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What I hate about you: Florida Gators Edition


by Paul Jordan

I have to admit, I am in the minority of the Big Blue Nation in that Tennessee or Louisville is not my most hated team. It’s the Florida Gators. It’s partly because I live here and have to deal with these mullet wearing mouth breathers 365 days a year … actually that is mostly it. I know that a simple article is not going to change your mind and make you hate the Gators more than the Dirty Cards or the Thug U of Tennessee but let me plead my case and make my points in no particular order.

1. The emergence of Florida as a basketball power

Actually, this one is pretty easy to understand. To be honest, I was more than OK to deal with Florida’s dominance of the SEC in football.. Seeing that Florida is a football state, I realized that was the law of the land. Florida fans could talk smack about football all they wanted, and I could always bring up basketball. It was a perfect ying yang situation. They have football, we have basketball and the world is OK.

Then the true hatred of the Gators came when they infringed on my birthright and won back to back national titles… in basketball! It was tough to sit back and watch Noah, Brewer, and company bask in the SEC limelight that used to belong only to us. And the most infuriating fact? Gator fans treated the NCAA titles with the largest amount of indifference. I remember sitting at my desk during the first NCAA run and cringing everyday waiting for the Gator fans to wake up and start talking smack about basketball. It never happened. Yet when Florida beat UK in football, I would be greeted by about a dozen Gator fans, trying to make my life miserable.

Yet, basketball remains an afterthought. To this day, I have never had a basketball conversation initiated by a Gator fan at work. They just don’t care …. and the fact they could not even appreciate back to back titles made my distaste of them grow even more.

2. The myth of “Gator Nation”

Simply put, there is NO Gator Nation, as much as Urban Meyer likes to proclaim it. “Gator Nation” consists of a bunch of mullet attired, jorts wearing, yahoos that like to get drunk and tailgate for 7-8 Saturdays a year. That is followed by multiple attempts at crushing beercans on their foreheads and yelling “Tebow” at the top of their lungs every 5 minutes or so. That’s it. Florida is a deeply divided state between Florida, FSU, and Miami fans and you are hardpressed to find Gator fans in Hurricane or Seminole territory. And vice versa.

Let’s compare Big Blue Nation and “Gator Nation”, shall we? UK sells out all their basketball games and travel especially well for basketball tournaments. At the SEC Tournament in Tampa this year, UK fans outnumbered Gator fans in their home state and the flocks of UK fans that follow the Wildcats to the SEC and NCAA tourneys is legendary. Florida on the other hand, only sells out their 12,000 seat basketball arena twice a season: for Kentucky and for Tennessee. For most games, an attendance of 10,000 is announced, but a large black drape covers the upper deck for almost all games. During the Gator’s second title run in basketball, UF could not sell out their 3000 ticket allotment for the opening round NCAA games in New Orleans. When the 8-0 and 10th ranked Gators faced Syracuse in Tampa earlier this year, the 20,000 seat arena was less than half full.

Turning to football, yes Florida sells out their football stadium for every game. And the gator fans turned out in force for the national title bowl games. But Gator fans could not be bothered to sell out their allotment this year for the Sugar Bowl. Kentucky does a pretty good job of filling Commonwealth Stadium for most of their games and do sell out on occasion. However those fans do follow their football teams to their bowl games, no matter how “minor” the bowl game is. Every bowl game is usually greeted by about 40-50K blue clad fans. Not bad for a “basketball school”.

3. Those Gator Villains

Tim Tebow is his own category here, but since this is a basketball column, let me run these names by you and see how quickly your blood pressure rises. Dwayne Schintzius. Andrew DeClercq. Teddy DuPay. Jason Williams. Mike Miller. Matt Walsh. Anthony Roberson. Dan Werner. Nick Calathes. Jai Lucas. Joakim Noah. Corey Brewer. Anthony Bonner. David Lee. Seriously the names just roll off the tongue. There are many, many more.

4. Those flip flopping head coaches

First, Billy Donovan, fresh off back to back NCAA titles, realizes that his meal tickets are leaving Florida and he promptly takes another job with the Orlando Magic. Keep in mind, Donovan had his people call the Magic and inquire about the job. The Magic had a coach then and dumped Brian Hill and hired Donovan. A few days later, Donovan threw a hissy fit and Orlando let him back out of his contract and he returned happily to Gainesville to miss two straight NCAA Tournaments.

Urban Meyer, fresh off two NCAA titles in three years, gets thumped by Alabama and realizes that his meal ticket is leaving to be a third string fullback in the NFL. He promptly retires “for his family and medical reasons” which causes his daughter to happily exclaim that she is “getting her Daddy back”. The next day, Urban decides that his “other family” is more important and takes a leave of absence, letting some grunt do the hard work and recruiting while he plans to show up around September 1 and reap the glory of his hard work while he watches Nick Saban win another national title.

5. Those horrible haircuts

Dwayne Schintzius

Matt Walsh

Joakim Noah

Billy Donovan

Billy Donovan Eddie Munster

Nick Calathes

Nick Calathes

Herman Munster

More Nick Calathes


Stay tuned to the Wildcat Blue Blog as we will release the latest edition of the “All Times Wins Leader”. UK got a big break thanks to the College of Charleston this week. Check out what UK and UNC have on tap for the next week.

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