Tag Archives: Steve Spurrier

Let’s talk a little college football

The great thing about football season is you never run out of things to talk about. This week, Alabama coach Nick Saban and Florida coach Will Muschamp fired some shots at each other. Since Will is one of Nick’s protégés it makes it all the more interesting. Nick isn’t happy with the way the BCS bowls will be selected after the conference games.

One of the unfair elements of the process is that those voting in the various polls tend to look at a team’s losses, not their wins. So this year, Alabama and Georgia both have one loss and will play for the conference championship. However, the loser of that game will have a second loss and almost definitely be ranked behind one-loss Florida in the BCS rankings.  Because they won’t play in the conference championship, Florida won’t have the “opportunity” to pick up that additional loss. That means Florida will probably get a BCS invitation, while the Alabama-Georgia loser will not.

No fair! Says Nick.

“It’s not really a great scenario for either team. You play your way into the championship game, which means you’re the best team in your division. It doesn’t seem quite right. I don’t feel good about it for our football team or their football team.”

Actually, I agree. What’s interesting, however, is that Nick didn’t express that opinion last year when his Alabama team…

1.) Finished second to LSU in the Western Division and did not go to the championship game.

2.) Advanced to the #2 BCS ranking, when Georgia lost to LSU.

3.) Picked up the SEC’s second BCS invitation, to the national championship game.

4.) Won the national championship even though they did not win their division or play in the conference championship.

I love a little hypocrisy.

By the way, Muschamp’s response – “I can switch and go to Atlanta if he doesn’t want to go to Atlanta and play the ‘Dogs. Be careful what you wish for Nick.”

Is young Will channeling a little Stevie Spurrier?

Meanwhile the discrepancy in the strengths of the conferences is creating some interesting situations.

Georgia Tech, with a 6-6 record, will play FSU in the ACC conference game this weekend. If they win, they get a bid for a BCS bowl, probably the Orange Bowl. Meanwhile, the Big East doesn’t have a single team in the top 25, but guess what conference does? The MAC! Right now, Kent (“Four dead in O-hi-o”) State could move into the top 16 with a win in their conference championship game.  The BCS rules state that a school not from a “guaranteed-bid” conference earns a spot in one of the BCS bowls if it finishes in the top 16, and is ahead of the top-ranked team from one of the “guaranteed-bid” conferences.

If you were running the Orange Bowl, how excited would you be to host a 7-6 Georgia Tech playing Kent State? (Sorry, son-in law.)  One columnist, Pat Dooley, from the Gainesville Sun, wrote he wouldn’t watch that game if were played in his backyard.

It’s all in the name

The Gator Nation is in an uproar over former-coach Urban Meyer’s hiring at Ohio State. Those hurt feelings were rubbed raw when he reached back and poached his former strength and conditioning coach to join his OSU staff.

Personally, I’m not all that concerned about it. As a Gator fan, I know our team has more than enough on its plate, to rebuild from a 6-6 year, than to worry about what may be happening in the Big 10.

For some fans, this whole situation is putting them in a serious pickle. One couple is thinking of changing their child’s name.

That’s just crazy.

Alberta the Alligator. Isn't she lovely?

Now for the disclaimer  – I’m not totally innocent. I have named cats “Gator,” “Stevie” (as in Stevie Spurrier) and “Alberta” (UF’s female mascot, Alberta the Alligator.)

But a child?

Seriously?

Mrs. P has mentioned that she was just glad our children were born well before Gator football took off in the early 90s. Otherwise, who knows what may have happened?

Tebow Poolman?

It has a certain ring to it.

Caught orange and blue handed

I knew we were in trouble as soon as I opened the mail box. We had been caught.

The envelope from the University of Florida Athletic Association was addressed to “The Family of ‘my late father-in law.’”

Oops! That does not look good.

My father-in-law, who passed away in 2006, bought season tickets to University of Florida football games back in the late 1980s, when they were practically giving them away. Shortly thereafter Steve Spurrier arrived on the scene, followed later by Urban Meyer. The past two decades have included a handful of conference championships, three national championships and two Heisman Trophy winners. The demand for football tickets has risen dramatically.

Like all major football programs, at UF you must make a donation to the athletic association at a certain level to have the privilege of purchasing season tickets. Today that required donation runs into the thousands of dollars. In the late 80s, it was about a tenth of that. So long as Father-in-Law was alive, he was grandfathered in at his original rate. The athletic association will allow a transfer to a son or daughter, but the expected donation would reset at today’s level. So when FIL died in 2006, we conveniently neglected forgot to tell the athletic association about it.

To be blunt, we cannot afford the donation level they require for our seats. They aren’t great seats, and the donation level is near the bottom of the scale, but it’s still much more than Mrs. Poolman and I can afford or justify.

As Mrs. P said, “It’s like the end of an era.”

Our closest friends

I guess we will be spending more fall Saturdays in front of the TV, rather than enjoying the companionship of 92,000 of our closest friends. I hope they will miss us.

Big weekend coming up

Around our house, this coming weekend is one of the big ones of the year. It is like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, New Years in Time Square, or the opening of deer hunting season in Pennsylvania.  It is the Florida-Georgia weekend. In this part of the world, this is more then a football game. It is a social and cultural event. As should be obvious, we are big Florida fans, but we live here “behind enemy lines” in Georgia.

