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Why is everyone hating on the Florida Gators?

GAINESVILLE -- Back on the blog after a nice vacation. Watched a few movies. Saw a few beaches. Lost my wallet in the Intercoastal. Picked ticks off my legs in Alabama. Thought about building an ark after 10 straight days of ran. Good times.

Now I'm back in front of the computer. Good to be back. I'll be heading over to McKethan Stadium in a few to watch the UF baseball team take on Bethune-Cookman in the Gators' opening game of the NCAA regionals. Game starts at 6:30 p.m.; Check back for updates. Before I head out, I wanted to get caught up on some news and notes.

First order of business ... Why is everyone all of sudden hating on the Gators? First Mike Bianchi at the O-Sentinel wrote THIS. Then, Dave Hyde at the Sun-Sentinel wrote THIS. Talk about your Tribune Urban_meyer Company double teams. Bianchi is apparently still put off by Urban Meyer's robotic public persona. The thing about Urban is this: He has a hard time faking it. You know how some people are so phony that they can make you think they like you even when they hate you? Well, that's not Urban.

[PICTURED, The guy reporters love to hate. QUESTION, Will Urban Meyer ever start stroking the egos of insecure newspaper hacks? Let's hope not. Urban, I will lose all respect for you if you suddenly stop laughing at all my questions.] 

I'm sure some of you guys out there can relate to this. When I'm around someone I don't really like, I usually let them know it through body language, abbreviated responses and general lack of respect. Well, that's Urban.

As for Hyde's well-written column on the Gators' arrest record during the Meyer years, I've got a two-word response: Tim Tebow. The national media is so enamored with UF's cover boy that nothing else matters. Tebow is like Teflon. While Lefty is in Gainesville, nothing will ever stick.

Second order of business ... Has anyone been watching the NBA playoffs and wondering aloud this Donovan thought: Gee, I bet Billy Donovan is regretting his decision to return to UF right about now.

[PICTURED, A guy longing for his own Dwight Howard.] 

Donovan could have been the coach of the Orlando Magic two years ago but instead chose to stay in Gainesville and coach college basketball. Two years later and the Magic is on the brink of the NBA Finals and the Gators are having trouble treading water. Donovan lost star point guard Nick Calathes to pro basketball one year after losing power forward Mo Speights to the NBA. Now, UF's only point guard is 5-8 and the Gators are banking on a 6-foot freshman shooting guard to get them back to the NCAA Tournament. Don't hold your breath.

Third order of business ... Speaking of Calathes, many thanks are in order to the young Mike McCall for updating the blog when the news broke. Thanks, Mike. I've read through the comments and can't help but laugh. All of sudden UF fans hate Nick Calathes? The guy carried the team for two years and had to play alongside guys like Dan Werner, Chandler Parsons and Walter Hodge. Calathes paid his debt. Good luck in Greece, kid.

Fourth order of business ... So it looks like the Memphis basketball team might end up having to vacate its trip to the national finals in 2008. Note to Mike Slive ... beware.

Fifth order of business ... The current four-year contract for the annual Florida-Georgia football game is set to expire in 2010. If Georgia is content with its current subaltern status -- inferior to the Gators, Richtx boardroom pawn -- then the Bulldogs should continue conceding home-field advantage to its biggest rival and keep the game in Jacksonville.

[PICTURED, A man apparently content with coaching in the shadow of Urban Meyer.]

Look, I get it, folks. Save your hate mail for someone else. I'm all for keeping the game in Jacksonville. There's nothing like seeing half the stadium in UF orange and blue and the other half in UGA black and red. But from Georgia's perspective, this rivalry needs to be moved to a home-and-home series. (And that does not mean move the game to the Georgia Dome. Yuck! Nothing could be more stale and corporate.)

If Georgia enjoyed watching Florida dominate the Southeastern Conference for the last 20 years, then the Bulldogs should continue playing in Jacksonville. If Georgia wants to up its chances of winning the SEC East every now and then, then the rivalry needs to alternate between Athens and Gainesville.

And, please, save the monetary argument for someone else. Jacksonville's payout might be comparable to a home game for both teams but for Georgia, the money (and, more accurately, the potential money) is not the same as a home game when the rivalry is played in Jacksonville. How many SEC championships has Florida won in the last 20 years? How many national titles has Florida won in the last 20 years? Now compare that to UGA's success. UF's championships have equated to big bucks and the root of those championships was grounded in a permanent home-field advantage of the Gators' biggest rivalry game. Just one man's opinion.

Sixth order of business ... The No.1-ranked UF softball team won its first game of the Women's College World Series on Thursday, blanking No.9 Arizona 3-0. UF ace Stacey Nelson struck out 12 batters. The Gators play No.5 Michigan at 9 p.m. on Friday. ESPN will carry the game.

-jo-

Comments

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Great Blog! First of all, I don't see that much Gator hating on the national level, mainly I see it on the regional level where the rivals are. As they say, it can be lonely at the top! Bianchi is a master of controversy and that is the straw that stirs his readership numbers, so I try to take him with a grain of salt. Urban is not exactly a happy go lucky guy, he is down to business, and maybe that turns some people off. I have met him at several Gator Gatherings and he is great with the fans!! On Billy D, he followed his heart and no one can be criticized for that. I DO think his situation with the Magic did set him back a bit, when everything should have been so positive in the glow of back to back 'ships. But he didn't suddenly become a bad coach and he'll have the program back in the hunt in the future. And I believe most Gator fans, while disappointed, don't blame Nick for taking advantage of a unique and lucrative opportunity in Greece.

