Blog swappin’ the WLOCP

Ed. note: The guys at Saurian Sagacity, a great Gator blog (and, yes, that is possible) you will find linked from my site, came up with the idea of exchanging posts with bloggers representing each of Florida’s opponents this season. What follows is their thoughts on our rivalry (my contribution to their site can be found here). As I’m heading out of town this morning and won’t have access to my blog until Sunday, this will be the last post here for a couple of days. Feel free to use the comments section to this post as an opportunity to say some things about what the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party means to you.

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Well Dawg fans, it is that time again.

Time for the annual bacchanalian festival known the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail party (Unless, of course you are the UGA president). And somewhere in the middle of this drunken, debauched celebration of southern youth, a football game will break out.

I entered the University of Florida in 1984 and, naïve fool that I was at the time, did not take advantage of my first two opportunities to visit Jacksonville for the Florida-Georgia contest. Those first two games, watched on television from Gainesville, were pretty consequential. In 1984, after 6 straight losses to the Dawgs, the number 10 Gators stunned number 8 Georgia 27-0. Florida would win its first SEC title that year (later taken from us – oh the humanity!).

In 1985, Florida achieved its first and ever so brief number 1 AP ranking by beating Auburn. The following week, Georgia humbled the Gators at the WLOCP 24-3. It was that moment my Bulldog hate began to foment.

It was also after that game I became curious about what those beer sodden Gator fans were returning from in Jacksonville. I figured nothing went on there that didn’t go on in Gainesville. WRONG, WRONG a thousand times WRONG! I went for the first time in 1986. I’ve been back 21 consecutive times since (22 will be this year).

While we are there, let’s take a moment to recognize the fortunate experience both Gators and Dawgs get to experience in the annual Jacksonville contest. With perhaps the exception of the “Red River Shootout”, no other set of college fans gets to share in such a totally unique football encounter on an annual basis. I have friends from those “other” Florida schools that forsake their own games on that last Saturday in October just to attend the WLOCP.

Enough of the pleasantries. Let’s get to why I “hate” Georgia.

Well, the 1980’s for one. My first experiences with the Bulldogs went like this – (1984-1989) – Win, Loss, Win, Loss, Loss, Loss. Those last three losses happen to coincide with the career of one Emmitt Smith, who never beat Georgia in his career at Florida. After that last Georgia game, an emotional Smith broke down on the sideline, knowing a victory over Georgia was not to be.

Recently, a Dawg friend reminded me of the moment with the following, “We made Emmitt cry.” Well, I suppose you did . Thanks for the memories.

Plus, is there anything more annoying than the now ancient history Belue to Scott play? It was 1980 people! Even though the play happened at a time I was only vaguely aware about college football (8th grade), I feel like I know Larry Munson’s call by heart (which surely warms some of your Bulldog hearts as well). Two events in particular in regard to “The Play” stand out in my mind –

- At the first SEC Championship game held in Atlanta, I was walking around the “SEC Experience” looking at the booths set up by each member school. Most were polished, multimedia presentations about the school and their football history. Except one. It was two young yahoos sitting in an empty booth with only a TV set. A TV set that played the Belue to Scott play over and over again, while the yahoos laughed hysterically. Such was UGA’s SEC Experience display.

- A year or so ago in Jacksonville I was standing in the Hooters at the landing when pre-game coverage showed “The Play”. Some young Georgia fan stood up, held his hat to his chest, and began to …cry. He said aloud (stating the obvious) “It still makes me cry.” I asked him his age. He responded “21” (he may have been overstating for the legal limit). “So, it was about 5 years before you were born?” said I, “How could it “still” make you cry?”

Georgia fans, sheesh.

Of course what makes the contest so great is the mutual “hate”. Georgia fans love to point out the overall record of 45-37-2 (and closing fast), but most are unaware that Florida has the winning record for the past 71 years. Naturally we Gators don’t mind pointing out the more recent 15-2 record, a number that must be unbelievably galling to a program as proud as Georgia’s.

Think of it this way – there are born and bred Georgians who will enter the University next year with no better than a 15-3 lifetime record against the Gators, and in some likelihood a 16-2 record. That would be one win when they were 7 years old, and one when they were 14. Ouch.

Also, not that you need reminding, but who has the largest point total at Sanford Stadium? Not to mention those 52 points were done intentionally late in that 1995 game because “he” could. In fact, my wife asked me just a couple of months ago what that zip lock bag of dried leaves and twigs in the drawer was.

“That’s a fistful of the hedges from Sanford, honey”.

And she had thought, wrongly, that old habits had returned.

There is also the 1992 game when Florida beat number 7 Georgia 26-24, sending us to the SEC title game, and sending Bulldog hopes of a national title down in flames. Or ten years later, when a loss to Zook cost the Dawgs a shot at a national title with a final record of 13-1. (Would you believe LSU could lose to Zook the next year, go 13-1, and win the title? Would you?)

However, in the interest of full disclosure, I will give you one point – Georgia girls are first rate. The men need to get over the mop-top hair (so 80’s that) and the abhorrent red trousers, but a Georgia girl in a little black dress is A-OK with this Gator fan. (And while we are mentioning your women, couldn’t Stafford come up with something better than those pictured with him in his latest internet-photo expose? I mean, he is the starting quarterback.)

