GAINESVILLE -- Just wanted to check in with you before tonight's game in The Swamp. I've been here since 5 p.m. Friday and have to say this place has been a lot of fun since I arrived. I've seen hundreds of Canes fans mingling around the crowds of Gators fans down University Ave.
So far, everything has been peaceful. I haven't run into any situations where I've seen any Gator or Canes fans getting overly excited or talking too much trash. This afternoon we ate at the Mellow Mushroom (off University just east of campus) and saw plenty of Canes fans in the place including 790 The Ticket's Jorge Sedano and Jonathan Zaslow, who was wearing a Miami Heat shirt (what else could we expect?).
Last night, after I got a chance to dig in on some barbeque ribs and chicken courtesy of Gators beat writer Joseph Goodman (Joe knows how to cook), I went out with a collection of sports writers including Sun-Sentinel Canes beat writer Shandel Richardson. We tried to get into this rundown place, but got rejected at the door because I was wearing shorts. It's the second time I've caused a little trouble with my dress attire when I've been out with Shandel. Call me sloppy, but this is Gainesville! Not South Beach! There were plenty of other people roaming the streets last night in jorts and t-shirts. And Goodman told me ahead of time it wouldn't be a problem.
As for Shandel, I nearly pissed my pants last night listening to him, Goodman and one of Joe's buddies argue about who has the best fried chicken. Shandel says nobody has anything on Bojangles. Joe says Guthrie's is the best. And Skinny (Joe's friend), says Zaxsby's (there aren't any in South Florida) is the best. I still think Popeye's chicken strips rule. What's your vote?
Anyway, I'm killing some time before kickoff. If you are in Gainesville for the game, share some stories. Or, even if you are back home, tell me where I should be hanging tonight after the game. I'll be sure to leave my shorts and t-shirt at home. I'll make sure Skinny leaves his Superman Tebow shirt on. He's an Alabama fan who is trying to stay undercover.
PS - Joe and I recorded a pregame podcast. It's not College Gameday, but it's me and Joe (your Herald beat writers for the Canes and Gators) giving you our pregame thoughts. Check it out.