The Streak has become a living thing

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Tyrie Cleveland, Derrick Baity, Mike Edwards
Florida wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland reaches for the goal line in front of Kentucky cornerback Derrick Baity, left, and safety Mike Edwards to score a touchdown during the first half of the game in Lexington, Ky., last year. (AP Photo/David Stephenson)

Hello, my name is The Streak and I have a problem.

I’m a win-aholic.

I’ve tried to stop, I swear.

It’s been almost a year since it last happened. But I can feel the urge coming on again.

All of us in this room like to try to blame someone else or something else for their compulsion.

You’ve heard it before. It’s not my fault.

It wasn’t my fault Kentucky didn’t cover receivers twice in the game last year, resulting in two touchdowns, including the game-winner.

It wasn’t my fault when the referees let the play go in 2014 even though the clock was at 0:00.

It wasn’t my fault the Wildcats didn’t cover a skinny walk-on receiver running free down the middle 25 years ago.

It’s not my fault this was a close series at 20-17 before this started.

It wasn’t my fault when Bill Curry had a freshman with a rocket for an arm named Tim Couch run the option in 1996 or that they couldn’t tackle Jacquez Green on punt returns.

It wasn’t my fault when Jared Lorenzen threw the ball up for grabs to ignite a Florida win in 2003.

It wasn’t my fault Steve Spurrier walked in the door and cranked up this whole thing.

It wasn’t my fault when Shane Matthews threw the biggest pass of the game to Errict Rhett before he even turned around and yet somehow it turned into the biggest first down of the game and everyone celebrated the first official SEC title in 1991.

And it has never been my fault Kentucky has been so bad so many times in the last 31 football seasons.

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Or that even when it has been good, I was just a little bit better.

Yeah, this has been going on for more than three decades. Different coaches, different players. Even the coach at Florida now had a Streak of his own before at his old school, winning seven straight before losing two years ago.

Back then, nobody talked about that Streak. Because mine was so overwhelming.

Everybody outside of the Gator Nation tells me it’s time to quit. They tell me it’s not right. They tell me to share.

But I can’t help myself.

That’s why a Florida player basically guaranteed this week I will do it again.

He knows I can’t help myself.

But that’s the thing.

Everyone keeps telling me it will end. Everybody keeps telling me I can’t keep it up. Everyone keeps telling me this is the SEC and teams don’t win 31 straight games against an opponent.

Even Alabama doesn’t do this and you know what win-aholics they are over in Tuscaloosa.

I know Kentucky is due. Maybe this is the year I stop.

But the truth is I don’t want to stop.

The feeling is too much of a rush. Every time it looks like it’s going to stop, something happens and I’m right back on the field celebrating and hugging and digging the euphoria. It’s so addicting.

Remember last year when the coach at the time walked into the locker room after the game and declared, “Don’t forget, it’s still bleeping Kentucky!”

Yeah, I thought that was strange, too. But it didn’t take away from the feeling I had in my pleasure center.

And that’s why it’s so difficult to make it stop, to kick this habit to the curb and be like everybody else.

It feels too good.

I am The Streak and it’s not really my problem. It’s just something that keeps happening.

And on Saturday night with the crowd rocking and players geeked up and a junior college transfer making his first-ever SEC start, I know I’m not going to be able to help myself.

I am The Streak and please don’t judge me.

Just understand how good it feels, how the high is so much greater than the crash. It has been so long since I didn’t have that feeling, I have forgotten what it’s like to walk out of a stadium feeling down after a game against Kentucky. Many of the fans who will be in The Swamp are too young to even remember anything but happiness after this game.

Heck, there are a lot of players on this team whose parents hadn’t even met when I started.

I don’t want it to end. I am The Streak and I’m going to do everything I can to get another fix.

Hopefully, Kentucky does its usual part in enabling me.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at pat.dooley@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

34 COMMENTS

  1. Now THAT was a heartbreaking pathetic depressing sharing. I know it was meant to be funny, but I cannot help but feel for you. Or me. Or the 80000+ who will attend on Saturday. As every win-aholic I don’t care. Just long for the next one.

  2. This game will determine which team resides in the bottom tier of the SEC East. Traditionally, Kentucky has been near the bottom of the pack along with Vandy. Win and UF maintains the pecking order. Lose and it will not bode well for Mullen and the rest of the Gator season. I look for the home team Gators to continue the streak.

