Gator Envy is Everywhere

It's understandable for those that follow college sports and don't happen to be Gator fans. It's understandable for the coaches, trainers, and all whose livelihoods depend on wins and losses in college sports. But when the media goes off on a maniacal rant about the Florida Gators and the success they have enjoyed under its current coaches, it is apparent that success has reached new levels.

I call it Gator envy.

Radio sports talk show host and Internet blogger Paul Finebaum has evidently taken exception to Urban Meyer and for that matter everything Gator. In his latest Internet rant, Finebaum spouts off like a child that never gets to play ball with the big boys. He makes Meyer out to be this big oppressive ogre of a coach crooning that Meyer belittles former Gator football players, and that he masterminded the game plan for Utah as they humiliated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in January, and has a team full of criminals running around posing as football players.

Finebaum contends with zero proof that Meyer will be jumping ship to Notre Dame in a year. Even though Meyer has denied an interest in the Notre dame job, Finebaum contends Meyer was lying.

The timing of the article is a bit wacky. There seems to be nothing new presented in the article, just a bunch of old rehashed bits of stuff some of it accurate, some not. My best guess is that these are the dog days of summer and ole Paul was bored.

Let's visit the questions Finebaum raises.

"Meyer has become obsessed with success and power (see the blatant strong arming of quarterback turned talk show host Shane Matthews)," Finebaum spouted on a subject he certainly knows nothing about. "The lure of being 'the man' at South Bend might be too intoxicating for him to turn down."

The whole Shane Matthews thing is ridiculous. First of all, Meyer never mentioned Shane Matthews by name. Matthews has been on air multiple times denying anything was up with the whole situation. Still, Meyer's point has some validity with whomever he was talking about.

I don't want to misquote him, but Meyer was on a speaking tour when he talked about former players in the media that talk down the current program. All he was saying was that if you are going to talk bad publicly about the Gator program, don't expect special access like former players get. He didn't say they wouldn't be allowed regular media access, just not special treatment. A fair trade in my opinion.

Meyer has been very open to former players, hosting cookouts and inviting them on the sidelines and to speak to the team. I see no reason to allow someone that is detrimental to the current program to have inside access that could eventually harm the program. If Jack the Ripper was your brother and you knew it, you wouldn't invite him to spend the weekend with the rest of your family.

As for being "the man" at South Bend, I think most sensible people would content that "the man" at Florida is a much higher position than "the man" at Notre Dame. Urban would probably know since he has coached at both places and has had a huge hand at putting Florida on the pedestal it currently sits.

As for helping Utah, who cares? First off Finebaum somewhat contradicts himself in the article when he says on one hand, "Meyer knows he dodged a bullet in the fourth quarter of the SEC title game last year." intimating that Bama should have won the game.

Then he continues by insinuating that Meyer was a huge reason behind the big win Utah had over Alabama. So, Paul, were the Gators lucky, or is Meyer that good? The coaching fraternity is a large group of really separate fraternities. Guys are part of different coaching trees. Meyer helped out part of his coaching tree. Big deal.

Paul then laments on the controversial arrest record of Meyer's Gators since Meyer has been on the scene. Without rehashing the same things over and over again, 24 is a high number and too high especially for Meyer's liking. Even though some of the arrests have been bogus and a lot of the charges have been dropped the arrests of football players are a black eye on the university and the program. All of that has been acknowledged.

Still, a "great" guy like Mark Richt at Georgia, who parades his program around as a spiritual program with Christian beliefs, has had 30 arrests in the same time frame since Meyer has been in charge of the Gators. I am not demeaning Richt's beliefs or the Georgia program. All I am doing is pointing out the facts about another program run by someone that seems to be the go to guy when folks talk about how things are supposed to be done the right way.

My guess is that Paul will rant about Richt next week when he figures this out.

All of this talk from Finebaum is just rehash and embellishment.

There were some quite humorous parts to the article. Especially to those on the orange and blue side of the fence. I just love this bit.

"Besides, Meyer knows better than anyone that Superman (Tim Tebow) is gone after the season and Florida's reign of terror in the SEC will be over," Finebaum wrote. "Don't think Meyer isn't just a tad concerned about Nick Saban stockpiling warehouses loaded with blue-chip talent in Tuscaloosa. Meyer knows he dodged a bullet in the fourth quarter of the SEC title game last year."

If "dodged a bullet" means won by double digits without his NFL first round receiver playing in the game, well I guess Paul is right. The best part is that Meyer is concerned with Saban. Saban has a total of two conference championships in his 12 years as a collegiate head coach. We won't even get into his miserable stint with the NFL's Miami Dolphins. What exactly is Meyer supposed to be scared of? Meyer boasts two conference and national titles in four years at Florida. This after leaving Utah with a BCS Bowl win , conference title, and their highest ranking ever.

The resumes aren't even close and Meyer has the upper hand before. The truth is, Saban has directed two nationally No. 1 ranked teams against the Gators and lost both times. In December against Meyer in Atlanta and at home in Baton Rouge as the head coach of the LSU Tigers against the Ron Zook led Gators back in 2003. Yep, I see Meyer shaking in his boots over Saban.

As for stockpiling warehouses of talent, I am sure it hasn't fallen on deaf ears in Tuscaloosa that Meyer and company have landed two All-Americans from the state of Alabama since Saban arrived. William Green played as a true freshman at Florida and Dee Finley should be a big part of the team this year for the Gators. The Gators are also pursuing a hand full of Alabama prospects this year and Under Armour All-American Solomon Patton has already pledged for the Gators. That can't be fun to watch if you are Saban or an Alabama fan.

This next one is also pretty laughable on Finebaum's part.

"...President Bernie Machen, who just brazenly promoted the idea of Meyer getting a raise," Paul wrote. "Meyer has four years left on a contract that pays him well north of $3 million a year. He works at a school that recently cut $40 million from its general budget."

We have already shown that Meyer has a better resume in a shorter period of time. Saban makes quite a bit more money. Why should that be the case?

Lastly, what is the point of this?

"Meyer doesn't have to study history to understand that staying in Gainesville would be the wrong move," he wrote. "All he has to do is walk across the street from his office and ask Billy Donovan.

"Billy Who? Following an exhaustive search, I discovered he's still the head basketball coach at Florida. Remember, he's the one who won back-to-back national titles, accepted and rejected a job with the Orlando Magic (who just lost in the NBA Finals), and hasn't been seen since.

Billy Donovan is the Dean of SEC basketball coaches as the longest tenured coach in the conference. He has done more at Florida in his tenure than all the other coaches at Florida combined including winning two national titles. He is adored at Florida and has been a model coach in the SEC since his arrival and you have to spit on him while he is down. Down being 25-win seasons.

What's next, spouting off about Tim Walton because his Gator softball team only finished second in the country this year? Maybe you would like to sound off against Florida's women's basketball coach Amanda Butler for turning around a program on great decline and getting them in the NCAA Tournament in her second year at the helm?

Certainly Jeremy Foley is the king of all that is evil since he has led the Gators to their 17th SEC All-Sports trophy in the last 18 years. The conference finally dropped sponsoring the award because the Gators continued to take the title every year. Now the New York Times has to carry on the tradition.

It's okay to hate Florida. The Gators understand that others just cannot be as "lucky" as the anointed ones. Besides, it's not really hate. It's called Gator envy.

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