While it was an uneventful weekend for South Carolina’s football team, Florida feels like the sky is falling after the last two days.
The Gators, who come to Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday to play the Gamecocks at 7 p.m., lost their fourth straight game on Saturday, and to Vanderbilt no less. It snapped a 22-game winning streak against the Commodores and put the Gators' streak of 22 consecutive bowl appearances in jeopardy.
“Unfortunately, right now we're a very fragile football team,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said on his Sunday television show, according to The Gainesville Sun. “When negative things happen, we kind of snowball it a little bit defensively, offensively and in special teams. We need some positive things to happen. We need to create those things for our football team.”
Florida must now beat South Carolina or Florida State, along with Georgia Southern, to earn the six wins necessary for bowl eligibility. The Gamecocks, who fell 44-11 to the Gators last year, are unlikely to show any mercy when Florida arrives in Columbia.
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South Carolina had its second bye of the season on Saturday, but still had a positive weekend, moving up in both the Associated Press poll and the BCS standings on Sunday. They are now No. 11 in the AP and No. 10 in the BCS. Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier had his usual Sunday teleconference scheduled for Sunday afternoon, but it was cancelled due to technical issues.
Muschamp probably is hoping he gets so lucky this week when his time comes to face the media.
“I hurt for our fans. They deserve better here at the University of Florida,” he said on his television show. “You can't spot the team the ball on the 10-yard line twice, the four and the 22 and expect to win the game. That just kills us in the game. Less than 200 yards offense (for Vandy). We gave them a short field. They had two decent drives. Four turnovers led to 24 points. You can't win. It's frustrating to put ourselves in those positions and shoot ourselves in the foot. It's hard to win that way.”
Florida, which was playing its homecoming game against Vanderbilt, was booed several times Saturday at The Swamp.
“(The expectations at Florida) never change,” Muschamp told reporters after the game. “I know what I expect of myself. I put more pressure on myself than anyone else can to do a great job here at Florida. I take a lot of pride in that, regardless of the situation or circumstances. We'll find a way. We've got to keep going. What we're doing so far isn't working. Keep doing the same stuff, you're going to get the same results.”
On Sunday, Muschamp added he does not expect his team to quit down the stretch.
“We're going to coach guys that will go out and practice hard and prepare the right way,” he said. “And if they don't, they won't play. I didn't ever question our guys' effort yesterday. I thought they played hard. They didn't play very smart sometimes. We need to take care of the football and create some plays for ourselves to get some positive things going. Our guys will play hard and prepare well.