Does anyone remember how to play football?

by Gary Shelton on March 6, 2022

in general

Sunday, 4 a.m.

You remember college football, right?

You remember the coaches, Bobby and Spurrier and Jimmy Johnson, Jimbo and Urban and Dennis Erickson.

You remember the Heismans, Tebow and Ward and Vinny. Jameis and Wuerffel and Gino.

You remember the national champions, and the way the teams made Saturday matter. You remember the Fumblerooski and the Fun and Gun and the military fatigues.

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Yeah, you remember when college football used to be a big deal around here.

Way back then.

I came across the latest bit of evidence how far the sport has fallen in the state of Florida Saturday. I was scanning the mocks for the upcoming NFL draft, and pretty much, they’re Florida-free. FSU’s Jermaine Johnson could slip in at the bottom third of the round. Florida’s Kaiir Elam might slip into the first round, but then he might not.

Except for that, crickets will chirp as the NFL picks between Georgia players and Alabama players.

Oh, it wasn’t always so. The NFL draft used to have five-six players from Florida schools ever year, including a top 10 pick regularly. There was a five-year period from 2000-2004 when Florida schools had a total of 28 first-round draft picks. In those day, NFL scouts wore a tan.

Nowadays? Not so much. The Florida schools had four first rounders last year, but that was the highest in five years. No one has sniffed the Heisman since Jameis Winston in 2015

The coaches? Well, two of the three were fired last year, and FSU discussed replacing Mike  Norvell.

The teams? According to the Anderson-Hester website, Miami had the 44th best team in the country last year. USF was 45th.  Florida was 68th. FSU was 78th. USF, which hardly seems like it’s trying anymore, was 119th. That’s a long way away from the glory days of Miami (five national titles), FSU (three) and Florida (three).

Is it cyclical? Is it a matter of trusting the right coach? Of finding the right quarterback? Has Florida watched Alabama establish ownership of the SEC, while FSU and Miami have watchd Clemson dominate the ACC?

Whatever, football in Florida has slipped from great to good to mediocre.

Frankly, it’s time someone turned it around.

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