Let's get one thing straight: I hate Florida. It's not just a simple dislike, a harmonious discord, or even a deep, latent enmity. I hate Florida with the fire of a thousand suns being stoked by the fire of an additional thousand suns. In a world where my choices were to cheer for Florida or go blind, I'd start learning Braille. Most of the time, however, I am (relatively) civil while expressing this intense Gator hatred.
For one week a year, though, I allow my hate to come out of the closet and be displayed in its raw, naked form. This is that week.
Some people are engaging in statistical analysis of the matchup (or even sketchy statistical analysis with an agenda... which surely has never been done before). Some people are simply trying to ignore the buildup, so as to not lose productivity at work. Balderdash, I say. I'm giving in and embracing my irrational, uncompromising hatred of everything that is the Florida Gators.
Today, I present reasons number 10-6 for why I hate the Florida Gators, and you should, too.
I was sitting in Sanford Stadium on October 28, 1995. In fact, I stayed until the clock read 0:00 in the 4th quarter, just because I wanted to make sure I remembered the pain. I personally witnessed the flea flicker with 5 minutes left in the game, and I personally cursed Steve Spurrier's name out loud when the flea flicker play resulted in a touchdown. And we're all familiar with the postgame press conference quote by Spurrier that he had called the flea flicker because he wanted to score 50 points in Sanford Stadium, because he'd "heard no one had ever done that before."
As the years have progressed, however, I have realized that my hatred of Spurrier that day was misplaced. Steve Spurrier was merely influenced and possessed by the ultimate corrupter of all corrupters... the Florida Gators. (But more on that in a minute.)
You know Urban Meyer would do the exact same thing if given the chance, too. He's already intentionally shown us up by calling 2 timeouts in the waning moments of the 2008 blowout.
Dang, I just hate these guys.
The ultimate example of Gator corruption can be seen in the very recent past. You see, there was this kid who lived in Jacksonville, Florida. He was the youngest son of a couple who were Christian missionaries in the Philippines. He was home-schooled his entire life, but was afforded the chance to play football by a relatively new Florida law allowing home-schooled children to play athletics in their home school districts. And he embodied all of the traits that we as fans love to see in football players... he was fierce, intense, strong, and had the heart of a warrior. Every day, he was trying to get better, bigger, faster, and stronger.
And on top of all that, he had a human interest story, too. When his mother was pregnant with him, she suffered a severe placental laceration due to an illness, and doctors gave her unborn baby a mere fraction of a chance to live. In fact, they recommended that she have an abortion, because her own health was in significant danger as well. (No political comments about abortion, please.) She, of course, elected to forgo the abortion and take the risk, and this child who would grow to become one of the most well-known football players of our time was born.
And then, Tim Tebow went to Florida. The qualities of "super-devout Christian" and "hardcore Gator" are already separated in my head as far as the east is from the west, so it makes even less sense to see a kid with Tebow's heritage screaming, chomping on the sidelines (and on the field in Jacksonville), and doing something so silly as crying on the sidelines after every loss he suffered in college.
I don't blame him for crying, though... it's the corrupting nature of the Gators. I mean, this is a kid who admitted that he had to run away from girls who were taking their bikini tops off when trying to get a picture taken with him. He tried... he really did. But Gator corruption is inevitable, and when you realize the nature of your corruption, and the fact that you've now lost, to boot, one is left with crying as the only option, really.
I have no doubt that Steve Spurrier, Kerwin Bell, Ricky Nattiel, Emmitt Smith, and many other Florida players were perfectly fine, upstanding individuals before they matriculated in Gainesville. It's just inevitable, though, man... Gators corrupt, and absolute Gators corrupt absolutely.
Sometimes a (set of) picture(s) is worth a thousand words. just look at this.
Now, look at this:
I rest my case.
I make it a rule to refrain from personal attacks in my writing, but I feel no qualms at all towards attacking a fan base as a whole (if the arguments are justified). Florida's fan base certainly qualifies as attack-worthy. Almost to a man, they have as a whole been the most arrogant, obnoxious, and classless fans I have ever had the misfortune to encounter. And I'm not talking just about Jacksonville, either... at work, at church, hell, even when crossing the street in a random midwestern city... I've been treated with no class by Gator fans in every setting over the last 33 years.
The pièce de résistance, however, is the Florida fan's extreme bandwagonny nature. Florida fans never cease to rub it in incessantly when your team has fallen to theirs, but if they're down by more than 10 points in the 4th quarter (or more than 20 points at any time during the game), they'll desert their team faster than rats on a sinking ship.
And I know that we get some redneck weirdos in Georgia that paint Bulldogs on their head and such, but I have never... ever... seen Bulldog fans that rival the likes of these:
I've also uncovered some little-known footage of the most destructive element of one of the best movies of the '80's, and he's a die-hard Gator fan.
Ok, so here's the story. In 1884, the Florida Agricultural College in Lake City, Florida, became the first land-grant college in the state of Florida. It was, by virtue of its position, considered the premier college in Florida at the time, and focused on the scientific training of agricultural and mechanical specialties. In 1903, the Florida state legislature changed the name of Florida Agricultural College to "The University of Florida."
Florida Agricultural College did field a football team, and the year following its name change, the University of Florida played and lost 5 games by an aggregate score of 0-255. This display of futility included a 52-0 thrashing at the hands of the University of Georgia Red and Black in Macon. (They also lost to Alabama, Auburn, Georgia Tech, and West Florida Seminary/Florida State College.)
In 1905, the Florida legislature figured they just had to dip their toe in the pool again just to stir everything up, and the University of Florida (the one at Lake City) was merged with East Florida Seminary (in Gainesville) and two other schools to create... The University of Florida (this time in Gainesville). The University of Florida (Lake City)'s President was chosen to be the new President of the new University of Florida (Gainesville), and the students and faculty were transferred down to Gainesville, as well. Due to the transition, UF fielded no team in 1905, but resumed playing football in 1906. They did not renew their series with the Red and Black until 1915.
Now, for some inexplicable reason, even though they took UF's name, president, students, and faculty, the modern-day University of Florida claims that the 1904 results against Georgia never really happened, and if by some chance they did, it was certainly not their University of Florida that would have been so roundly thrashed by the University of Georgia.
For being a bunch of liars and revisionist history makers, the Florida Gators have earned our hate. (Besides, we need every victory we can get against them to maintain our overall series lead.)
Tomorrow... the final countdown!
(Sorry this is obligatory)