Will the open date be magical again for Urban Meyer?

Five burning questions as we head into the weekend:

1. Will the open date be magical again for Urban Meyer? Florida has won 17 of its last 20 meetings with Georgia but on paper, Georgia should win Saturday’s game in Jacksonville. The Bulldogs are finally playing with some confidence after three straight wins. Florida seems to be struggling on so many different fronts. But the Gators had last week off. The importance of that can’t be overstated. It is also a fact that over his career, Florida coach Urban Meyer has been pretty good when he’s had extra time to prepare his team. These stats come from Brady Ackerman, my CSS broadcast partner. As a head coach Urban Meyer is:

**–5-0 after an open date at Florida.

**–15-1 at Florida when he’s had more than one week to prepare his team.

**–31-3 overall at Florida, Utah, and Bowling Green when he’s had more than one week to prepare his team.

When I look at the Florida roster I really don’t see a whole lot of ways he can tweak this offense to make it significantly better. It’s hard to stretch the field and open up running lanes because the receivers are pretty average. Getting Chris Rainey back might help but it won’t fix the problem. But a week off during the meatgrinder that is the SEC schedule is a very precious thing.

2. Will Auburn avoid the No. 1 curse? On Oct. 9 No. 1 Alabama, which had won 29 straight regular season games, lost at South Carolina by a couple of touchdowns. The next week No. 1 Ohio State lost at Wisconsin 31-18. Then Oklahoma, ranked No. 1 in the first BCS Standings, fell at Missouri on Oct. 23. Now the No. 1 crown rests on the head of Auburn, which goes on the road to Ole Miss this Saturday. The last time Auburn played on the road the Tigers had to kick a field goal at the buzzer to beat Kentucky. Auburn is going to win the game but the most important thing it has to do in Oxford is to make sure that quarterback Cameron Newton stays healthy. That’s because if Georgia can beat Florida, the Georgia-Auburn game at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Nov. 13 will start to look very interesting.

3. Can Florida State go on the road and win at N.C. State tonight? It’s a monster game for both teams and the winner will have the inside track to the Atlantic Division title. It will come down to the play of two very good quarterbacks, Russell Wilson of N.C. State and Christian Ponder of Florida State. Both will make plays. But how many mistakes will each quarterback make? That will decide the game. Florida State is 4-0 in the ACC while N.C. State is 2-1 (a loss to Virginia Tech).

4. Is Marcus Lattimore really 100 percent? If he is, South Carolina will have a very successful day at home against Tennessee. The Volunteers are struggling to stop the run, giving up over 161 yards per game (ninth in the SEC). Lattimore, who has 10 touchdowns and averages 4.4 yards per carry, sat out last week’s game against Vanderbilt after getting hurt and missing the second half of the game with Kentucky on Oct. 16. Steve Spurrier calls a completely different game when Lattimore is in the lineup, as witnessed by the 35-21 win over No. 1 Alabama on Oct. 9. If Lattimore can stay healthy for the next three weeks (Tennessee, Arkansas, at Florida), the Gamecocks have a good chance to make it to their first SEC championship game in Atlanta.

6.  Does Michigan State’s magical run end Saturday at Iowa? The Spartans, 8-0 and ranked No. 5 in the BCS, have a great shot to go undefeated and get into the national championship mix if they can win Saturday at Iowa. But No. 18 Iowa (5-2) is in a must-win situation after last Saturday’s 31-30 loss to Wisconsin. For if Iowa loses to Sparty the Hawkeyes will essentially be eliminated from the Big Ten race. Michigan State has not won at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium since 1989.

BONUS QUESTION

Should we ask the same question about Missouri? Mizzou (7-0) won a big emotional game last Saturday at home against then-No. 1 Oklahoma. But Saturday’s trip to Nebraska (6-1) is even bigger. If the Tigers, ranked No. 6 in the BCS, can win at Nebraska they would be all but a lock to win the Big 12 North. For Nebraska, who lost to Texas from the South Division two weeks ago, it is an elimination game. But if Nebraska can prevail, it could lock up the North by winning its final four games with Iowa State, Kansas, Texas A&M and Colorado. The bottom line? The winner of the Missouri-Nebraska game can probably punch its ticket to the Big 12 championship game.

