Saturday, November 29, 2008

When these two teams get together, throw out the blahblahblahblah....

If you're watching college football today, and you should be (be a man and tell your wife to hang the fucking Christmas lights herself), you're likely to hear that phrase, or some iteration of it, a couple dozen times. Its old, unoriginal and bland but, you know what? Its largely true. Rivalry games in college football have a long history of memorable moments, game deciding plays and, most of all, monumental upsets that end up destroying one teams season while simultaneously reshaping the way fans look at the underdogs' otherwise disappointing season. Want proof of this? Simply look at the Florida-FSU or the Auburn-Alabama contests being played today. A win for either Auburn or FSU would both be devastating to the favorites and historically joyous for the the underdogs.

That, is precisely why I'm a nervous wreck for Florida's trip into Doak Campbell Stadium in just under 3 hours. I was actually supposed to be in attendance for this game but my girlfriend fell ill over the holiday and we decided against making the trip. Its just as well. If Florida had won I wouldn't have been able to share my joy with any fellow Gators I actually knew, and if Florida loses, oh God, I might end up in a Tallahassee jail for the felonius assault of multiple garnet and gold wearing rednecks. Sometimes, its just smarter to play it safe when rivalry games are concerned.

With that said, I've got some things to do in order to get ready for today's full slate of football, booze and hate so I'll end this with some notes on the rivalry game (Rob, feel free to chip in with some of your Iron Bowl thoughts in the comments) which will command the lion's share of my attention today. Florida-FSU, of course.

- I hate Tennessee, Georgia and Miami, but I absolutely loathe FSU, their fans and pretty much everything associated with the city of Tallahassee. I started attending Florida when FSU was in the middle of their historic run of top 5 finishes and decade long run of brutal ACC raping and pillaging. As a result, I spent many of my early years as a Florida student looking up at FSU in the national rankings and, more often than not, losing at the hands of the Seminoles to close out the regular season. I've never attended a Gator win in Doak Campbell and once had a beer thrown on me by a Nole who was celebrating a clinching score for FSU over Florida (not in Doak, at this shitty bar that's right next to Doak). So, you see, I fucking hate FSU with every fiber of my being. (Also, my entire immediate family went to or owns season tickets to the Noles. My hate is deep rooted and strong.)

- As I said earlier, I'm worried about this game. FSU was embarrassed last year in Ben Hill. They've lost 4 straight to Florida and they have a chance to ruin an otherwise amazing season for the Gators. You couldn't ask for more motivation for FSU in this game, or a better environment in which to exact revenge. If FSU comes out of the gate firing on all cylinders and the crowd in Doak gets behind them, I'm not convinced the Florida's offense doesn't revert to its early season form. (When the Florida offense is good, it is great. When it struggles its a colossal clusterfuck. There is no in between.) Oh yeah, there are also rumors on gator message boards (from reputable sources) that Florida is coming off its worst week of practice since the week before (wait for it) Ole Miss. So that's great.

- The announcers are going to talk a lot about Myron Rolle, and rightfully so. What he's done as an athlete and scholar is an unbelievable feat. But when the announcers start blathering on about how he has to decide whether to go to Oxford or the NFL next year, just go ahead and mute your TV. This isn't a tough decision. Rolle's a brilliant student with a bright future. He's also a very average safety with questionable instincts. He's lucky if he gets drafted before the 5th round. Percy Harvin has a decision about whether or not to enter the NFL Draft. Myron Rolle has a decision about whether or not he's going to start referring to cigarettes as fags or not. Sorry folks, these are the facts.

- You'll hear the announcers talk about how a lot of these guys played with and against each other in high school, which is true. However, the more interesting story line in this game is the number of Gator players who grew up as FSU fans. Guys like the Pouncey twins, Chris Rainey, Deonte Thompson and super frosh Jeff Demps. Florida has dominated FSU in recruiting in recent years and the results should show on the field as the game wears on. ( I look for Demps to play with a special chip on his shoulder and maybe even gets his hands on a punt based on this).

- Florida's defensive line is banged up coming into this game. DT Lawrence Marsh is questionable and his backup, Matt Patchan, is out. The rest of the defense is supposed to be healthy and they'll need it to make up for absence of the teams' most consistent d-lineman and its most active reserve. Besides Marsh and Patchan, the rest of the Gator team comes in to today healthy, but its worth watching the play of the aforementioned Pouncey twins to see where their heads are at after an extremely rough week for their family.

The Pounceys, as much as Tim Tebow, are the heart of the Gator offense and team as a whole. If they come out focused, inspired and ready to play, then I think the Gators can overcome the multitude of factors going against them this afternoon. If not, well, Florida fans will be talking about could'ves and should'ves next week in Atlanta.

