I lived in Gainesville for seven Homecomings and I think I drank approximately 511 beers during those seven weekends. Of course calling them weekends isn’t accurate. Homecoming began on Wednesday night and morphed into four straight days of debauchery. We would hit every party in the Student Ghetto and every party in Park Place, In the Pines and every other apartment complex. We saw multiple fights and were involved in a few. Curfew never came with most nights ending well past 4 am after a Waffle House run or a Five Star delivery. And yet, we always made it to the Swamp. For Northern Illinois and Southwestern Louisiana, we were there.
So that made the massive amount of empty seats at the start of the game a bit frustrating. Florida hadn’t played a home game in a month. We knew we had a bruised and battered team that needed some emotional support. Thankfully, most of the seats filled in and the Gators held on for a crucial win against Vandy that virtually secured a bowl berth. (Imagine reading that sentence five years ago.)
When you are a mediocre 5-4 team, there are lots of things to complain about. That attitude has been contagious as Gators fans haven’t limited their complaints to the field. Will Muschamp, Charlie Weis, transfers, orange uniforms, Jeremy Foley, Urban Meyer and others have incurred the wrath so far. Here’s one more. What the hell happened to the grass at Ben Hill? The field looked awful, perhaps the worst it has looked in 20 years. Was there a change with the head groundskeeper? Did the old guy leave us with seeds that looked better on paper than they have actually performed in the dirt? Does he need time to implement his new irrigation and drainage system? I guess we’ll have to give him a year or two before judging.
As for the team itself, the most important stride besides actually winning was the penalty situation. For the most part, Florida was disciplined and made few mental mistakes. Given how close the game was and how Vanderbilt basically did their best UF impersonation, I’m not sure the Gators win otherwise. But in the midst of this miserable season, we will gladly take it.
The Gators have a long way to go and so many issues there isn’t a point in listing them all. Now on to the Cocks. Spurrier is bringing a ranked team into the matchup and for those who haven’t been paying attention, that isn’t a good thing for the Orange and Blue. Florida is 0-8 in its last eight games against the AP Top 25, getting outscored 251-103. But after weeks of pessimism from me, I’m coming back a little this week. If Florida can play smart, protect the football and get healthy, they have a decent chance at ending that streak.
2. Oklahoma State
4. Boise State
11. Virginia Tech
12. Penn State
13. Michigan State
16. South Carolina
17. Kansas State
19. Georgia Tech
20. Southern Miss
24. Florida State