FRANK FRANGIE, one of the great minds and authorities on college football, is a well-known face and voice on regional and Jacksonville radio and television. He is one of the best guys and one of my favorites in the business. Frank has been a mainstay at “Cocktail Parties” and once again is kind enough to offer his insight into the Georgia-Florida game.
This Florida team seems quite confident now, do you think they can make a run the rest of the way to Atlanta and post a great record?
They may seem confident, but it truly is a team with unknowns. They are 5-1 but have yet to beat a good team. The defense is all-world, one of the best I’ve ever seen down there, but they lost their heart and soul — linebacker Jarrad Davis — at least for awhile. I don’t think he plays against Georgia. Offensively, there are tons of questions. So, yes, Florida could win out and get to Atlanta, no question. But with Georgia in Jacksonville and games at Arkansas and LSU, that is far from a given.
Did you ever think you would see the SEC East as bad as it has been the last couple of years?
The East is probably as bad as I have seen it. But the truth is, of the seven teams, only Florida, Georgia and Tennessee have the resources to be elite for any period of time, so it’s not shocking. The West has more programs with resources, big fan bases, etc.
How do the Gator faithful feel about Jim McElwain?
Gator fans are very happy with McElwain. And they should be. He won the East in his first year and has them alone in first place in the division midway through his second. There still are some questions in the fan base about whether they will be explosive on offense any time soon. But the general belief is this is the right guy, building it the right way, and by year three or four, Florida will once again be elite. I’d say that is the feeling throughout the fan base.
What is your take on Georgia?
What a weird year for the Dawgs. They are 4-3. The good is they lost on a ridiculous Hail Mary by Tennessee and came up a yard short of keeping a field goal drive alive against Vandy. They are that close to 6-1. At the same time, they needed a fourth down miracle to beat Missouri and had to hold off Nicholls State. So they also are that close to being 2-5. I think the combination of a brand new head coach, who has never done it before, and a true freshman quarterback, playing college football for first time obviously, has been difficult. Both are learning on the job. I think in time Kirby Smart will be a terrific head coach. Remember, Nick Saban was 7-6 his first year at Alabama and lost to Louisiana-Monroe. And I think Jacob Eason will one day be the first pick in the NFL draft. But these growing pains will continue first.
It’s been since Florida in ’08, who is the next East team to win an SEC championship?
Great question. I really expected this to be a special year for Tennessee, but Alabama is just so good. If I had to guess, I’d say Florida will be next, maybe in the next two or three years. But really, who knows? But, remember, this stuff is always cyclical. In the decade of the 90s, teams currently in the East (including two years before divisional play began) won 8 of 10 titles. That wasn’t that long ago.
Where does Tom Herman end up?
I think Tom Herman is the next Texas coach and it happens right after the season.
What is your playoff?
For now, Alabama, Washington, Clemson and the Ohio State-Michigan winner. But if Clemson loses at FSU and then goes on to win the ACC, an 11-1 Ohio State or Michigan could squeeze them out as a second Big 10 team.
Who wins, and what’s the score?
Florida 31, Georgia 24. I think it’s a close game, not unlike Georgia-Tennessee. I have the Gators making one more big play.