My unabiding hatred for the Florida Gators is well known, and I'm happy to report that it is shared by many in Bulldog Nation. I am sometimes asked, though, why we hate the Sunshine State Saurians with such ebullient vivacity. After all, we have a two-year win streak going against our reptilian rivals, and they haven't been the best team the SEC has to offer for several years now. Therefore, I am going to take some time this week to once again aggregate my acrimonious aversion to our apex predator rivals to the south.
Gator Hater Reason #1: Nobody likes Gators, Not Even Gators.
A bulldog is a creature that manages to be both cute, friendly, and still have a ferocious, noble air about him. People love Bulldogs. A gator, however, is scaly, ugly, and lord help you if you get close to one, 'cause you'll probably be coming away from the encounter missing an extremity and/or a heartbeat.
The North American alligator is known taxonomically as Alligator Mississippiensis. As in, named after the Mississippi. It's not called Alligator Withlacoochus or Alligator Gainesvillius. Also, the prime ecological benefit provided by these reptiles is pest control in the wild, most notably nutria and muskrat. Over 25% of the U.S. alligator, population, however, is in Florida (the largest such concentration), while the nation's largest wild nutria population is in Louisiana. (And this is even accounting for the loss of wild nutria due to gumbo preparation at LSU tailgates.)
Those dang gators can't even figure out where they're useful and go there. Instead, they just hang out in a sunny, swampy place filled with people who can't figure out why their pet dogs/cats/ferrets just keep disappearing without a trace.
Why would the University of Florida choose such a menace to represent their sports teams? Well, let's think about this logically for a moment:
- The state in which their university is located is filled with transplanted yankees.
- They've actively run off their two most successful coaches when those coaches were at the height of their success (Spurrier and Meyer).
- Those coaches they ran off? Yeah, nobody else likes them, either (except about half the fan bases at their newly-acquired employers, and that's more like self-serving toleration, which is not mutually exclusive with hate).
- Of three of the most iconic, famous recent Gator players, one is an accused murder, another was caught on video using a racist slur, and the third is a savant at being sickeningly virtuous while simultaneously being one of the worst drags on a professional football roster in recent memory. That third player has actually managed to be simultaneously the player most fawned-over and the most lambasted at ESPN, which is truly a contemptible feat.
You know what... maybe Florida chose well, after all. Nobody likes Gators, not even Gators.
Tomorrow: More reasons to hate the Orange and Blue.