  3. Pat: Being an old timer, I believe you about covered the close ones. The most stress ever at a UF game, was that 1991 game, as the Cats were driving for a win that would have killed all 80K in attendance. People around me were crying. There was a group of women in the restroom having an emergency, holding hands, prayer meeting, etc. But we pulled it out. I remember the 1986 win up in the cold north (Kentucky) when Galen Hall’s team won our first REAL SEC, before Auburn’s High and Mighty charge led to getting it striped off paper. Remember UF complained for years about playing the last game up there. The east-west alignment fix that.

    • DeWayne, I remember it as Tennessee leading the charge to defrock the ’84 team of it’s rightful SEC Championship. And UF President Marshal Criser was a willing accomplice. That is what REALLY ignited the rivalry/bad blood between the Gators and Vols. The dumbass, barefoot, in-bred, hillbillies doubled down a few years later with the “Our students don’t get killed” signs during the Gainesville murders. Stay classy, Tenn. Stay classy.

      • Mark you are correct sir, it was Tennessee and Doug Dickey that led the charge to remove the title after the Gators agreed to skip the Suger Bowl. The low lifes waited until after the bowls were over to make it happen. Also, Auburn’s coach Pat Dye showed some class and abstained from the vote.

      • Mark,
        You are correct sir, it was Tennessee and Doug Dickey that led the charge to remove the title after Florida had agreed to skip the Suger Bowl in exchange for keeping the title. The low lifes waited until after the bowls were over to make their move. Auburn Coach Pat Dye showed class and abstained from the vote to remove the title.

          • I remember the brown, dead grass (no Blue grass here!). Wow, that sounds like a Simon and Garfunkel song. Oh well, UK has that lovely, lovely artificial turf now. But that won’t help the Kitties in this game.

  4. Sly. Florida has not lost to Kentucky in 31 years, so how do you know that losing to them would put the Gators at the bottom tier of the SEC East? Maybe it would make them mad and they would then run the table in the East. Or Kentucky wins and it is their only win in the East. But I do know that Florida beat Kentucky last year and then finished in the bottom tier of the East under Jim McElwain.

    • Far be it for me to put words and Sly’s mouth, but I take his comment more as what Mveal would call our “fragility” right now. That is, at present our place in the Top-25 is indeed very insecure and an early season loss to Kentucky might very well disrupt the momentum we are counting on and at the same time keep us out of the rankings for some time. For a 4-7 team last year, a lot rides in this and every game.

      At least we are not FSU, who has come up with an excuse already. Va Tech’s players faked injuries to slow FSU’s offense down! Yeah, that’s the ticket! Never mind that Taggart didn’t generate any offense to slow down, why….. FSU ought to be restored to the Top-20 immediately if not sooner and the loss erased from the NCAA records. I told you Taggart was the best thing since canned beer and peanut butter, and now the sports media has proved it. He’ll take FSU now to a perfect 12-0 regular season and win three different bowl games in his first off-season, wow, what a guy.

      I just knew there was a reason….thanks ESPN!

      • Yeah the best part about that is he pointed out 5 plays in particular that they “faked” injuries. So he’s basically saying 5 fake injuries is what caused them to not score a single TD. I mean is that guy serious? He’s putting it out there to everyone that all you need to do to completely shut down my offense is fake a few injuries. Then he claims he was shocked they played so poorly based off how they practiced in the offseason. Talk about clueless. They seriously hired McElwain 2.0. Funny thing is Nole fans are already losing their minds and bashing him and calling for his firing. Lets see if he handles the negativity better than Mac did.

      • Doc – What I was trying to say is beating Kentucky won’t really tell us how good we are this year. We’ll know if we are good when we can beat or at least be competitive with a ranked team. That probably won’t happen until we play #11 LSU on October 6th. We will learn a few things against UK that might point to how good we are though but probably not enough to convince me. Well, maybe if they are dominant to a tune of 53-6 like against CSU I might be convinced. So yes, their perceived ranking and success right now is fragile. On the flip side, if we lose to UK, it does point to not a very good team. Like I said, I expect us to win and keep the streak alive. Tampa is correct in that anything could happen on any given game day. We could lose to UK and then turn around to beat LSU and UGA.

