Good Thursday morning, Dawg fans! Have you hated your Gator today?
Unless you're an early riser, by the time you read this, I will already be on my way to Fort Vineyarddawg, which is an advance outpost for Dawg Nation in the enemy territory of Daytona Beach, FL. I'll have Mrs. Vineyarddawg and the Vineyardpup in tow, and we'll be set for a nice day of hanging out in racecar-land before we make our way back north for the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party on Saturday.
Unfortunately, my regular WLOCP traditions had to change over the last few years, first when Mr. Park retired and closed his seafood restaurant on Riverside Drive, and then when his daughter's spinoff (just down the road from the original) also closed their doors in late 2013. That Mr. Park might be a Gator fan, but he made some pretty dang good seafood and gator tails, and he was just about the only Gator fan I know that was actually pleasant to be around at all times, even after they won. I would always go to Park's Seafood Restaurant on the night before the game, order gator Tails, and feast on the flesh of the enemy (while being fully decked out in UGA gear, of course). In later years, when Mr. Park came to recognize us, he'd even walk over and engage in a little friendly trash talk. Except with him, it was more often than not a contest to see who could out-Munson each other more. (And we've had some epic Munsoning battles, let me tell you.)
Then, if the game ended in time to get back before they closed (which wasn't too often), we'd race back and have some more gator tails afterwards. We might not have been beating the Gators on the field too often over the past 20 years, but the Vineyarddawg clan sure has gotten the better of them on the plate in that time. Now that there is no more Park's Seafood Restaurant in the Daytona area, though, we'll be relying on some other old regulars, like Hull's Seafood Market on Grenada in Ormond Beach. They've got a lot of them fru-fru restaurants around that area now, but when I go down to the beach, I just want some fried shrimp, some good fresh-caught fish, and on a weekend like this, some gator tails. That's not too much to ask.
But we're not here to reminisce about food and good times spent in the company of, of all things, Gator fans, for cryin' out loud. This is HATE WEEK, and we're on the downhill slope towards that time 2 days hence when the Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators tee it up for the 94th time. It's time to crank up the haterade IV drip to 11, folks.
For today's entry, I've decided to go over some facts of which you previously might not have been aware regarding the University of Florida. I can also assure you that all of these entries have been 100% fact-checked and are guaranteed to be true.* So sit, back, grab a drink and prepare to have your Florida hatred stirred up even further by these facts which the biased Gator-loving media would just LOVE to have you ignore.
* - (This is a false statement. But it is only partially false. By which, I mean some of the statements are true. And some are truly false. And the falsehood of the true statements have sometimes been themselves falsified. You know what? I hate Florida. Let's get this train rollin'.)
DID YOU KNOW:
- The landmark "Century Tower" on the University of Florida's campus was actually named in recognition of the amount of time it was estimated it would take to completely rid the original Lake City UF campus of the smell of opium. (This is the actual reason why Florida's campus was moved from Lake City to Gainesville in 1906. The media has pulled the wool over our eyes about this fact for nearly a full century. #WakeUpSheeple)
- Florida's initial football season in 1904 was such a disaster (0-5 record, outscored 225-0) that the school didn't even field a team in 1905.
- When UF did restart its football program in 1906, they played 8 games, but only 3 of them were against actual colleges, and only 1 game was against a college that currently has a Division I team. (That college was Mercer, and they lost 27-3. Go Bears!)
- The book "Farenheit 451" was actually intended to be a documentary discussing the average daily high temperature in July in Gainesville, Florida.
- After restarting their football program in 1906, Florida played 5 full seasons of football before they scheduled any games against a team that is currently in a Power 5 conference. (They played South Carolina and Clemson in 1911.)
- A University of Florida alumnus was directly responsible for the creation of the Star Wars Holiday Special.
- From 1909-1913, Florida's head coach was the noted United States Marine G.E. "Gomer" Pyle.
- In a brazen display of selfish, unpatriotic fervor after being humiliated 75-0 by UGA in 1942, the University of Florida declared war on the United States of America in 1944, during the middle of World War II. They conquered the Mayport Naval Air Station, the Jacksonville NAS, and Camp Blanding in the state of Florida before turning their attention to the north. Finally, thank god, they were repelled and dealt a humiliating (12-0) defeat by US amphibious troops in Norfolk, VA on November 24, 1945.
- The Gators have an all-time losing record versus the Indiana Hoosiers. In football.
