Gators lost championship hopes during losing streak
Florida will play South Carolina for the SEC East championship Saturday night, and nobody's more surprised by that than the Gators.
During the long three-game losing streak in October, UF coach Urban Meyer now admits that it took a lot to keep his players' spirits up. And after the 10-7 home loss to Mississippi State, they all thought the SEC East was most likely out of reach.
"That's the negative of playing with extremely high expectations,'' Meyer said. "There are too many positives, but there are some negatives. We haven't been in that situation and I think any time they see the light at the end of the tunnel - which our light is making a trip to Atlanta - then it just washes everything out. I'm not sure our team knew that after we had that third loss, that we still had a shot. And once they did, I saw the team start to come together.''
After the Mississippi State loss, the season seemed bleak, the players said.
"Not back then, not at all,'' senior safety Ahmad Black said when asked if he could have envisioned playing in a championship game after that loss. "But we always focus on playing one game at a time and taking everything one game at a time. So we did that, and everything fell into place for us.''
The Gators used their bye week to fine tune offensive changes, but even they couldn't have envisioned back on Oct. 16 being in this position.
"Honestly, no.,'' quarterback John Brantley said. "But since our new offense got rolling, I saw us doing this. . . Just seeing our offense, what it did the last two weekends, we're just going to keep moving forward. It's going to be a tough game, South Carolina is a great team. But coach Meyer does a great job getting us ready for big games like this.