“Is this Florida?”

Give Andy Staples credit.  He is that rare bird – a Florida grad who acknowledges that life began before 1990.

… Thanks to a toxic combination of personnel, scheme and injuries, the Gators simply couldn’t move the football, and that failure contributed mightily to Florida’s first losing season since 1979. As the losses piled up, players who have never known a time when the program wasn’t great, or at least pretty good, couldn’t help but wonder.

“Is this Florida?” wide receiver Valdez Showers remembered asking himself.

It is, but a Florida remembered almost exclusively by people older than 45. There were decades when the Gators were college football’s version of the Chicago Cubs, bumbling along and occasionally coming tantalizingly close to an SEC title only to watch Georgia dash those dreams in Jacksonville.

Good times.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to ““Is this Florida?”

  1. 69Dawg

    What music that is to my 66 year old ears. There was a time the Gators were actually really good losers. It took SOS to teach them to be aholes.

  2. heytogoober

    Good times indeed … still love Bill Stanfill’s quote comparing sacking Spurrier to holding hogs while his father castrated them.

  3. Warden182

    So Florida pre-1980 was basically USCe today?

    • The old joke was Florida – the arrogance of Notre Dame and the tradition of Vanderbilt.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Uh…that’s actually an insult to Vanderbilt. Look back at the records of the Vandy teams in the first third or so of the 20th Century and you’ll see what I mean.

    • 81Dog

      If you consider USCe to be in the “alligator mouth/hummingbird ass” category, that’s exactly what they were. Zero SEC titles, one Heisman winner, occasional flashes of competence. We knew, and they knew, every season in August, no matter how well they’d been playing, or how poorly we’d been playing, they would find a way to gack up the game in Jacksonville.

      Spurrier kind of spun the wheel on us, but (depending on how far back you want to go), the last several years, we seem to be more in their heads than they’re in ours. The younger Gators see this as an aberration, they scoff, they dismiss it as bad luck. The older Gators fear it’s a sign of a new age of Gator darkness, much as they all recall from the 70s and 80s.

      When Spurrier got there, it took a few years for those of us who really knew nothing but dominance over Florida to realize things had changed. Maybe if we win a couple more in a row down there, it will sink in with their “we always win that game” faction as well.

      • When we were going through the Dark Years of the WLOCP rivalry, and I was praying for an end to it, I remember thinking on multiple occasions that I didn’t necessarily want Georgia to pull a 180 and dominate the Gators like we do the Jackets. Really, I would’ve settled for mere parity between the teams, which would’ve been a damn sight better than what we suffered through during Spurrier and Meyer.

        Clearly the Dawgs seem to have righted the ship in this rivalry, but I would suggest that three games is still to small a sample size to determine whether we’ve achieved parity or outright dominance. The amusing thing is, though, that a lot of the Gator fans I’ve seen appear to have already decided that it’s the latter, and they’re wailing and gnashing their teeth over it. Kind of shows you how spoiled they got over those two decades — they got to feeling so entitled that as few as three Ls in a row, which barely qualifies as a streak, has turned their entire world upside-down. Compare that to, say, Georgia’s recent three-season skid against the Gamecocks. Yeah, it was embarrassing to give up three in a row to USCe for the first time ever, but were large swaths of the UGA fanbase slamming the panic button and declaring an irrevocable sea change in that rivalry? I’m sure some people were, but that never felt like the prevailing opinion.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          3 losses in a row to the same team isn’t a streak, it’s just 3 losses in a row. 4 losses in a row to the same team is a streak. If the Dawgs beat the Gators this time around, look for the panic button to be pushed in G-ville.

        • Scorpio Jones, III

          “Clearly the Dawgs seem to have righted the ship in this rivalry, but I would suggest that three games is still to small a sample size to determine whether we’ve achieved parity or outright dominance.”

          No shit, Doug.

          Somehow, Spurrier got in my head, for the longest time I had a hard time remembering there were Florida games before 1990.

          And, don’t forget, they won some back in the dark ages, too….I would say “righting the ship” may mean that each game is a toss up. In a perfect world neither us nor them should dominate this series…even if we have.
          :)

    • PTC DAWG

      They were not that good.

  4. Slaw Dawg

    I remember thinking after the ’97 Cocktail Bowl: “Things are finally back to normal!” That was about 14 years premature. So there may be Gatorites who won’t get the picture for another few years. That’s okay with me–it’s just as much fun kickin’ em when they think they’re up as it is when they’re actually down. Different kinds of Gator pain, but all good.

  5. Dog in Fla

    “Is this even Florida?”

    Yes, it’s all condo villas now that the great Florida manufactured-home market depression is over

    http://www.petersenshunting.com/2013/09/23/redneck-mansion-is-the-height-of-redneck-luxury/

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Billy Carter made a fortune in Florida,Alabama, and parts of Georgia in that industry. All you need is a bank.

  6. Timphd

    Married my first wife in 1971 knowing that both her parents were Gator grads. For 18 years I got to gloat virtually every year as the Dawgs pounded them to submission, winning 15 of 18. Won a lot of bets from my father in law at the time. Those were great years my friends. Here’s hoping that we have returned to “normal” in the series. Seems like the win two years ago robbed them of the SEC East right? That’s the natural order.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Several of those UGA teams during the lean years would have won the East and possibly the SEC if the Dawgs had won in JAX.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Verily, Mayor, you speak truth. Ask Eric.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Indeed, look at Georgia’s 2000 schedule and FU’s 2000 schedule. If Georgia had won the WLOCP the Dawgs would have been 6-2 in the SEC (8-3 over all in the regular season) and would have won the East over the Gators, also 6-2 in the SEC, because of the tiebreak. And that was the year Donnan got fired!

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Since you brought up Brother Zeier, 1992—the same thing. Georgia was 6-2 in the SEC and FU was also 6-2 in the SEC, but FU won the East on the tiebreak. UGA lost that game by 2 points. UGA ended up with a better overall record than the Gators but didn’t get to play in the SECCG.