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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fun is gone from college football

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When did it happen, Gator fans?

When did it reach a point where you became so persnickety and such perfectionists that you sucked the joy out of winning football games like a boa constrictor squeezes the life out of small rodents?

The reason I bring this up is because of all the conversation and consternation about Florida's offense and quarterback Tim Tebow in the aftermath of Saturday's embarrassing, humiliating 31-point, um, victory over Arkansas.

That's right, Florida went on the road, ran up more than 500 yards of offense and destroyed Arkansas 38-7 in a tune-up for Saturday's monumental Southeastern Conference showdown with No. 4 LSU. And you know what everybody's talking about?

What's wrong with Tebow and the Gators?

I'll tell you what's wrong with Tebow and the Gators: You're what's wrong. Florida fans who actually think it's their birthright not only to win but to win by 50.

Former Florida coach Steve Spurrier left, in part, because of what Gator Nation had become - a fussy, finicky fan base filled with constant complainers. You wonder how long Urban Meyer will hang around until he, too, gets sick of it.

On the day he announced his resignation at UF, Spurrier revealed that the joy of winning at UF had been replaced by the fear of losing.

"Do you realize how big a favorite we are all the time?" Spurrier lamented. "It's nobody's fault. It's just the way it is. We're double-digit favorites over everybody. Anytime we lose, it's us coaches. We screwed up. 'Look how huge a favorite the team was and they didn't win.' That wears on you a little bit.

"It's a relief when we win. . . . It's almost a disgrace when we lose."

And it's not just the fans, either. It's the players, the former players, even the media who covers the team.

Case in point: After Florida's 38-7 victory over Arkansas, the big headline in the Orlando Sentinel was, "Score Isn't The Story." Below the headline there were two articles. The first paragraph of one article began with, "If the Gators play like this next week, they'll lose to LSU." The first paragraph of the other article began with, "Something's missing."

Yes, something is missing all right: Elation and exhilaration after a victory. It's reached a point, according to the Gainesville Sun, where even one of UF's most beloved former players - ex-UF quarterbacking great Shane Matthews - regularly goes on his Gainesville radio show and picks apart a UF offense that led the nation last year and was third in the country.

Even Tebow, the ultimate glass-is-half-full guy, has been sucked into the abyss created by the legions of the miserable.

After Tebow fired a 21-yard touchdown pass to Percy Harvin in the fourth quarter Saturday to give Florida a 24-7 lead, Tebow moped off the field without celebrating. Meyer saw his quarterback's dispassionate reaction and ran out to give Tebow a chest bump.

"I wanted him to enjoy it," Meyer said of his quarterback.

The coach might want to send the same message to many of his fans.

"It's almost a disgrace when we lose."

Those were the words Steve Spurrier uttered on his way out the door after the 2001 season.

Who knew that seven years later, winning would become a disgrace, too?

Comments

FlaHawk 14 years, 1 month ago

Nothing like a Gator to gloat about winning big and to complain abut winning close. They have a lot of talent in all sports and the fan base is very spoiled and need to come down to mother earth!Losing makes you appreciate winning more!

Trobs 14 years, 1 month ago

My brother is this way with KU. During the Iowa State game all he did was mope. I told him to stop being a whiner and cheer our boys on. When we won he said, "Okie and Texas are going to mangle us. I don't want to even think about mizzou."Rock chalk big bro!

JBurtin 14 years, 1 month ago

Way to read between the lines Trobs.I don't think this article is as much a scathing review of Florida as it is a warning to KU.Our team just mounted the third largest comeback in school history. In any other year people would be flying high off of last week's victory.Now with an Orange Bowl trophy in hand, everybody talks about last week's game as if the football team just ran over their dog.

David Wanamaker 14 years, 1 month ago

Lots and lots of KU BASKETBALL fans are this way already. Roy knew it and Bill knows it too.

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