There is a lot of history here. My first Florida game was in 1971. For the next 19 years, Georgia pretty much dominated the series. Vince Dooley, Buck Belue, Hershal Walker and the like “schooled” the Gators on a fairly regular basis. In 1990 the field shifted. Steve Spurrier came to Florida and since then the Gators have one 16 of the last 19 games.

Fla Ga 2

In recent years, the rivalry has intensified somewhat. In 2007, a group of UGA players stormed the field to celebrate their first touchdown. UGA fans credit that incident for psyching the Bulldogs to win that game. Last year, Florida had the game won when Urban Meyer called two time-outs in the final minute of the game to prolong Georgia’s agony. Payback is hell.

I have noticed a significant change in attitude among UGA fans this year. For most of the 17 years we have lived in Georgia, the UGA fans have been delightfully obnoxious before the game. They have never lacked for overconfidence.

“This year you are going down! Down, down down!”

In all but a handful of years, those boasts and predictions turned into muttered excuses and threats of ritual sepaku as the actual game progressed. However, this year, Georgia fans are acting humble, actually sounding defeatist.

My Bulldog friend, Sean, told me last night, “For the first time in as long as I can remember, I don’t think we have any chance in this game.”

That worries me. I much prefer the obnoxious, in-your-face Bulldog, who later walks away from the game with his stubby little tail between his legs.

On the other hand, I am not cocky about the game at all. There are too many games in this series when the favored team is sent home embarrassed. The Gators are ranked #1 and are unbeaten, but they aren’t hitting on all cylinders. The Poolman isn’t making any grand predictions. Crow is not one of my favorite foods.

Meanwhile, at the Poolman’s house, this has become one of our major party weekends of the year. We used to have tickets to the game, but lost our priority about ten years ago under circumstances too complicated to explain. So instead, Mrs. Poolman’s family comes to Savannah for a “house party.”  They are joined by a bunch of our friends, friends of friends, children’s friends, friends’ children, etc.

We’ll set up at least three TVs, inside and out. (Here is praying the prediction of dry weather continues to hold.)  The group is a good mixture of fans of both teams, and a ton of food and drink. Typically the Florida fans are in the family room and the Georgia fans out in the courtyard. The casual fans set up “beer pong” on the basketball court.  Mrs. Poolman is much more ecumenical than she has any need to be. She buys red and black napkins and paper plates to go along with the orange and blue.

This should be an interesting weekend. Go Gators!

It’s a wonderful Friday!

A couple of random thoughts today…

Mrs. Poolman and I went to a meeting at our church last night about an outreach project that should be interesting. It’s called the Interfaith Hospitality Ministry. Essentially, the way it works is that churches agree to provide overnight housing and meals for a small number of homeless families for a week at a time. Church members volunteer to provide food and be evening and overnight “hosts.” We are already signed up to be the overnight host couple for a night late in August. We’ve never done anything like this before, so it should be interesting. I’ll keep you updated.

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In this part of the country, college football is a dominating presence. As the summer drags on, die-hard football fans are starting to froth at the mouth awaiting the beginning of the season. It is especially fun being a Gator fan in the heart of Georgia, the home state of what is arguably UF’s biggest rival.

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Some of the annual silliness was back in the news today. A Georgia legislator has come out tying the political and legal “water wars” among Florida, Alabama and Georgia to the annual Florida-Georgia football game in Jacksonville (aka Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party or WLOCP).

The crowd split 50-50

The crowd split 50-50

He says it should be moved to Atlanta every other year, as leverage against Florida in the fight over water rights. Unrelated to the whole water issue, the fuss over the game-site has become a regular refrain among a minority of Georgia fans for several years. Florida fans think the whole controversy is hysterical and just giggle with delight when Georgia folks suggest it. You see, the WLOCP has been played in Jacksonville for something like 70 years, except for a two-year home and home series played when the new stadium was being built in Jax. It’s a big tradition and, actually, a fairly big money maker for South Georgia businesses.

Florida fans think it the controversy is funny because Georgia fans never suggested such a move in the 1960s, 70s or 80s, when UGA dominated the series. However, since Steve Spurrier’s first year as coach in 1990, the ‘Dawgs have only been the victors in three of the last 19 games.  So every time someone in Georgia brings up the subject, Gators just think “Sore losers!” Better you than us.

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More parking lot woes…

I went to a local Mexican restaurant for lunch today (cilantro addiction). I often park in an adjacent vacant lot because it is shaded and it is (usually) easier to get in and out of. Of course, there are no parking lines in this lot. Most people either park around the perimeter or “head-in” in a double line down the middle of the lot with the cars in each line facing each other.

Today, I pulled into the head-in line and noticed that several cars had not pulled all the way up to the imaginary center line. I did –my mistake. When I came out I discovered some jerk in a 25 year old Grand Marquis had pulled in behind me. So I was completely surrounded by other parked cars, except immediately on the left side.

My car is the navy blue Accord in the middle. The late arriving Grand Marquis is behind it.

My car is the navy blue Accord in the middle. The late arriving Grand Marquis is behind it.

Many other cars had also not pulled completely to the center line leaving a space between the two lines of cars. Fortunately for me, there was just enough room for me to “wiggle” out of the parking space and no one had “plugged the hole” at the end of the line, so I was able to get back to work. Oy!

Dating back to the days when my late father-in-law drove one (badly), I’ve never trusted Grand Marquis drivers. Today is one more piece of evidence my prejudice is right.