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363 comments Add your comment

Charlie Bama

October 28th, 2010
6:31 am

First! (or second?)

Auburn Man

October 28th, 2010
6:38 am

Georgia fans are over confidant. UF is gonna be up for this game and I think We’ll see a flat Georgia team looking for an an easy win. I don’t like Meyer on any level but he’s gonna have his guys ready to play this week.

Charlie Bama

October 28th, 2010
6:39 am

TB: Thanks to you and Brady for torturing stats until they confess to whatever you might need them to say. I think the Gators problems are too deep and wide to comply with your theorizing about open dates –but then again, it IS Georgia-Florida. I think the Dawgs will make it happen this Saturday, but it won’t be easy …as both teams will trot out their mediocracy.

Auburn Man

October 28th, 2010
6:43 am

I think AU wins but it will look different. It’s time to start throwing the ball around some. We will not get past Bammer if we are running the “give it to Cam” offense. I love what he is doing but it’s too one dimensional. If he has the arm so many people say he has then lets see it.

Charlie Bama

October 28th, 2010
6:44 am

Auburn will crush Miss (Black Bear Rebels, seriously?) and Cam Newtaon will stay healthy (he made it this far, didn’t he? He is my vote for the Big Trophy). If Dawgs beat Gators, watch out for the Dawgs-Auburn match-up. And what does it matter anyway? Barners fall to Bama day after Thanksgiving, Thankfully enough. Auburn crawls back to Lee County; Bama wins recruiting wars in Miss, AL, GA. Aubie goes on to win a very nice BCS bowl and finsihes #4 in January.

Wow, that "bonus" report...

October 28th, 2010
6:51 am

…was really a tough one: “if Nebraska can prevail, it could lock up the North by winning its final four games with Iowa State, Kansas, Texas A&M and Colorado”

Well, DUH – and they pay you to write this crap – you, sir, are certainly no Furman Bisher…

Jethro Bodeen

October 28th, 2010
7:00 am

Georgia will win big in Jacksonville. Auburn is the team that is over confidant and will lose to Georgia. Tech might beat Duke but that’s the only win on the board. SC will flop just like every year.FSU will win and who cares what those Yankee teams do!

destin dawg

October 28th, 2010
7:13 am

Dawgs will show up to play 60 min…. Gratham’s Defense getting better every game .. Richt needs to open up the play book… I hope we’ve been saving some pass plays to our great TE’s…Tebow and Charlie Strong are gone….. Urban is in trouble…. Go Dawgs !!!!

MURPHY

October 28th, 2010
7:22 am

So UF and Urban have lost 1 game after having a week to prepare? So there is a chance for the Dawgs? Man I hope so!!!

MURPHY

October 28th, 2010
7:25 am

Watched alot of college football shows the last 2 days. No one picking UGA. Not even SEC Live last night.All say UGA hasnt beat a team of any caliber. I guess Florida has. Oh well we have a golden oppritunity to prove them wrong.

BAMA dude

October 28th, 2010
7:28 am

1) Not sure Meyer’s record after an open week matters as much as a potential change in offensive scheme to better suit his QB.
2) They’ll take care of Ole Miss
3) Probably but really don’t care
4) Hope so, he’s a talented kid that I would like to see in the SECCG healthy
5) I hope so (obviously) and think so. I am a Husker and a Hawkeye Saturday.

georgiadawg70

October 28th, 2010
7:34 am

Boycott Jacksonville, move the game to Athens.

JB

October 28th, 2010
7:38 am

We are the better team, right now but have to score early. If we can, the crocs fragile psyche will take a hit and they’ll probably bail. If we get down quickly, will get our normal croc mental block.

Needless to say, who ever scores first gets a big advantage.

HBTD!!!

Did a little homework-Ignore posters-same guy

October 28th, 2010
7:38 am

BAMA dude,

Had a friend do a little research last night.The poster thats been on the blog since friday that has been claiming to be an AU fan and really giving the Bama fans crap has used 25 different posting names. Here is what he has used so we will all know to ingnore him from know on: You will reconize him by his pattern in posting multiple postings one right after the other,and he is a dead give away for the content he uses.