- The Gators also have an all-time losing record versus North Carolina, Rice, Temple, and Villanova. They have played all of these teams at least 3 times. (And they've played Rice 8 times.)
- During the early years of his career, Walt Disney's primary competitor was a (now) little-known cartoonist from the University of Florida, whose primary character was Sherwood the Syphilitic Snuffleupagus. After Disney became famous, he crushed the career of this now-forgotten Florida Gator, and the only surviving remnant of his work is a minor character on a children's show on public television.
- The costumed mascots for the Florida Gators are known as "Albert" and "Alberta." Some people assume that this is meant as a play on the name "Al. E. Gator," but this is not true. The gator mascot was accidentally created in 1926 by two UF students who were originally from Canada, a man and a woman. They were not accustomed to the blazing temperatures and hot sun that is so frequently seen in central Florida, so to shield themselves during their first football game, they both grabbed green trashcans from the concourse area of the stadium, turned them upside down, and put them on their heads. The cruel students around them, oblivious to the havoc the sun was wrecking on their fair skin, started mocking them and insisted they stand on the sideline in their green trash cans all game, and they made them continue to come to games that year with trash cans on their heads. Eventually, the fans insisted that they be made to attend every game with trash cans on their heads as the official mascot. In a defiant nod to their heritage, however, the young Canadians insisted that the university name their "trash mascots" after the students' native home province of Alberta, Canada. And the rest is history.
- Before 1952, Florida had exactly 2 players that had been named to the All-America team. (Georgia had 17 All- s in that time.)
- Florida's original mascot was not the gator. When UF first adopted their official colors in 1910, they chose green and blue, to reflect the predominant colors in the swampland around which they were located. A poll was taken of the student body, and the mascot that won the vote was the Swampass, a now-extinct species of donkey that roamed the swamps of prehistoric Florida. Unfortunately, the "Florida Swampasses" name was not received positively by the wider fan base at the time, so the university administration officially changed the mascot to the alligator in 1911, and the official colors were changed to the orange and blue that we know today.
- Florida didn't score back-to-back wins in Jacksonville vs. the University of Georgia until 1952 and 1953, which were the 31st and 32nd games played in the rivalry, respectively.
- When the Gators pulled off a huge recruiting coup to bring a highly-touted young Tennessean named Steve Spurrier to Gainesville in 1963, it was actually just a huge misunderstanding. You see, as a senior in high school Steve decided to take a spring break trip to Panama City, and while he was there, he was approached by what he thought was a time share salesman. The salesman was very slick, and offered Steve a contract that only limited his commitment to 4 years, after which he'd get off scot-free. Spurrier thought this was a great deal, and he was planning to party in PC all the time anyway, so he signed up. As it turns out, that time-share salesman was actually a recruiter for the University of Florida, and he had swindled the impressionable kid from the mountains of eastern Tennessee into signing a national letter of intent to play for the Gators. Unfortunately, by that time, the binding contract had been signed, so Spurrier had no choice but to matriculate at UF.
- Prior to the 1977 Sun Bowl, Florida had only played in 2 bowl games outside the state of Florida. (Both were the Sugar Bowl, and both were losses.)
- After resigning as the University of Florida's athletic director in 1980, former head coach Ray Graves became vice president of Steinbrenner Enterprises. As in George Steinbrenner. As in the New York Yankees. Damn Yankees.
- Long before the University of Florida joined the Association of American Universities (AAU) in 1985, they had established a reputation for excellence. Going back to the 1950's and '60's, Florida had been long renowned as one of the top cosmetology schools in the country. Their extension programs were legendary.
- Since Steve Spurrier left Gainesville, Florida has only had its head coach named SEC Coach of the Year one time. It was Will Muschamp.
- Not many people know this, but the "Gator Chomp" actually originated as an old folk remedy to ward off malaria. So many people were doing it during Florida games, though, that it just seemed to catch on.
- A lot of people seem to think that Florida's marching band is named "The Pride of the Sunshine" after the Florida state motto. That is not correct, however. When the band was originally formed, the members just wanted everyone to think they were really bright.
That's all for now, Dawg fans. I hope these facts about the University of Florida have helped to continue to fuel the fire of hatred that we all feel for the flagship university of the
real-estate-scam sunshine state. I'll be back with a final HATE WEEK entry tomorrow, so until that time...