2010 Spring Preview
- No. 7
Teams That Will Disappoint
Miami and Florida
that will disappoint
The idea of a disappointing team is all relative. Ole Miss and Oklahoma State were disappointments last year, right? After all, they were supposed to be in the national title hunt and were supposed to at least challenge for their respective conference titles, but they weren’t even close to doing either one. Even so, going 9-4 was still tremendous, while USC going 9-4 was world-is-coming-to-and-end time.
There were teams like Illinois, who were supposed to be dangerous but weren’t even close, and on the other end of the spectrum, Florida, who set the bar at a national title, didn’t win it, and the season became a failure. Keeping in mind that there are different levels of expectations and different levels of disappointment, especially considering that only one team will be holding the crystal trophy on January 10th in Glendale (before taking it over to a Wal-Mart), here are the teams in each conference that are most likely to fail to live up to their preseason hopes and dreams.
ACC – Miami
Really, this is going to be the year Miami becomes Miami again. No, really, it’s going to happen. Really.
It’s going to be Da U again with all the excitement and all the dominance of the past juggernauts. The smoke coming out of the tunnel won’t seem as dated as a Member’s Only jacket, there will be national titles, people in the stands (for the Florida State game, at least), and everything will be back to normal.
Really, this is the year.
We’ve all heard it over and over again before each season since Randy Shannon took over, and it’s mostly been wishful thinking from fans hoping for Miami to recapture the brilliance of one of the greatest runs of excellent in college football history. But things have changed both in talent level and with the conference upgrade.
Shannon and his staff aren’t getting the elite of the elite, cream of the crop talents the old Miami coaching staffs hauled in. Now the idea is to bring in the players who fit the system and do the things Shannon wants to do, and while it might end up bringing some success, Florida is spending its time bringing in future NFL stars. The rise of the Gators to another level, and the emergence of South Florida, UCF, and even FIU and Florida Atlantic, who grab a player or two here and there, not to mention the national siphoning of talent from the State of Miami (as former head coach Howard Schnellenberger famously termed the area) has hurt the Canes and the rebounding effort. Even so, there’s still hope that the corner is about to be turned at some point.
Miami’s talent level might not be what it once was, but it’s still very, very good. Shannon’s classes have been solid, with the idea that things have been building to this year and beyond. A 9-4 season might be seen as a great stepping stone after a dominant win over eventual ACC champion Georgia Tech and victories over Oklahoma and Florida State, and now the expectations will be there to do more with a team loaded with veterans and led by a cagey veteran in QB Jacory Harris. However, the schedule might negate the upgrade in experience.
After getting a scrimmage against Florida A&M to start the season, the Canes go on the road to face Ohio State, Pitt, and at Clemson before dealing with Florida State. If that wasn’t enough, there are still landmines against North Carolina, Georgia Tech on the road, Virginia Tech, and South Florida to step over. A slate like this means that Miami might be good, really good, but the record isn’t going to reflect it.
SEC – Florida
At any other school, losing (arguably) the greatest college quarterback of all-time (Mr. Tebow), a heart-and-soul defensive leader (Brandon Spikes), one of the most productive corners of the last decade (Joe Haden), the best center in college football (Maurkice Pouncey), two soon-to-be starting defensive ends (Carlos Dunlap and Jermaine Cunningham), the best tight end in country (Aaron Hernandez), and the No. 1 target (Riley Cooper) would make the idea of a rebuilding year understandable. But Florida isn’t like most programs.
Because the 2010 recruiting class was jaw-dropping good, and because there are athletes to burn on both sides of the ball, the Gators should be just good enough to be around the national title hunt yet again. The backfield is unbelievable, with star recruit Mack Brown adding even more firepower to a running game loaded with talent, while John Brantley is a real, live pro passer who should add another element to an offense that relied so much on Tebow’s running and short-range accuracy. Considering Urban Meyer was able to win a national title in 2006 by throwing a slew of young players and freshmen into the mix, he’ll be expected to use some of the same magic again.
Ah yes, Urban Meyer.
For all the great things he has done, he has yet to go unbeaten in Gainesville and has had far more complete teams than this one. Even so, the expectations will be sky-high for another SEC East title with one brutal road game at Alabama, the LSU game at home, and nothing else to worry about the rest of the way for a team that’ll be more talented than everyone on the slate and every bit as good as the defending national champs.
And that’s the problem.
This really is supposed to be a season of change and adjustment (or call it reloading if you want to), but those don’t exist at Florida where it’s national title-or-bust from this point forward. Florida will be everyone’s preseason No. 3 team behind Alabama and Ohio State (or will be fourth behind those misguided enough to slip Boise State into the discussion) meaning the BCS Championship is there for the taking. Win the SEC title with an unbeaten year, or go 12-1 with the lone loss at Alabama and with a win in the conference championship rematch, and play for the whole ball of wax. It’s that simple.
But will Meyer’s health go in the tank again after the first sign of adversity? He hasn’t exactly handled himself well this offseason and appears lost and rudderless whenever Tebow’s name is brought up. Will the new recruits live up to the hype after constant reminders that true freshmen win national titles at Florida? Will this year’s team be as butt-clenching tight as the 2009 version that took uncomfortable tension to a level that even a Tiger Woods press conference can’t achieve? It doesn’t matter. Florida is supposed to win the national title. Anything less is a waste of time, and no one can live up to that standard.
that will disappoint