The catholic hammer
busted
future engineer
out of whack priorities
common sense
common sense prevails
drstrangeluvjoyjr
stink rising
stink risingn
oh,boy could it be that I am
grandaddy slim shady
bradley caught in sack with schultz
rc cola
tech runs this state!!!
zero chance
reality
bill
wtf!!!
george wallace was a bama fan
george wallace was a tide fan
pot,meet kettle
bama drools
lswho??

This is all the same idiot poster-Ignore him.He will change to another name today-just watch the way he post and his same comments and you can pick him out.Ingore this idiot so we can talk football today!

Beast from the East

October 28th, 2010
7:38 am

Not sure about how the open week is gonna make us any better. We had all spring and summer to get the playcalling in line with the personnel and that didn’t work. How’s an extra week in the middle of the season gonna make that big of a difference?
That being said, it’s not like we’re playing some juggernaut. UGA is no better than UF is. They’ve managed to lose to every decent team they’ve played just like the Gators have. I have to admit they appear to be getting better while we appear to be getting worse. It’s really up for grabs this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if either team won.
Go Gators!

destin dawg

October 28th, 2010
7:39 am

YES !!! not fair.. the game needs to be played home/home or Atll./Jax…. Not Jax every year… ask the bookies ..it’s +-7 points or more… home game for Fla…..Go Dawgs !!!

JC

October 28th, 2010
7:40 am

Everyone I’ve seen is picking the Dawgs, which can’t be good because the masses are generally wrong. The open date is huge and I look forward to McGarity fixing our open date scheduling priority when he submits our future scheduling priorities to the SEC. Foley always has requested the open date before the UGA game almost every year, in his list of SEC scheduling priorities, and it has shown in the results.

B

October 28th, 2010
7:41 am

1 loss with more than a week to prepare…Michigan? Isn’t there a few more? Do you not fully stand behind those stats? Is that why you attributed them?

Beast from the East

October 28th, 2010
7:41 am

destin dawg,
Why was it not a problem in the 70’s and 80’s?

BAMA dude

October 28th, 2010
7:42 am

Off topic, but a little tidbit Bama can be proud of. Regarding Graduation Success Rates (GSR) from RollBamaRoll:

The overall GSR score for Alabama student athletes was 81%. Four of the school’s athletic teams — softball, and women’s golf, soccer and women’s tennis — led the SEC with perfect 100 graduation rate scores. For Alabama football, the rate held steady at 67% but falling just short of the national average but well above the SEC’s average rate of just less than 65%. Only Georgia (68%) and Vanderbilt (93%) had higher football graduation rates in this year’s report

When Saban got to Bama the football rate was below 50%. Richt obviously scores well in this area too.

Reality Check

October 28th, 2010
7:44 am

Here’s a history lesson. We owned Uf before 1990 because we had the week off before and/or we had Vandy back when Vandy was really bad. UF was coming off a war with Auburn and typically came into the game with dead legs and it showed in the second half of many of our game with them when we won most of the time. Yes, we were better sometimes but not always. Enter STEVE SPURRIER: he knew this was huge factor in the UGA tilt and had the open date moved which they have had 17 of the last 20 years. This, more than anything is why we owned them prior to 1990 and why they have owned us for most of the last 20 years. Granted, Spurrier was the best coach in football back in the 90’s, but there would not be a 17 out of 20 edge. More like 12 out of 20.

BAMA dude

October 28th, 2010
7:44 am

Yeah, Beast, I can’t see an appreciable difference between UGA and UF. Should be a good game and I’ll be watching.

MURPHY

October 28th, 2010
7:47 am

Moving the game from Jacksonville isnt going to fix losing to UF guys. I can hear the Gators laughing at us now for even mentioning that. No greater feeling than to beat the Gators in the State of Florida.We need to quit being panzies,man up and start beating the Gators.Move the game? No way.This is tradition to have this game in Jax. Go dawgs

BOSS GATOR

October 28th, 2010
7:47 am

YO PUPPIES….Are you boys going to wear a matching red bra to go with those red panties or are you going to make another bold fashion statement and wear a black bra ????….CBS wants to know…..

bad brad

October 28th, 2010
7:49 am

@beast from the east
Because in the 70s and 80s the Gators couldnt find their arse with both hands.

