Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Tale Of Two Oranges

Most of the sports world (from Tony Barnhart in yesterday's AJC, to Kirk Herbstreit...and undoubtedly, Heismanpundit) are raving about the "genious" (misspelling sic to show ignorance of average CFB pundit) of the spread offense, and washing the "seedhouse" of Tebow (who may enjoy such things--not that there's anything wrong with that), overlooked in all this is that Florida wasn't exactly strafing a Steel Curtain-level defense here.

Combined, Cal and Florida scored over 100 points (or close to it, if you discount the special teams/fumble-recover TDs) and over 1,000 yds. of offense (which doesn't count the aforementioned non-offensive yards). That's bad for the Vols, but possibly the result of facing two buzzsaw offenses right? That's what ESPN says (well, mainly they gloss over Cal's totals because Tedford doesn't have Urban's Q Rating.) But Southern Miss, hardly on anyone's radar as a potential offensive juggernaut coming into the season, averaged the same yards per pass as vaunted UT QB Erik Ainge, and scored more points in the 1st half against the Vols than they did against the other UT, UT-Martin. UT's last losing season was somewhat salvaged (re: they were only a couple games under .500 when, in a perfect world, UT and Florida alternate beating each other for their lone win of the season) by a stout Defense. But maybe, just maybe, Chavis has either lost his mojo, or the drop from Top 5 to Top 15 (on average) recruiting classes has caught up with the Vols.

If this does wind up being Chavis's worst D, the Vols need to be reevaluated in a new light: they're the 2007 season's homage to Hal Mumme's UK teams. Far-fetched? Maybe, maybe not. UK had speedy, but not future NFL 1st round-picks hauling in passes from a pro-style QB. With the new WRs being broken in, Erik Ainge abely plays the Tim Couch role (with the years wasted under Randy Sanders not quite equaling the dumbassery of Bill Curry having Couch run the option), and while he's several doughnuts shy of being Jared Lorenzen's size, Fulmer is an able stand-in. Coker plays the Derek Homer, good-but-only-against-lesser-Defenses runningback role. And the D? Well, 41 points per game, and just under 460 ypg sure looks like an old UK stat line circa 1999 or so doesn't it?

And yeah, maybe this is just a Florida-hating Georgia fan (who has serious qualms about his team's offense producing on any consistant level) rationalizing away Florida's big win. But I was right about Tech and Boston College wasn't I?

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