In which a 40-year old Commodore supporter stuck in the throes of Sober October tries to unpack the results of Saturday's victory in a road conference game.
Honest confession time: I still haven't watched this game. I will be doing so during the day today at work, because screw it. My only way of telling what was happening was thanks to a dubiously-effective cellular connection deep in Golden Gate Park during Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and then on assorted trains and buses back across the bay. And it became apparent that the team only did well when I wasn't actually LOOKING at Twitter, so I basically packed it away and didn't realize it was done until I got a congratulatory text from my mother. (Vol fan. We don't get on too well) Nevertheless, my thoughts:
*Carey Spear is the bloodthirsty son of Loki and a wolverine. If that Honey Badger nickname is going idle, I think we could pick it up cheap.
* The playcalling in the first half didn't sound so hot, but it sounds like some of the tricky stuff finally started to work, with Zac running some direct-snap sets and even throwing a couple of passes - one successfully to Rodgers, which is a nice twist.
* This was a Same Old Vandy sort of win: great punting, great defense, exploit the other team's misfortunes (re: DGB and QB Franklin) and just enough offense to win. If you'd told me Zac would roll up a whopping great 72 yards, I would not have predicted a win. But hey - seven punts, ONE punt return. Pin 'em back and send the dogs. The combination of the Spear punt, the defensive push and the ultimate safety was a vindication of faith that this team could contain in a pinch, especially with linebackers that we feared might be the weak link on D this season.
* One punt return for us. Hopefully that's the end of this "we will never fair catch" nonsense. I'm willing to drop it down the memory hole; we shall never speak of this again, Coach. Also, Missy Misdemeanor Elliot would like her coat back when you get a chance.
* Quarterbacking...I don't know. I just don't know. The staff seems convinced that Jordan Rodgers gives us the best chance to win, and let's be honest, the Georgia loss is the only time we haven't been in the game all the way this year. I would like to see what ACS can do before next year, preferably against a legit opponent because we don't love them Hose (I WILL NEVER EVER LET THIS GO) - maybe against Auburn or UMass? I'd rather he have some solid reps before next year, because if it's not him, it means throwing Robinette to the wolves. Austyn is the future, and we should sharpen the sword before we need it.
* FACT: Carey Spear has a wallet that says "BADDER MOTHER !-ER" on it.
* This is another game where we didn't play our best ball - and yet this time we won. On the road. In an SEC game. Yes, QBJF was hurt and all that, yes this is a team coming from the league that defense forgot, but this is something we've struggled with at the best of times against anyone not called Ole Miss or Kentucky. This team is starting to figure it out, and if they ever get everybody 100% on the same page, well, the back half of the season could find the Dores running over people like a tractor trailer hitting a rooster.
* And this is a very satisfying win for me, because you just know that Missouri got their first SEC schedule, read up and down, and automatically pencilled in a W against us. And of course, we win and up goes the "Fire Pinkel" website. It's never that we might be all right, it's always 'how could we lose to THEM' even if you've never won a game in the SEC. Sorry 'bout it, Tigers.
* So we're getting to face our third top-10 conference foe of the season. Hooray. But here's the thing: I am not persuaded AT ALL that Florida is a legit #4. Top 10? Probably, especially after defenestrating LSU - but that wasn't exactly a blowout a la South Carolina over UGA, and lest we forget, that LSU team damn near lost to the worst Auburn team of my lifetime (and I remember Doug Barfield). The rest of the Gators' resume is suspect at best. Do I think we're going to win Saturday? I'm not putting any money on it. But neither am I betting on a loss. In Nashville, with South Carolina looming on the horizon, this is the trap game to end all trap games, and could easily become THE signature win of the CJF era.
* Seriously, I'm scared of Carey Spear.