Tony may not be Furman Bisher

October 28th, 2010
7:49 am

But he is MR. COLLEGE FOOTBALL, whether some of you like it or not!

Realist

October 28th, 2010
7:49 am

Does Tony have an editor? Does the phrase “sentence fragment” mean anything to him? How did he get this gig?

bad brad

October 28th, 2010
7:50 am

@boss gator
We’ll wear red panties, you just show up as usual in your jean shorts.

Beast from the East

October 28th, 2010
7:52 am

bad brad,
Does that mean UGA hasn’t been able to find theirs for the last 20 years? I’d say no……he better team has won.

PC Easy

October 28th, 2010
7:52 am

I honestly cannot believe that this man is payed to write this article.

ATL is TigerTown

October 28th, 2010
7:55 am

I’m more worried about UGA than UAT. Overconfidence, thy name is crimson. I don’t know that Auburn will win out, but I think they will, I hope they will. I have a feeling that UF will really be up for UGA. The UGA-Auburn game will be huge in any case. If I were a bammer, I’d be worried about LSU and Miss St instead of obsessing over being inferior to Auburn. You’d think they’d be used to that by now. Even when they have a better football team, in the grand scheme of things, UAT always has been and always will be inferior. They’re cheap, like Walmart. On the other hand, It’s Great to be An Auburn Tiger. War Eagle!

Dawg_Mike

October 28th, 2010
7:56 am

The emotion will wear off after the first series on each side and then the x’s and o’s will take over.
FL has struggled all year and a week off will not help.
Tight battle, but UGA prevals 26-10

bad brad

October 28th, 2010
7:59 am

@beast
No it means that Florida started playing like it belonged in SEC. You can probably attribute a good bit of that to the success at Florida State. Bobby Bowden shamed the Gators into getting better or getting out of football all together. Prior to Bowden’s arrival both of those programs were pretty sorry.

jumbeauxtiger

October 28th, 2010
8:04 am

Like LSU, I don’t see Florida correcting their offensive woes over an open date week. Still I think the Gators and Dawgs are even overall and obviously whoever executes better and has fewer mistakes will win. I’m looking forward to our open week and enjoying the big game in Jax.

I really believe that Ole Miss has a real chance of upsetting the War Eagles so Auburn has to be ready to play.

It’s very possible that the PAC 10, BIg 10 and Big 12 all could have no undefeated teams after this weekend.

The rest of us

October 28th, 2010
8:06 am

Beast from the East

October 28th, 2010
7:38 am

Not sure about how the open week is gonna make us any better. We had all spring and summer to get the playcalling in line with the personnel and that didn’t work. How’s an extra week in the middle of the season gonna make that big of a difference?
That being said, it’s not like we’re playing some juggernaut. UGA is no better than UF is. They’ve managed to lose to every decent team they’ve played just like the Gators have. I have to admit they appear to be getting better while we appear to be getting worse. It’s really up for grabs this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if either team won.
Go Gators!

What exactly will you say on Monday if the Gators are beaten by this mediocre Georgia team?

jumbeauxtiger

October 28th, 2010
8:15 am

Bama dude,

You asked yesterday about Mettenberger. LSU has offered him a scholarship and 2 assistant coaches visited with him in Kansas on Monday. With the Tigers’ QBs struggling, he very well could step in and start in 2011. He is scheduled for an official visit for the Ole Miss game. He would be eligible to practice with the team during the bowl season in December. He has 24 TDs and just 3 intereceptions this season.

I heard last night that Saban offered him a scholarship this week. With McCarron, Sims and the new guy from Tampa’s Plant HS coming in, there will be a glut of quality signal callers in T-Town next season. It appears that Nick offered him so that LSU wouldn’t get him. Nothing wrong with that as we know the Bear did that so that other teams wouldn’t get good players. A recruiting analyst said that he believes Nick knows that LSU is a QB away of being a threat to Bama in the West.

