There are truths and untruths in the world of sports. And there are also opinions that are worth discussing. You may agree or disagree. Just do it with decorum. So continues this occasional feature as Pat Dooley and Robbie Andreu of the Gainesville Sun embrace the debate:
Item No. 1
When Florida opens its season against Eastern Washington, at least 50 percent of the fans in the stadium will defy the UF administration and chant “Gator Bait.”
Andreu: I think the older fan base is going to have a bigger problem with this than the younger one because for decades the chant has been a big part of the Gator experience at games. So, the old guard might be more reluctant to let it go. There has been some venting on social media and some threats of canceling season-ticket orders by some fans. But by the time the season gets here (if it, in fact, does), I think there will be overwhelming acceptance that the chant is gone — and that it needed to go. FICTION.
Dooley: This is certainly a sensitive subject and judging from emails and Tweets there are a lot of upset people about the idea of abandoning a chant that goes back to at least the ’70s. I do believe things will calm down over the next couple of months and Florida will probably offer up an alternative like “Gators Go!” or “Florida Bait!” Still there will be some people who won’t let it go. But not that many. The interesting thing will be if there are fans who get angry with the “Gator Bait” crowd. FICTION.
Item No. 2
A team other than Florida or Georgia will win the SEC East in the next five years.
Andreu: Georgia is on top in the division now and in a position to hold its spot with all the great recruiting coach Kirby Smart and his staff have done. The biggest threat, probably for now and the next few years, is Florida, which has closed a lot of ground in two years under Dan Mullen and likely will be the pick to win the East this season. This very well could turn into a situation like the 1990s where Florida and Tennessee (mostly UF) ruled the East. But I would not discount Tennessee. The Vols finished the 2019 season with a lot of momentum and Jeremy Pruitt and his staff have been recruiting lights out over the past few months. So, the Vols will be a legitimate threat at some point in the next few years. And don’t forget about the job Mark Stoops is doing at Kentucky. FACT.
Dooley: There have been 28 SEC Championship Games and it has been either Florida or Georgia representing the East in 20 of them. And there is no real reason to think that is going to change the way these two teams have it going. You could see one of them fall off but not both. The only team with a puncher’s chance over the next five years would probably be Tennessee, which used to make occasional appearances in Atlanta. It depends on how much you believe in what Jeremy Pruitt is doing but remember that every year he has Florida, Georgia and Alabama on his schedule (not to mention LSU in ’22, A&M in ’23 and Auburn in ’25.) FICTION.
Item No. 3
There will be at least one overtime game this year involving the Gators.
Andreu: The Gators haven’t had one since 2015, against Florida Atlantic in The Swamp, so they’re probably overdue. And with the surreal year that we are experiencing, it only makes sense that some wild and crazy stuff is going to happen on the field this fall, including maybe an overtime game or two for the Gators. How about an overtime game with LSU in The Swamp or Georgia in Jacksonville? That certainly would be exciting stuff. So, yeah, let’s see the Gators go into overtime this season. FACT.
Dooley: Sure. Why not? As crazy as this year figures to be we could see it happen again, maybe multiple times. It has been five years since Florida’s last overtime game against Florida Atlantic in one of the wildest finishes ever in The Swamp (and in the rain). Since overtime came into college football in 1996, Florida has played in eight OT games. Amazingly, six of those games have been in Gainesville. And Florida is due. So count on it, an overtime thriller at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field. FACT.