More “it’s not in their heads”…

From one of my favorite Gator blogs, Orange and Blue Hue:

… And for this squad, one Saturday lies circled on the calendar: November 1, 2008. When they travel to Jacksonville, they have the opportunity to exorcise the demons of last year’s loss to the hated Bulldogs. An SEC East title would be within striking distance. A national championship berth? Certainly plausible. Maybe even another Heisman on the horizon.

But with a loss, there will be talk of Florida’s lost swagger, of only two wins in the last five years. Fairly or not, critics could question Tim Tebow’s ability to lead a team to the promised land. Lindsay Scott’s ghost could haunt this team.

In a sense, the psychology of this year’s WLOCP is huge.  I’m not sure it can be underestimated, in fact.  It’s as big as the first games in the series that Spurrier coached.  Win again this year, and Richt’s legacy as a head coach grows immensely – which is saying a lot for a guy who’s already accomplished much.

12 Comments

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12 responses to “More “it’s not in their heads”…

  1. NCT

    I’m trying to remember … at what point after 10 November 1990 did the Florida game become a “demon” to be “exorcised”? Granted, two good seasons notwithstanding, UGA was in the midst of what could be described as a downright plague of demons and not the national favorites that UF is now (with the greatest player of our time). But I think it was a few years before I actually felt demonically possessed by the series. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it took the 1995 game to make me feel like my soul was being attacked, and by that time, expectations were already pretty low, over-all, and the Florida game was just one more disappointment among many.

    Anyway, I find it immensely satisfying that a single game (or two of the last four) have our friends to the south so agitated.

  2. Two things did it for me. One, Spurrier was obnoxious about winning from the get-go. Two, the ’92 game when Georgia went into the game ranked No. 7 in the country and Florida was ranked No. 20. The Gators beat Georgia that year, 26-24.

    The timeout game the next year was just the final nail on the coffin. By then, I expected stuff like that to happen. Especially to a Goff-coached team.

  3. UgaMatt

    Senator,

    I agree with you on the 92 game. Spurrier’s worst team beating Goff’s best team was a huge psychological blow. I’d also add 2000, also known as the Quincy Carter interception to Lito Shepard from Hell. I say that because that was the first year since 1992 when I thought we were clearly the more talented team, yet we totally spit the bit. I was home from UGA with the flu watching that game and to this day have visions of Randy Mc dropping that wide open pass in the endzone.

  4. 81Dog

    I think this game is huge, psychologically. Win it, and UGA definitely has flipped the mojo on Florida. Lose it, and the Gators can still feel like last year was an aberration.

    Some things are only clear in retrospect. When Spurrier came to Florida, why would anyone at UGA have been concerned? Florida had never won an SEC title, much less a national championship. They were basically Kentucky football with better access to the beaches. UGA owned Florida. We had owned them for 25 years. Didnt matter who they had coaching. They ALWAYS had talent, but they never could harness it in a way to keep us from beating them most of the time. They knew it, and we knew it.

    Spurrier flipped the script, but it wasnt clear until after he’d beaten us 2 or 3 times that this was not just an aberration, it was an alarming trend. History for 20 year old kids is what happened when they were juniors in high school. I’d be willing to bet that, after 3 years of Spurrier, there weren’t many players at UF who really remembered, or cared about, what happened in the 1976 WLOCP. Or the 1980 one, or any of them before 1990.

    UGA wins this year, that kind of grasp of history is now on OUR side again. And suddenly, Mr. Point and Stare’s mantle of superiority starts looking a little shabby, and (depending on who bails for 09), maybe NEXT year, the Gators are the ones coming down hoping they can win instead of expecting to win.

  5. As I said at the time, the mental state in Gator land has already transitioned from easy arrogance (“15 out of the last 18, dooods” ) to revenge. Revenge is about getting even, not being superior.

    Win this year, and the Dawgs bury the attitude that Spurrier instilled in the UF program. It really will be a new era. And Richt will get all the credit in the world for that.

  6. peacedog

    92 was appalling. It was when I lost what little faith I had in Goff as a head coach.

    2000 was probably the next worst (moreso than 94). After the 97 upset, we lost back to back games soundly. At least in 99 we made an effort offensively (too many turnovers and drives fizzling, though), and the game might have been closer than 16 with a break here or there. I didn’t feel as if we were completely in over our heads in 99.

    2000 might have been a game to insert some normalcy back into the series, at least from our perspective. We beat Tennessee for the first time in ages. We might have gotten over the South Carolina loss completely with a win there. And we were doing so well, driving towards the end of the first half with a 10 point lead. The pick changed everything, and was proof that we were pretty fragile mentally both that season and where the series was concerned.

  7. NM

    In retrospect, though, losing that 2000 game was probably for the best. If Donnan beats Florida for the second time in four years, how much harder is it for Adams to get rid of him? If losing that game brought us the Richt Era, I hope we can all agree that it was worth it.

  8. NM amen to that brother!!

  9. DocT

    Hello Dawgs from The Real Death Valley.
    I have two tickets to the LSU-UGA game and cannot go. My seats are in the Stadium Club. See the LSU TAF website for details but this area has unlimited premium buffets and an OPEN bar with premium alcohol only. These are expensive seats with express elevators. I am posting here for Ebay because I think a Ga. would pay more to see this game in the premium Stadium environment. I will check back to see if anyone responds.
    Later

  10. In our heads… hrm.

    I guess it’s possible. But I really don’t think that’s the case.

    Gator Nation is simply pissed that Georgia won, and the touchdown celebration will fan the flames of hate for quite some time in this series. Who was it that recently said that Georgia might have won that battle, but it will cost them the war? It was a talking head of some ilk. I think he’s got it right — you couldn’t have more effectively pissed off an entire fanbase and an entire program. You can be sure that the top circled date on the calendar will be Georgia, and it’s not because of Georgia’s lofty pre-season rankings, but because of a bloodthirsty anger.

    Florida always beats Georgia — well, 15 out of 18 times, anyway (and don’t give me the “we owned you before 1990 argument. Please. No one cares, no one remembers.)

    Losing one game in seven to the Dawgs is unacceptable. Losing two in this millenia, doubly so. You can expect a highly-motivated squad in Jax for our little date.

  11. You can be sure that the top circled date on the calendar will be Georgia, and it’s not because of Georgia’s lofty pre-season rankings, but because of a bloodthirsty anger.

    GP, I love it, I really do. Were you guys this pissed off after the ’97 game? I sure don’t remember it.

  12. Yeah! We were pretty pissed. We get pissed any time we lose to the Dawgs. Not s’posed to happen. Mighty irritating.