. Yes, the mustard and ketchup crowd are in denial but it isn’t fooling anyone. Yes, the Canes have shut the hell up and are in full fear that a Dade County phenom with University of Miami ties is set to do his thing in Gainesville, F.L.A. Yes, my exuberance runneth over – but (until proven otherwise) I smell championships!
Until proven otherwise.
Come on, Treon. Make it happen, brother.