MURPHY

October 28th, 2010
8:16 am

What exactly will you say on Monday if the Gators are beaten by this mediocre Georgia team?

Beast will not be a happy camper,but we Dawg fans sure will be.

5IML

October 28th, 2010
8:16 am

Florida’s offensive problems are not systematic. There are pass plays in the spread. The problem, in my opinion, is playcalling. Florida needs to pass to open up the run.

Based on who they’ve lost to, it’s hard to tell which team is better but, I’ll go with Florida this weekend.

5IML

October 28th, 2010
8:20 am

Jumbeaux,

What’s the mood in Baton Rouge this week? I didn’t watch the Aub-LSU game but saw a clip of the post game presser. Les looked distraught. Do you feel the Tigers will shake off the loss and come in mentally prepared to battle BAMA?

MURPHY

October 28th, 2010
8:21 am

jumbeaux,

Mettenberger’s mother works for the UGA Athletic Dept and has told some that he will attend LSU to play football.

MURPHY

October 28th, 2010
8:22 am

Jumbeaux,

This kid is a player-saw him in High School-LSU fans will be happy with him

The Most Interesting Man Alive

October 28th, 2010
8:26 am

Let’s see. UGA has beat 4 teams who are terrible, lost to a terrible Colorado team, lost to a good SC game by far worse than the score, lost to Ark in close game, lost to MS State big. UF has lost big to a great Bama team, then were grossly outplayed by MS State and LSU and lost because their Fieldgoal kicker was injured. Prediction here is once again Richt will be outcoached by the Urbanator and will resume his rightful position on the hotseat. And oh by the way and coming out of the stadium with 5 minutes to go in the game will be thousands of humpers complaining that the game should be in Athens.

Greg McGarity

October 28th, 2010
8:29 am

You fans have a Florida fixation and it’s not healthy. It sounds like you wouldn’t mind if we went 1-11 as long as we beat the Gators. Get a grip people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RxDawg

October 28th, 2010
8:31 am

“Georgia fans are over confidant”

HA! Naw buddy, losing to Colorado doesn’t exactly instill over confidence into Dawg fans. Well, at least not this one. Maybe you’ve been reading some of the blogers just talking smack for the sake of it, but I assure you they are not truly over confident. I had written this game off until Florida started self destructing, but now I only say we actually have a chance. Besides, until Georgia shows me they can beat Florida regularly, I’ll never predict a win in this game. UGA has some ground to make up with in their dealings with Florida.

3rdn8

October 28th, 2010
8:31 am

Gotta think that Mettenberger is a lock for LSU. Where else in the US could you almost be guranteed playing time. I follow the LSU program pretty closely. Despite all of the slams against the coaching staff, I think they’ve done an outstanding job considering they’ve played all year (and last year) without a true QB. Just goes to show how good that defense is, not to mention their Special Teams.

MURPHY

October 28th, 2010
8:34 am

RxDawg,

Over confident? Heck no-Im not even a little confident in beatin UF.Im with you-not drinking the Dawg kool-aid untill we beat UF.

Beast from the East

October 28th, 2010
8:35 am

The rest of us,
I’ll say congrats. I’m not one to make excuses. The Gators are not a good football team this year, but they’re still my team.
Go Gators!

3rdn8

October 28th, 2010
8:35 am

Is it me, or are there more and more top quality players coming out of the JC ranks. Bama has been successful with several the past few years; Terrence Cody, and James Carpenter come to mind, AU’s season has been made with the addition of Cam Newton, and Nick Fairley. Just seems as if this is happening more often.

Tony....

October 28th, 2010
8:36 am

a “meat grinder” schedule???? You have got to be kidding…

Florida has played..

Miami (Ohio)
South Florida
Tennessee (a terrible team)
Kentucky (a team that was throttled by an average Georgia team)
Alabama
LSU
Miss State

2 of 7 teams represent a meat grinder???

Lay off the Kool-Aid Tony… you are losing credibility… fast

King Gator

October 28th, 2010
8:37 am

Gators by 3, 30-27, but closer than usual. I like Iowa this weekend and we’ll find about who FSU really is tonight – NCST is tough @ home. Go Gators!