33 comments:

rob said...

i'm much more removed from the intensity of the alabama/auburn rivalry in terms of time and geography than mark is from the gators/noles hatefest. that said, i'm completely familiar with the nervous tension he describes. with bama losing 6 straight to auburn and florida having such recent success, i might even argue that an alabama loss would be more painful to tide fans than would a florida loss to gator partisans. i will be more than bitter if those sister-fucking hillbillies salvage their season today.

Mark said...

In case I felt bad about missing out on today's game, and the festivities that go with it (I don't).

My sister just called to tell me its raining buckets in Tallahassee with the temps in the low 60s and a forecast calling for much of the same throughout the day. Yeah, Vitas' house, cold beer and a 60 inch HDTV sound like a much better way to watch this game.

Go Gators!

Mark said...

I agree with Robs point on Bama. From the Florida perspective, FSU is down and we don't ever want to let them up. Especially by beating us and ruining or NC chances. Also, the family connections make this game especially important for me.

Mark said...

Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg last night? Whilst in the club? What the fuck is going on with this asshole this year?

Also, I'd like to take this time to remind people that I once trounced Plax in a game of Madden. Fortunately, he did not attempt to shoot me.

TJ said...

I guess no matter how classy you are, a 45 pt trouncing by your in-state rival will lead to your (perhaps forced) resignation.

rob said...

whit and i are camped out in va beach ignoring our children and watching football. we quite enjoy mark's use of 'whilst' in reference to plaxico burress. cracking good show, sir.

Mark said...

Oh Georgia Tech...I think I'm starting to fall in love with you.

Alright, I'm off to watch some football at Vitas', good luck to Bama and Rob. And, God help me if the Gators lose.

TJ said...

Tip three back to the Irish losing by less than 50...

rob said...

glen coffee. right on.

rob said...

wilmington lost by 32 to texas a&m - corpus christi and delaware blew an 8-point halftime lead against seton hall. starting to smell like a down year in the caa.

rob said...

oh, and alabama's letting auburn stay way too close.

TJ said...

I just spent an hour building a lego blockade with a 5 year old, and guess what, legos are still fucking awesome.

Not awesome? Some sort of kids show called "Gerald McBoing Boing". One of you parental types want to explain that one to me?

rob said...

this is better.

rob said...

last time alabama shut out auburn was 1992. just saying. mark and i should have a fun week.

TJ said...

Bedlam indeed...

rob said...

yeah, this game is a whole mess of fun.

and the tribe with another gutpunch multiple overtime loss. building character one bad defeat at a time.

Whitney said...

The CAA acquitted itself fairly well yesterday in I-AA playoff action. Madison nearly blew it against Wofford, which might've put a temporary dent in their ascent to I-A, but they pulled it off. UofR, New Hampshire, and Villanova all held up their end; only Maine proved unworthy.

Mark said...

I'm due for one more pick so here it goes:

The Colts are rounding back into familiar form just in time for the stretch run. Cleveland's a miserable place to live and work this time of year and things are only getting worse within the Browns' headquarters. Quinn's out, Winslow's as good as gone and Romeo Crennel is already working on his resume (and still trying to figure out how to use that damn spell check). There's no way the Browns win this game but you can bet the house that Braylon Edwards will drop at least 3 passes today. By the way, does anybody else think that Edwards' use of 5-hour energy might be responsible for his inability to catch even the most routine of passes his season? Sure, he was never known to have the greatest hands in the world but this year he's been especially bad. Can being loaded up on energy solution possibly be good for the steady hands and focus necessary to catch passes at the NFL level? I say no fucking way. And no fucking way the Browns keep lose by less than 10 points.

Whitney said...

Colts 10, Browns 6.

Whitney said...

Plaxico Burress is going to plead not guilty to the weapons possession charge. Thing is . . . he shot himself with it. That's fairly incriminating.

rob said...

gators wear jorts.

rob said...

this whole highest scoring season in nfl history thing took a hit today, no?

TJ said...

Ollie Williams NFL Weather Report:

"RAIN"

rob said...

maryland/gheorghetown at 5:30 might be a little bit fun.

TJ said...

Fucking not reviewable? Fuck you Broncos.

Mark said...

At least we wear shoes with our jorts, Rob. Shouldn't you be beating your wife or bowling instead on typing on this fancy email machine?

TJ said...

That's better Thomas Jones.

rob said...

i do believe you're confusing our cosmopolitan and erudite fan base with those of our country cousins from the plains, mark.

what's the opening line - florida -10 or so?

TJ said...

There has been some very interesting officiating in this NY/DEN game.

rob said...

gary's really not gonna want to schedule gheorghetown after today. gracious.

TJ said...

Uh oh, someone get Tavaris his helmet...

Mark said...

Opening spread is -7.5 Florida, Rob.

amanda young said...

Are they twins? looks like the same face! lol! Amanda Vanderpool