I live in south Florida. Weston, to be exact. As you can imagine, lots of gators (we're literally on the edge of the Everglades). And, lots of Gators. The kind that bow to Gainesville and wear Jorts. In south Florida, like most of the state, it is pro-UF. They're everywhere...kind of like silverfish.
I overheard a couple of guys at my local diner the other day talking about college football. My interest piqued when the subject of the WLOCP came up in their conversation. These guys were about my age: mid-40s. They also were obviously Florida Gators. My attempt at eavesdropping was constantly interrupted by my wife as she was attempting her own conversation with me over such drival as, "When are you going to finish re-screening the pool cage," and "we got another letter from the homeowners association about our sidewalk. It's still dirty." I love you, honey...but please. The enemy speaketh: Know Thy Enemy.
The jist of the conversation seemed to be about how great their Spring game was. How great the offense looked. How great the defense looked...at times. Then, as if a fog of despair had rolled in, the subject quickly changed. "That Knowshon Moreno killed us. Absolutely killed us."
"Yeah, Stafford ain't that great (keep thinking that, buddy), but they've got Herschel, Jr. back there again."
However, they didn't dwell on this subject too long. Of course they brought up the "Dark Ages" (1990-2003) and all was right again in their world.
But these guys are old enough to know. They weren't born during the Reagan administration and only have a 15 year period to reference their entire football heritage. These guys were around when Appleby-to-Washington stung 'em in '75. They remember "4th and Dumb." The 1980s was just as painful to them as the 1990s were to us.
"No way anyone in this rivalry reels off more than 2 or 3 in a row. Parity," says one.
"Oh, I think we'll still own Georgia, but they'll sneak in a win every 2 to 3 years to keep it hot," says the other.
Then, the conversation quickly turned be to their defense and ultimately Knowshon. "We've got to find a way to stop Knowshon."
By now, my wife is ordering her third glass of bad Pinot Grigio.
"Sorry, honey." I say. "I just wanted to hear the thoughts of some of my contemporaries." She'll never understand because she's British.
"Well, did you enjoy their conversation?" she asked.
"Thoroughly." I said.
Folks, it is a rivalry again. Perhaps not in the minds of anyone born after 1980, but definately in the consciousness of a large population of Gators who know. If we can win again in Jacksonville, I think it'll make believers out of every gator.