Here's why everybody hates UF


Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Of course, they stormed the court.
In Fayetteville, in Knoxville. The way they did once in Athens and in the past when they flooded the fields in Oxford and Starkville and Baton Rouge and Auburn.
Fine, schmine. They beat the hated Gators. Five thousand bucks is a small price for someone else to pay.
Every time UF loses a televised game, you wonder whether the Barney Fifes will actually try to stop the crowd of students. When they want to stop them, they do. It's not difficult, but almost impossible when you don't care.
But this isn't about anemic attempts at security in SEC arenas and football fields. The hypocrisy of some of the athletic directors in this conference speaks for itself.
This is about exploring the one real truth about Southeastern Conference athletics - why does everybody hate Albert?
Now if I was in a room of fans from around the conference and threw that question out there, it would sound like homeroom before the teacher walks in the door. Everyone would have something snippy to say.
Florida is the most despised school in the conference. It's always been that way because UF is UF. It's the only school without a drawl. The other 11 are in the South. Florida is not. It's in Florida. Florida's not the South. Florida is where southerners go on vacation. Or to retire.
It's gotten worse in the last decade and a half. You know why.
At one time, they were envious of where you lived. And that was before you got good at everything.
They didn't like you when you were choking dogs in football and irrelevant in basketball. They didn't like you when you weren't winning the SEC All-Sports Trophy every year.
The 1990s weren't good for the Gator-haters.
Yep, let's blame Steve Spurrier for the animosity.
Lord knows he didn't help.
I've talked to some media boys and SEC fans and others about why Florida has to deflect so much antipathy, why you never seem to see other SEC stadiums or arenas stormed, why the venom is so powerful that a Google search of "Why Gators Are Hated" produced 60,100 entries.
And the result is my top 10 reasons why around this conference it's great ... to hate ... the Florida Gators.
1. Location, location, location - As I mentioned earlier, Gainesville may be the southernmost city in the conference, but it's different in our state. Most Floridians, for example, believe the North won the Civil War and that a squirrel hit by a pickup truck doesn't qualify as an entree.
2. The rhyming game - Gator. Hater. Pretty simple, huh? Try rhyming a derisive cheer with Razorback. Or Commodore. Actually, Commodore speaks for itself.
3. Bling, bling - For many SEC fans, Florida has major advantages including a huge athletic department budget. The Gators should be good in everything (even the coaches say that) and when they are they get little credit. Look at the facilities, look at the athletes in the state, look at the weather. What hurricanes?
4. Arrogance, thy name is Gator - Are Florida fans more arrogant than any others? There are Alabama fans who believe the terrorists attacked on 9/11 because it was Bear Bryant's birthday. I'm not kidding. But how many times is the old Dan Jenkins' line trotted out, that Florida has the arrogance of Notre Dame and the tradition of Wake Forest? That was a great line when he said it in the 1980s, but it doesn't apply now. Well, the arrogance part does.
5. Not only Gators are green - They'd never admit it, not in a million years, but the truth is that fans of the other 11 SEC programs wish they could be what Florida is as an athletic program. That's why they revel in those times when the Gators are not successful (see: The Zook Era, NCAA Tournament since 2000, Ollie Gator). Jealousy can be a very powerful intoxicant.
6. The Spur-Dog - Face it, all of the hatred directed at UF was multiplied by infinity once Spurrier started winning big and tweaking bigger. Then Florida went out and hired a basketball coach who found himself in the national title game the same year Florida won the SEC in football. It was too much for Bulldogs and Tigers to take.
7. The Outsiders - They just don't belong. You think about the SEC and you don't think about beaches and palm trees. Just look at the colors. Orange and Blue? Who wears orange and blue anywhere but to a Gator game?
8. They keep winning - Damn them. 9. Daaaaah-da, daaaaah-da - Man, people hate that chomp. And for some reason, they love to do it back to the Gator fans and players. They think it's one more thing that makes UF fans obnoxious. Which they can be. Another example of just how much SEC fans dislike the Gators - back in the 1990s when only FSU seemed capable of stopping Spurrier's teams, beaten fans in SEC stops used to do the Seminole Chop late in blowout losses. It says a lot when you have to resort to another school's swagger to get some of your own.
10. The rest of the story - Today, I'm guessing that fans around the league will be e-mailing me more reasons. And I'm guessing this column will be one of them.
You can reach sports columnist Pat Dooley by e-mail at dooleyp@gvillesun.com or by calling 374-5053. Dooley's columns appear Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

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