I’ve rambled long enough, even though there is vastly more I could say. Overall, I wouldn’t trade our annual contest with our northern neighbors for anything. I’ll be tailgating in my usual spot in the Bull Gator parking lot, easily identifiable by the large stuffed Bulldog I bring wearing Gator gear (he is undefeated by the way, as I forgot to bring him in 2002). If you see him stop by, and I’ll buy you a beer.

Because win or lose, this is better than anything the other schools have to offer.

Mergz

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Blog swappin’ the WLOCP

  1. Of course recent history matters, and it overwhelmingly favors Florida. But here is an interesting observation regarding this series: From 1971 until the Dawn of the Evil One (1990), Georgia was 15-4. The 19 years (1952-191970) prior to that 19 year stretch, Florida was 13-5-1. The 20 years prior to that (1931-1951) Georgia was 17-3. In this current run of 17 years, Florida is 15-2. So, what will the next two or three years hold? Can Florida achieve a 17-3 ledger, matching the Dawgs best 20 year cycle against the Gators? Or, God willing, can the Dawgs win two or three and make something closer to the equivalent of the Dawgs 70’s-80’s run of 15-4?

    Obviously, young Gators will assume that any history older than 1989 is ancient, and it may be. But, if Miami and FSU can fall on hard times, then I think it is fair to say that no school in the Sunshine State is invulnerable to a down-cycle. One huge difference between the two schools during the past two decades is that Georgia showed way too much patience with incompetent coaches and kept Ray Goff at the helm for 7 years and Jim Donnan for 5 years. Florida, on the other hand, brought in Zook to be the sacrificial lamb for a mere 3 seasons. And it would have been less than one day if http://www.fireronzook.com had been the AD.

    Anyway, all of this is just playing with numbers. If, and that is a big capital I-capital F, IF, Georgia wins Saturday, the numbers Dawg fans will be citing is 2-2 in the past 4 years. Count on it.

    GO DAWGS!

  2. I’ve read both sides of this blog exchange and even though I’m not objective, I reckon that yours reads better. Probably the better quality of education that you received at the finest university in the South. Let’s hope we can make it 15-3 in the last 18 as a start to turning that damn stat around. Go Dawgs!

  3. UF Gator DMD

    I’ve always wanted a dawg…didn’t know I actually owned one for the past 17 years. My apologies if you felt mistreated.

    Looking forward to another great game, as these always shape up to be!

    Good luck to ya, doggies!

    Better luck to the Gators!

  4. Gator

    On the field: 15-2

    Off the field, from US News & World Reports: UF #49, UGa #59.

    Unless you don’t count the state of Florida in the South.

  5. Gator,

    He didn’t say “The higher ranked school according to Useless News and World Distort.” He said, “The finest University in the south.” The great thing about puffery is that it cannot be proven or dispelled.

    GO DAWGS!

  6. Pingback: Radical Georgia Moderate » Georgia Carnival: Edition 21

  7. Pingback: EDSBS » Archive » BLOGTOBERFEST: COCKTAILS EDITION!

  8. buckeye smitty

    I have to admit, the SEC is SO powerful, and SO strong, ans SO tough, that no one can beat them except themselves. Every week the lower rank team beats the higher rank team and they prove that everyteam in the SEC is SO much better than every other team in the country that every game in the BCS should be made up of SEC teams. I mean they are SO freaking good that every other conference should just fold. This year is a lock, the BCS National title game should be two two lose teams from the SEC…because the coaches and fans of the SEC think this is the truth and they are the smartest people in football.

    Go Bucks! #1 again because they win their games.

  9. Moreno4President

    buckeye smitty,

    “Go Bucks! #1 again because they win their games”

    The Bucks are beating teams like YSU, Akron, Minn, and Kent St. That’s quite an accomplishment. You played your toughest game today and won. Great. But it’ll be the next few weeks that tell the rest of us whether or not you even deserve a top-15 ranking.

    And you’d better hope that Michigan continues to struggle with injuries. You’re playin’ them in the Big House and they’re gonna want it much, much more.

    (And even if you do win out, we all know how Big-1o teams handle big bowl games . . . )

  10. Congrats Senator B, your Dawgs showed up to play.

  11. buckeye – In a year that’s been full of so many unexpected twists and turns, it’s impressive to see a team just go about its business each week and get the job done. That’s why I think Ohio State deserves to be ranked #1 right now.

    But how a fan of a Big Ten team – any Big Ten team – can be talking shit about another BCS conference is beyond me. Especially this year. Skip Michigan’s debacle with Appy State. Ron Zook was run out of the SEC after three seasons. Now he’s being looked at as a miracle worker at Illinois. Res ipsa loquitur.

  12. Brian30yrDawg

    Hey Buckeye Smitty,

    Let me know when “the” Ohio State Univeristy EVER beats an SEC team. Look up the annals at OSU, dust off all your record books,and you will never find a Buckeye win over the SEC.

    BTW did you ever wonder why Kirk Herbstreit (?) almost always picks against Georgia in making his prognostications with Lee Corso on Game Day?

    It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that he lost to Georgia in the 93 Citrus Bowl (that’s the bowl game following the 92 season, just to help you avoid being confused), or could it?

    Glory Glory to Ole Georgia