Rivalry game brings hype to town

Published: Friday, September 16, 2005 at 8:54 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 16, 2005 at 8:54 a.m.


Florida vs. Tennessee Game day information

  • 580 media credentials have been issued for Saturday's game, which is the first time every seat in the press box will be occupied: 45 newspapers - including seven from out of state - 27 TV stations, including one from Utah and 12 radio outlets have credentials. Among those covering the game are ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Sporting News, USA Today, The New York Times and The Washington Post.
  • The student section - the east side and north end zone - has 21,000 seats.
  • Tennessee's allotment of seating is 8,500; all seats are taken.
  • General admission tickets are $28, student tickets are $7. State law allows tickets to be resold for no more than $1 above face value. Scalping is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine.
  • Gates open 90 minutes before the 8 p.m. start of the game.
  • Many general-parking areas are available to the public on campus for football game days. Parking is not allowed on grass or sidewalks. Booster Club members pay for the privilege of parking/tailgating in reserved areas, including the lawn north of the stadium. Signs will be posted and regulations strictly enforced.
  • After the game, SW 2nd Avenue goes one-way west and Gale Lemerand Drive (formerly North-South Drive) goes one way south, both heading away from the stadium.
  • Southbound drivers will not be allowed to make a right turn from SW 13th Street (U.S. 441) onto Archer Road (State Road 24) or SW 16th Avenue after the game in order to reach I-75; they should take Williston Road (State Road 331) 1 1/2 miles farther south.
  • Regional Transit System Gator Aider shuttles ($5), which leave and return at four locations an hour before and after the game: UF Conference Center (corner of SW 34th Street and Hull Road), The Oaks Mall south parking lot behind Macy's (State Road 26/Newberry Road at I-75), Downtown Bethel Station (corner of SE 1st Street and 1st Avenue; $5 parking in the downtown parking garage at SW 2nd/3rd streets) and Haile Plantation at the Village Center on SW 91st Terrace.
  • Later Gator bus service ($1) begins one hour after the game ends and continues until 3 a.m. The buses circulate from downtown to campus, southwest Gainesville and The Oaks Mall.
  • Open container laws will be strictly enforced on and around campus, particularly for fans walking to and from the stadium and along W. University Avenue.
    - Marina Blomberg

  • The hype over the magnitude of Saturday night's football game between the University of Florida and the University of Tennessee may not be hype after all - Gainesville is close to hyperventilating.
    As of Thursday afternoon, there was just a smattering of rooms available at the 53 hotels, motels and inns reporting to the Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau. Director Roland Loog said by today lodging would be difficult to find anywhere in the county. Even smaller places like Gator Lodge on SW 13th Street and Classic Inn in Waldo could be hanging out "no vacancy" signs.
    "It's as close to full as we ever get," Loog said of the approximately 4,500 rooms in Alachua County, noting the UF/UT rivalry is more intense this year because winning it would "give us an edge on the Eastern Division of the SEC."
    Paramount Plaza hotel's 195 rooms are filled this weekend; the desk clerk said only a few rooms are held in reserve. In fact, the hotel shows as being booked for all three remaining home games - Mississippi State on Oct. 8 (which is Homecoming), Vanderbilt on Nov. 5 and Florida State University on Nov. 26.
    And it's not the only one. Most of the national franchise hotels and even local bed and breakfasts are showing full bookings for all those weekends.
    Homewood Suites by Hilton, which opened at the end of August, is booked up this weekend with two-night-minimum guests. The 103 suites cost between $229 and $289 a night, which is about twice the normal rates.
    Carlos Sanchez, manager of Harry's Seafood Bar and Grille downtown, said he and his staff are bracing for a busier-than-normal football weekend. He said out-of-town diners "usually start showing up on Thursday. We've pretty much doubled our inventory, as we usually do for the really big games like this one."
    Florida Book Store on W. University Avenue has stocked a number of T-shirts with Tennessee-bashing slogans on them created by Smack Apparel of Tampa, according to store manager Nandy Ferguson. But one batch of T-shirts had to be sent back to the printer.
    "We had a bunch of cute shirts made geared to the fact that 'ESPN GameDay' with Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit was supposed to be here, but that got changed, so we had to send them back," Ferguson said.
    Does the store carry any pro-Tennessee shirts for the opposition's fans?
    "No way," she said.
    Gator Beverage at 1126 W. University Ave. is gearing up for heavy business for the weekend. "Home games are always a big deal for us," said Mark Barnett, who has owned the store for 20 years. "I've seen it all. But the Tennessee game is always a huge game."
    He said while Jack Daniels may be the favorite whiskey of Tennessee fans, he also sells a lot of Jim Beam, a Kentucky bourbon whiskey that mixes well with cola.
    "Jim Beam is now putting out college-themed bottles. It'll be interesting to see if Tennessee fans will buy a Gator bottle."
    If the traffic and parking situation near campus on game day seems daunting, consider what University Air Center will have to contend with Friday night through Sunday. Jay Curtis, general manager said while the normal volume of jets on any given day is about 10, "every bit of 100 jets are coming in over the course of eight hours on Saturday. There will be 20 coming in on Friday.
    "Most are small jets, like Citations, but we are also getting a Global Express and two Gulfstreams. It's going to be a madhouse. Every square foot of asphalt is going to have an airplane on it."
    He said of the different school boosters that come through, "Tennessee fans seem to be among the most enthusiastic, with lots of school spirit."
    Game: Area hotels near capacity
  • General admission tickets are $28, student tickets are $7.
  • Gates open 90 minutes before the 8 p.m. start of the game.
  • Students must enter the stadium through Gates 12-15 and present their Gator 1 ID card and their ticket.
  • A limited number of student tickets can be upgraded Fridays before home games and only parents of current UF students and friends of UF students who attend another college/university may use an upgraded ticket.
  • Among items banned from the stadium are umbrellas, video cameras, backpacks, large bags and beverages brought in from outside.
  • The game will be shown locally on CBS, which is Channel 4 in Gainesville.
    Marina Blomberg can be reached at 374-5025 or blombem@gvillesun.com.
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