Crist's bet on UF pays off: Ohio wine, candy buckey


Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at 10:38 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Charlie Crist has two college football loves — his alma mater Florida State University and Wake Forest University, where he was briefly a walk-on quarterback.

But like any savvy politician, Crist reserved his ardor for the Florida Gators on Tuesday.

"It was just unbelievable," Crist said. "It was great for the state of Florida and great for the university."

Crist had engaged in the traditional bet associated with athletic championships, wagering fresh Florida citrus with Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.

With the Gators' victory, Crist will be receiving some Ohio wine and candy buckeyes.

More worrisome to Crist was the other part of the bet, which required the governor of the losing state university to fly the other state's flag for one day.

Crist expressed those worries to UF coach Urban Meyer in a phone call the day of the game.

"I shared with him that the governor of Ohio had challenged us to fly the flag of Ohio over this house if in fact we were to lose," Crist said Tuesday outside the Governor's Mansion.

"And he said, 'You're not going to have to worry about that governor. We're going to take care of them tonight,'" Crist said. "I was like, 'Wow, this guy is great.'"

Crist said he would send the state's flag and a "big Gator flag" for Strickland to fly in Columbus, adding that he hoped to get a picture so "we can put it up in the governor's office and enjoy that."

Crist added that he was "very happy" for Chris Leak, calling the quarterback "just a great young man."

Meantime, Ohio's newest member of the U.S. Senate, Sherrod Brown, made good Tuesday on a bet he made with Florida Sen. Bill Nelson. Nelson and Brown made a friendly wager last week, pledging that the senator from the losing state do the same number of push-ups as total points scored in the big game. Tuesday afternoon, Brown paid a visit to Nelson's Capitol Hill office and attempted 55 push-ups. No word on how many he actually completed.

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