San Francisco 36 New Orleans 32
Alex Smith flourished in Urban Meyer’s up-tempo spread offense at Utah. In 2004, Smith was a finalist for the Heisman. It all went downhill from there. Until 2011 and new coach Jim Harbaugh.
The San Francisco 49ers, with the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft chose Smith. The once-proud organization had been in free-fall. Things had been unravelling since owner Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. pled guilty to a felony charge. Control was given to DeBartolo’s sister and her husband. The degradation of the front office filtered down to the field. Losing 11 of the last 12 games in 1999 was the ultimate implosion. They made a brief playoff appearance in 2002 (which included a comeback from a 24-point deficit to defeat the Giants by a point), but had to wait 10 more years to make it back to NFL relevance.
Ben and Luther took their Monday lunch like most Mondays, at the Cracker Barrel where the Cosby Highway meets I-40, just a couple of miles south of downtown Newport. The topic of conversation was pretty much what it always is, on Monday or any other day – Tennessee Vols football.
After this season’s 31-7 pounding at the hands of in-state wretch Florida State, Florida head coach Urban Meyer had this to say:
“I can assure you we are going to rebuild this thing and build it up the right way and do it right. Obviously we are down a little bit. I didn’t believe we’d be that far down, but we are. How do you build a program up? You build it up with tough players, tough coaches and you have got to play better.”
And, apparently, you build it up with a new head coach.
Florida 31 Tennessee 17
18 Sep 2010 | Neyland Stadium | 102,455
Recap | Boxscore | Play-by-play | Drive Chart
Tennessee brought a 60-minute game to the Florida Gators Saturday afternoon, but in the end, it was an audacious call by Urban Meyer, and Florida’s ability to continually respond to the Vols’ best efforts, that led the Gators to a win in the SEC opener for both schools.
Alabama made 26 first downs to Florida’s 13, and converted 11 of 15 3rd-down conversions (11 of 15!) to Florida’s 4 of 11. The Tide’s rushing yardage swallowed the Gators’, 251 to 88 yards (63 of Florida’s 88 yards were Tebow’s). Alabama’s unheralded passing game equaled Florida’s touted Tebow-to-Company wrecking crew, 239 to 247 yards. And the Crimson Tide had possession of the ball twice as long as the Gators, 39:37 to 20:23.
This was simply Alabama’s best game of the season and Florida’s worst. By far on both accounts. But why?
Perhaps Tennessee Head Coach Lane Kiffin was correct when he humorously postulated earlier this week that both teams had great players but Alabama’s were better coached. Perhaps. Read More…
On our Saturday morning post, Breakfast Before Memphis, I referred to the $30,000 fine handed to Urban Meyer as reported in Dr. Saturday’s article, A brief history of the SEC’s descent into ref-related absurdity. The good doctor recounted the litany of questionable calls that have been widely publicized, spawning a conversation that has resulted in opinions ranging from “bad officiating is an unfortunate part of the game” to “the fix is in.”
Some who gravitate toward the latter end of the opinion spectrum don’t do so because they think that gambling forces are hidden in the weeds. Their premise is more sinister: the conference would like to guarantee that Alabama or Florida will play in this year’s BCS championship game in Pasadena. Read More…