Living here in Savannah you get a different perspective. Georgians here love to go to Jax, it's the North Georgians that hate the trek. Jax has become a great advantage for us, but I've long held that if we move the game to home and away, it would let the Gators schedule one more strong team (UM? or UM and others?) home and away because that neutral site eats up the opportunity to go home-and-away with UM or say, a Big XII team. We could do UM for 2 yrs, some other good team for the next 2, and then rotate back to UM. Just a thought.

Jo,

If Billy Donovan had stayed with the Magic, there probably would have been growing pains that kept the team from its current success. Donovan can still get UF back on track; he deserves more time to rebuild.

Concerning Memphis, is it just that they may have to vacate wins, or isn't it possible the penalties may follow John Calipari to Kentucky?

1) Bianchi hates Meyer. Nothing he does is ever right. And Meyer is not a phony, which is what Bianchi wants him to be.

2) You are assuming that the Magic would be where they are with Donovan at the helm. That's a tough assumption to make.

3) Can't help but laugh RE: Calathes? Just because he was the best player *on* the team for the last two years does not mean he was the best player *for* the team or program. For all of his positives, he had a ton of negatives. If you choose to overlook those, that is your problem.

Think of it this way...just because Gator Clause is the best Gators blog from a newspaper on the net doesn't mean you don't make mistakes and have wrong opinions from time-to-time. :-D No one is free from criticism.

4) Even from Georgia's side, the majority of people that actually PLAYED in the UF/UGA game are in support of it staying in Jacksonville. It is only the FANS who have been getting their butts whipped that want the game moved. People forget that just a short while ago it was Georgia thoroughly beating Florida every year. NO ONE WAS COMPLAINING THEN. Home-vs-home ruins the rivalry and series. Terrible idea.


Good recap of what you missed while you were gone.

Dean,

Calipari apparently wasn't indicated in the original inquiry by the NCAA. I assume Kentucky and Calipari will stay above the fray. It's much easier for the NCAA to penalize Memphis post-Calipari than to go after Calipari a la Kelvin Sampson.

-jo-

Frank,

That would be pretty cool if that happened. I'll try and talk to Foley about it.

-jo-

GATOR HATERS?
I just saw the D-1 football schedule for the upcopming year. Can anyone explain how USC gets EIGHT national televised games and the current National Champion gets NONE!?

UF will most certainly play on national television next year. The Gators' SEC opener against Tennessee will be on CBS at 3:30 p.m. More nationally televised games will follow. CBS waits to set its schedule based on the SEC's best game of the week. Whatever UF games CBS does not televise, then ESPN probably will.

-jo-

Gee you really think where Ga Fl is played will make a big difference? It just means that GA would get beat on their home field rather than in Jax. The arguement that it is farther for GA really does not hold up. For a Gator blog this really is not all about the Gators!!!

Man, we are way too much on the same page in regards to #1. I read BOTH articles when they were written and was thinking EXACTLY the same thing.

Especially on #2 and the national media's love with Timmy (Not that they are alone as Gator Nation surely loves him, too).

In regards to Calathes, I definitely stand behind my feelings that I am glad to see him go. He's a hell of a player, but not a good teammate and fit for Billyball IMHO. I was glad to see Roberson go, glad to see Walsh go (not David Lee though), glad to see Teddy Dupay go, etc. Calathes is next on this list. Give me (from what I've seen) Erving Walkers, D Meat Hooks, and Browns all day in college basketball.

That being said, I think he made a GREAT decision for himself and his potential family's future.

Lastly, I almost hate to admit it but I've watched the LA/Denver game ONLY duing commercial breaks of the UF SOFTBALL team's game. Guess I'm a Gator Fan even before being a man, lol

GatorJoe,

No need to apologize. The Women's College World Series is exciting stuff. And for some strange reason I actually enjoy listening to John Kruk talk about softball.

-jo-

"And for some reason I enjoy listening to John Kruk talk about softball" ...

I'll tell you why, LOOK AT HIM ... most of us would have always envisioned him as a beer-league softball guy rather that a lifetime .300 hitter with 100 HRS, lol

Good point! Guess it was a subconscious thing.

-jo-

Just ask the momma's of the following people which schools has less police problems: Bryan Pata, Sean Taylor, Merriweather. Knickel and dime arress occur at all schools. It's the big ticket items you need to worry about-- getting killed or having all out brawls. Thug U is still in effect. Heck, even Elian Gonzalez knew there were safer places than Miami.

As long as Meyer keeps winning, reporters will find a reason to hate him. Spurrier used to say if they like you, it probably means your not winning.

If you think that UGA needs to move back to a home and home series to get back to winning, then how was UGA able to dominate the series in Jacksonsville until 1990? They didn't need a home and home then.

Different era, I say. Maybe I'm wrong. Wouldn't be the first time.

-jo-

Jo,

You write of Florida's advatage because we have been so good the last 20 years, but what about when Uga was beating us in the 80's? Did we not have an "advantage" then?
The only problem with your argument is that you failed to mention even one advantage UF has in playing the game in Jax. Seems weird that you are in favor of ruining a great tradition.
If it were to go to home and away, I would be in favor of moving our home game to Miami. If they thought playing in Jax was a pain, let them drive to Miami.

wow. the gators really do think that anything, and i mean anything, negative said about them is hating. the first one was opinion but the sun sentinel one was straight facts and was in no way hating. and how do those two articles offset the endless, mindless idol worship thrown at the gators by every college football analyst? college football live literally had a "florida week" in which they talked about stuff that they'd already talked about a billion times in reference to the gators and tim tebow. one of the biggest wastes of airtime i've ever seen. actually, this article kinda makes me sick.

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