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Later, Gator: The Lone and Level Sands Stretch Far Away

Despite the hype garnered by the hated Gators in Gainesville, Georgia boasts the Southeastern Conference's premiere athletics program because Florida is demonstrably superior to the Bulldogs only in one sport: men's basketball.

Well . . . maybe not even there for much longer.

It's the same distance from the mansion to the outhouse as it was from the outhouse to the mansion, folks. Three years ago, no one gave much thought to Florida basketball and there's a good chance that the Gators are about to fade from the radar screen in the second-most lucrative N.C.A.A. sport.

Urban Meyer correctly identifies the number of years that the current period of Gator dominance will last.

As for the most lucrative N.C.A.A. sport, let's not forget that football is a game of inches and a single blocked field goal attempt against South Carolina was the difference between "Urban Meyer, coach of the defending national champions" and "Urban Meyer, coach on the hottest seat in the S.E.C. outside of Fayetteville, Arkansas."

"Blue Velvet" star Billy Donovan, whose foot-dragging over his contract extension grew increasingly Franchionesque, finally dropped the other shoe. Furthermore, an aside by fellow University of Georgia alumnus Mark Schlabach noted this interesting tidbit, to which I have added emphasis:

Even if the contract had been finalized between Florida and Donovan, it probably would have included a buyout of no more than $1 million. In fact, football coach Urban Meyer's current contract with the Gators includes a $150,000 buyout, which he would owe if he leaves the school before the end of the 2011 season.

Gosh . . . you don't suppose a hot coaching commodity with a long-term deal yet a low-dollar buyout might be tempted to bolt for the N.F.L., do you?

Go 'Dawgs!