Jacksonville State, which has one of the worst defenses in the lower-division FCS, limited Florida to one offensive touchdown last week. Before that, a Louisiana team from Lafayette and not from Baton Rouge was all lined up for overtime in the Swamp until the Gators were saved by a blocked punt at the buzzer.
The best thing for Florida would be for the season to end today, while those early-season wins over LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M still have some resonance around the rest of the country. Funny thing is, FSU has no interest right now in running down the Gators’ reputation.
Even at 10-1, the Seminoles need more help than an ACC title can give them while lining up for last-second consideration in any BCS implosion scenario. An impressive win over Florida, No. 4 by default in the rapidly-recalibrated rankings, is Jimbo Fisher’s only hope for a big poll vault.
No use griping about FSU being left on the outside of all this at No. 10. Only one ranked team has shown up on the Seminoles’ schedule thus far. Just wait, though, for the four-team playoff that’s been approved for 2014, when the culling of borderline championship contenders will be messier yet.
Even with the current formula of two top teams paired in the championship game and nothing more, there is no end to the possibilities that remain.
Just let Notre Dame lose to USC, an upset option no stranger than the Irish getting pushed into triple overtime by 4-6 Pittsburgh earlier this year. Throw in an Alabama loss to Georgia in the SEC title game.
Don’t say neither of those could happen, either, unless you picked Baylor to score 52 points against Kansas State instead of the other way around.
Go tumbling all the way down this rabbit hole and you can find almost anything waiting, including a Georgia-Florida rematch in the BCS title game. Think of that, the World’s Largest Outdoor Oops, but don’t think of it for long. I’m guessing that the voters in the BCS human polls would slip Oregon or somebody else in there ahead of the Gators before accepting yet another galling SEC rematch.
All the same, it’s actually kind of refreshing every now and then to look up in late November and know that whoever wins the national championship will look upon it as some sort of miracle. Even the unbeaten Irish needed a 1-2 upset combo Saturday to move into the BCS inner circle. Even Alabama appeared briefly to be locked out of its national title defense following a loss to Texas A&M.
The title game odds are much longer, almost impossibly so, for FSU and Florida, but since when has the tunnel vision gotten so bad around here that these two programs could run up a combined record of 20-2 at the time of their meeting and not bring an earthquake?
To snap FSU’s two-game winning streak in the series, the Gators will have to pitch something close to a shutout against a Seminoles offense that’s averaging nearly 500 yards per game. It’s the only chance the gummed-up Florida offense has of keeping pace, but the Gators did limit the Seminoles to 95 yards of total offense a year ago.
More weirdness clearly is in order, in this game and every other. BCS fever is far from breaking, no matter how much we twitch.