One play can change a game. One play can change a season. It may just have done that for Florida and FSU. Both won games that can change the view of a season and fire up a fan base.
Saturday night, Gator quarterback Anthony Richardson did things that make anyone want to watch Florida play. He made big passes in big moments and ran when needed and by design and the Gainesville native may be the next big quarterback to wear the orange and blue. Yet despite all of his magical moves and running for his third touchdown against 7th-ranked Utah, the Gator's defense was on their heels as Utah quarterback Cam Rising marched the Utes down the field after starting at their own 25-yard line with 1:25 to go in the game. Eight plays later Utah was at Florida's six-yard line and in position for at least a game tying field goal or the go-ahead, and most likely, game winning touchdown. Rising thought he had an open receiver in the end zone and then suddenly saw the game change. That one play was an interception by Florida's Amari Burney. With the pick, the celebration was on and everyone felt good about the program and Billy Napier.
One play can change it all. If Rising hit his receiver and Utah went on to win, we'd still be talking about Anthony Richardson but we'd also be talking about how Florida's defense allowed Utah to march down the field and score and win the game. The talk would be that Napier's team is better but still has a ways to go. Some would even knock Richardson's passing yards, 168, and say he still needs to learn how to slow it down on the short passes. But the one play changed it all and now Florida is likely inside the top 25 with a chance to get into the top 15 with a win over Kentucky this week in Gainesville.
One play changed it all for FSU as well. The Seminoles were the better team all night in New Orleans against an LSU team that seemed lost, overpowered and lacking explosive plays and players for most of the night in Brian Kelly's debut as the Tigers coach. But one play again came into play. After FSU's Treshaun Ward fumbled on third and goal at the one yard line, LSU had to go 99 yards for a game tying touchdown with 1:20 left. LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels then went 7-for-8 on the drive and hit Jaray Jenkins on the game's final play and we are headed to overtime. Or were we?
One play changed it all when the Seminoles' Shyheim Brown blocked the extra point and the celebration was on for Mike Norvell's biggest win at FSU. Instead of questioning how their defense could allow LSU to go 99-yards down the field and perhaps losing in overtime, it became a moment where FSU fans, players and the media are now talking about how the Noles' are back and enjoying a 2-0 mark with a week off before a home game against Louisville.
One play can change a game, a season, a perception and a program and that may be what happened in Gainesville Saturday night and in New Orleans on Sunday night.
Nuggets: It is possible after this weekend's games that the state of Florida has four teams ranked in the top 25. Miami is already ranked, the Gators are likely in after the win against Utah(polls come out noon on Tuesday), FSU may also be in the top or certainly close and UCF could get with a home win against Louisville...If you haven't watched or listened to UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee sing while playing the piano- go do the social media search. Oh, by the way, he threw four touchdowns and ran for another in his first start since the Egg Bowl in 2019...Ohio State coach Ryan Day and quarterback CJ Stroud talked about earning respect and winning tough games. Memo to both, you didn't go 4-8 last season. Who doesn't respect your team?...Gene Chizik left the comfort of a TV studio on the SEC Network to return as Mack Brown's defensive coordinator at North Carolina and watched his defense give up six touchdowns in the fourth quarter and 649 total yards. The Tar Heels won at Appalachian State 63-61 but Gene might miss the confines of the studio where no one questions your Saturday calls...The College Football Playoff Board- made up of 11 university presidents flexed their muscles on Friday. With one simple zoom call they told conference commissioners who really has the power when it comes to expanding the college football playoff. After the SEC added Oklahoma and Texas, commissioners from the ACC, Big Ten and Pac 12 got upset they didn't get the Sooners and Longhorns so they changed their expansion votes from yes to no and gave a list of excuses that never made sense why they changed their minds. Then the three leagues wasted more time announcing an alliance of some kind. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of TV dollars were not flowing into the Power 5 leagues and G5 conferences. Along the way, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey decided to remind everyone how powerful he is and talked about no expansion any time soon and how happy he was with the current four-team model. Some even whispered the SEC might go off on their own and do a playoff without everyone else. Well, the alliance collapsed, the Big 12 got solidified, the ACC realized their Grant of Rights is pretty solid and the Big Ten decided to add USC and UCLA. Then someone told that group of presidents that a 12-team playoff might be worth about $2B a year. Let me make it simpler for all of us. The current playoff model pays P5 leagues about $103M per year. An expanded 12-team model likely pays those P5 leagues about $320M per year. So while commissioners had their egos bruised or others wanted to show how powerful they are, the presidents did the work for that group and gave us a playoff with a simple meeting...Now, as for the format, 12-teams and the six highest-ranked conferences and six at-large picks are nice. And remember, the four highest-ranked champions will be seeds 1-4. That means an SEC team(or anyone else) that goes 11-1 or 12-1 ranked 2, 3 or 4 would not get a bye if they did not win their conference title. But if you do go 13-0 and earn a top four seed, you do not host a playoff game. I don't like that idea at all. In fact, I favor seeds 5-8 hosting and then seeds 1-4 hosting in the quarterfinals. I would even go as far as saying only seeds 1-4 host and pick two play-in sites to host games. Yes, one site host a doubleheader with games at noon and 8:30p and another site that host a Friday night game and a Saturday game at 4:15p. Why should the top four teams not get a home game? Here's something else to keep in mind, fans will be asked to do a lot of traveling here. Some fan bases will be asked to travel to a conference title game and then potentially four more games away from home. Wow. Also, the decision to expand the playoff may make my prediction about the future of bowls happen sooner. While it's expected the quarterfinals, semifinals and title games will be played at existing major bowl sites, I think other bowls will be challenged to stay relevant and I predict most bowls(not all) will move to kickoff games and week 0 and week 1 will be filled will great matchups at locations fans would want to travel to to wrap up summer or on Labor Day weekend...Finally, how many bites into a hamburger can someone take before sending it back? One? Two? I witnessed someone take a third bite and think it's a violation. You can't take a third bite and send it back...
Final note: McDonald's sells about 1.5M Big Macs a day.