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Summer Doldrums

SummerYours truly is hanging out in Orlando these days, unfortunately for work and not for pleasure.

Some people come to Orlando to visit the theme parks, you know, Six Flags (which everyone knows is the biggest theme park in Orlando) and Walley World (the moose out front told me it was closed. Shame.) As far as I know, those are the only two parks around here.

No, I'm here to do some football work, visiting the UCF Knights for the start of their season. For those who only follow hockey -- I'm talking to our many visitors from Canada who may not know The U from U of F -- let me give you a brief primer on Florida college football:

The biggest known teams in the Sunshine State are called Florida's Big Three (Miami, Florida and Florida State). These three are hated rivals, with all three playing each other this season. Which, believe it or not, is rare. Florida will most likely beat both Miami and FSU. And it'll be by a lot. Miami (the Hurricanes, AKA, The U) and FSU (the Noles) are rebuilding these days. The Gators are not rebuilding by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the Gators are pretty darned good. Let's move on.

There are a host of other schools trying to crack the Big Three, or at least expand it to a Big Four, or even a Big Five. Those schools are all fairly new to big-time football.

The main contender is South Florida (USF), a school that didn't even have football the last time the Florida Panthers won a playoff game (USF kicked off in the fall of 1997). The Bulls (which aren't even close to South Florida since they are based in Tampa) are pretty good. They are in the Big East and are a rising star. Then there is Orlando's UCF (Knights), Boca's FAU (Owls) and Miami's FIU (supposedly dropping Golden from their nickname and going simply by the Panthers. FIU used to be the Sunblazers, which actually is more original, and thereby, cooler. But I digress.)

Florida has a pair of I-AA schools, FAMU (Rattlers) in Tallahassee and Bethune Cookman (Wildcats) in Daytona Beach. These two, both Historically Black Colleges, are huge rivals who meet in the Florida Classic every year in Orlando. I hope to attend this game one of these days. Great party.

Anyway, I think that's a pretty good primer for those who may not follow what is the true sporting passion of this state. Football is king in Florida, especially the collegiate version.

People have been complaining that I haven't put anything up here lately, but I've been swamped with college football (and I've been playing a lot of golf!) And like I said before, not much happening in hockey during August.

So there's your entry for the day.

-- Big news in Orlando today: UCF coach George O'Leary ended his boycott of The Orlando Sentinel. He's been upset with the paper's coverage of the death of freshman receiver Ereck Plancher this past spring. Sad story. Read more about it in Tuesday's Herald.

-- For those hockey folk who stuck around, I may have some stuff for you this week. Nothing major, but some stuff nonetheless.

-- I did not know Luther Campbell had his own reality show on VH-1. Where have I been? Good stuff from one of Miami's own. Suey!