What I liked...Hollywood Style

Usually I try and pick apart the little things in the game and share some things I liked and didn't like within each game the Gators play every week. For this one, there was just too much to like and really not much to dissect and analyze negatively. So, I am going to put on my Hollywood persona and just tell you why I liked that the Gators beat the Dawgs.

I'd like to say that it wall starts with the "celebration" last year. But, it really doesn't. I was born and raised in Jacksonville. I grew up liking the Gators and in a town that hosted the game of the year for the Gators during all of my childhood years. Of course, the Gators lost way more than they ever should have back then. It never made sense to me, Georgia would come down here and play the game, and the Dawgs would walk away with the victory.

In 1984, Florida snapped a six game losing streak against the Dawgs and the Gators stormed the field to celebrate. Thousands of Gators were on the field that day relishing in the victory.

I started college at UF in 1985 and the Gators went into the game undefeated and as the No. 1 team in the nation for the first time ever. Sixty minutes of football later, the Gators had lost 24-3. That was bad enough, but what took place after the game left an indelible impression in my mind of Georgia fans.

The Gator Bowl officials decided they would not have a celebration like the one the Gators displayed the year before and they lined the stadium with police officers and police dogs. Georgia fans would have nothing to do with it and although many were handcuffed and hauled away, hundreds became violent and made it to the field and were causing havoc. They were beating up cheerleaders and Albert, the Gator mascot. The guy was defenseless in the suit, until police could get over to help him. Georgia fans were tearing apart the metal bleachers and throwing glass and metal pipes on the field at anyone they could hit. It was what you would expect from Hooligans you hear about at some European soccer matches.

The Gators would win in 1986, but then not again until Steve Spurrier arrived. Spurrier totally changed the attitude Gators felt towards the Dawgs. That attitude stuck for all but one year during his 12 year reign as the SEC's best coach. His one blemish came in 1997, on a day when he lost all three starting linebackers and the defense was playing out manned for the first time all season.

When Spurrier left after the 2001 season, Georgia fans rejoiced as they thought they had their nightmare with the Gators end. No way Ron Zook could beat them, but indeed, the end was not near. Zook and the Gators went on to beat the Gators in his first two years. Only after Zook was fired in his third year the very week of the Georgia game, could the Dawgs pull one out. It was a 31-24 squeaker of a win.

Then came Urban Meyer. He is brash and a bit cocky, and he brought in "an offense that just wouldn't work in the SEC". Meyer was able to win in 2005, his first year despite having a square peg trying to fit in a round hole at quarterback. In 2006, Meyer beat Georgia again and went on to win the National Championship.

Then last year, it happened. A Georgia coach got so desperate, he had to break the rules to try and win a game. The "celebration", as it has been chronicled was talked about ever since last season's game and all the way up until the conclusion of this one.

I don't really blame Richt I guess. It was an act of desperation. I remember feeling all of those years of despair with the Gators as the Dawgs raced out to a 43-22-2 record in the series. I am sure given the option many fans before this would have done something like run on the field to celebrate a touchdown if they thought they wouldn't get eaten alive by the local police. But Head Coach mark Richt knowingly broke the rules to try and break the jinx.

The Gators did lose the game, but again, a closer look at what went on before and during the game and the Dawgs have to be wondering if they were just lucky to get the Gators when they did. The Gators suffered huge injuries to defensive personnel that were already not playing very well. But, the most important issue last season was the health of Tim Tebow. Tebow had a shoulder injury that would not allow him to play the same kind of ball that eventually led him to be the Heisman Trophy winner. It was enough of a kink in the offensive game plan that the Gators really struggled on offense for really only the second time all season.

The Dawg fans showed up this year like none other I can remember. After their Sugar Bowl demolition of Hawaii, flags and sweaters with red and black displayed proudly by the fan base. Too tell you the truth, it was quite nauseating, and actually a bit funny at the same time given the big scope of things.

This year was just plain easy. The Gators came in as healthy as they have been all season. Tebow had no ill effects of slight injuries he had previously this season, and the defense was finally playing up to the caliber that a Florida defense should play. The Gators won huge with a 49-10 victory over a bumbling and stumbling but more or less a veteran team compared to that of Florida.

Do nothing right in the third quarter as the Gators scored 21 points on the Dawg players that were supposed to be the foundation of their team. Two interceptions by "future all-pro" quarterback Matt Stafford and a fumble by future "hall of famer" Knowshon Moreno allowed the Gators to score quickly and often in the third.

Now Richt is still left with a legacy that maybe no other coach in Georgia history has ever had. Mark Richt, the current Georgia head coach, is the proud owner of losing records against three Gator Head Coaches. Steve Spurrier went 1-0, Ron Zook went 2-1, and Urban Meyer has gone 3-1, SO FAR.

You see the problem is, even the three wins the Dawgs have accumulated in 19 years have come with sort of an asterisk by them as we have explained above. In 1997, all three Gator starting linebackers missed the game. In 2004, Ron Zook was fired five days earlier and he was coaching a team in limbo. In 2007, Tim Tebow could barely lift his right arm and the entire offense run up until that point in the season had to be scrapped. The fact is, unless given a serious handicap, the Dawgs have lost any idea of how to beat the Gators.

In 2006 they remembered all of that, and wondered if ever there would come a day. In 2007, all of their trials and tribulations went away for a year. In 2008, Urban Meyer up 49-10 and with the ball, called two time outs in the last minute of the game to remind them...this again wasn't their year.

And the Gators were the only ones left in the stands...as usual.


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