        In the meantime, I suppose we could gloat over FSU’s early season woes. It’s been awhile since we could talk trash about them. So you think Taggart is a tad overrated?

        • With regard to Taggart — yeah, I do. He will win some games, to be sure he has the talent on hand — but it’s kind of like a 6-pack of beer — he has yet to prove that he has that little plastic thingy that holds them all together. Remains to be seen, of course, but I sure don’t see him as the next Bobby Bowden or Jimbo Fisher.

          I doubt that LSU will be anywhere near #11 by the time that game rolls around, but if they are, and if we’ve really gelled by then, Katie-bar-the-door.

          • 6… your comments are spot on today. I think you are dead on accurate of the FSU and Taggart situation. FSU will win games, just because they’ve got talent. But I’ve thought from day one that they could’ve done better with their coaching hire. But they’ll get no tears of sympathy from me if this turns out to be true.

      • I thoroughly enjoyed watching FSU get throttled by VT, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves with the Taggart is overrated nonsense. Rest assured they will be much improved when we play them in November. Still don’t believe we beat them this year. They have too many thoroughbreds (as compared to us) and are still getting used to a compete overhaul of their O and D. Look at other 1st year performances for comparison — Kirby Smart dropped 5 games (1-point win over lowly Nichols State), Saban lost to La-Monroe, and Chip Kelly (at Oregon) lost to Boise State. Also, Meyer got chunked by VT at home in 2014 and went in to work natty. Slow it down, Gatas, slow it down.

        • I think you’re giving him way too much credit. I mean lets be real here, VT was ranked #20. Smart’s first game was against the #22 ranked team with a true freshman starting his first game and won. Smart had never been a head coach in his life. Taggart has 8 years of experience and took over a team that was supposedly loaded, especially at RB and 4 offensive lineman with starting experience. Unlike Smart, he’s supposed to be an offensive guru. Francois won 10 games in 2016 and even threw for almost 300 yards against #3 Clemson when they went on to win the title. The offense looked like a complete joke and couldn’t do squat. They made VT look like the most dominant D in college football. That was about as poor a performance as I’ve ever seen a first time power 5 coach have. Kelly’s was bad but he didn’t inherit nearly the talent Taggart did. I truly believe Mullen would’ve won that game had he been coaching. If not he certainly would’ve scored a few TDs. Jimbo wins it easily. Taggart’s overrated and it’s going to play out this season.

          • Come on now, Taggart inherited an offense that went 3-5 in the ACC last year and François is coming off a serious injury and still needs to wear a brace. I know it feels good to hate on the Noles — it does for me, too — but it’s way too early for post-mortems on Taggart. Truth is, the early loss has exposed issues that a blowout win over an easy opponent would not have uncovered. They can now correct the problems and end up better off for it — see 2014 Ohio State (who as I said lost at home to VT of all teams yet went on to win the national championship).

            Also, I failed to mention that in his first year Smart lost to Vandy between the hedges — I’ll say it again, lost to Vandy between the hedges — and ended up with two more losses than Richt did in his final year. Despite this, Smart went gangbusters with recruiting and molded the team to his style. This year, Taggart is expected to sign Thibodeaux (top recruit in the nation) and a slew of other top talent and end up with a Top 5 class overall. If that happens, I pity us having to play both FSU and UGA in the coming years.

          • I feel no pity at all having to play both UGA and FSU in the coming years….hell, I hope we play Bama or Auburn too, because that will mean we’re in the SEC championship game. I don’t care how many 8* athletes they recruit, don’t you think we’ll be better too? Or do you expect us to stand still? I swear, if we ever adopt that type of fearful, sissified attitude about playing other good college teams, we ought to drop football as an NCAA sport and concentrate on ping-pong instead. That’s the silliest nonsense I’ve ever heard from a supposed Gator.

  5. There was a time when I would have said I would never live long enough to see Navy beat Notre Dame. But then it happened – twice in 3 years. So – somehow, someway, someday – Kentucky IS going to beat the Gators. But I don’t think this Saturday is that day. Go Gators.

  6. For the 1st couple comments, Wow, what hopefulness, what a prize, to NOT to stay at the ”bottom of the SEC East pack.” Well, Coach Dan Mullen won’t win every game as Head Coach at U.F. But at present, he’s only lost 2 as a coach for U.F. in The Swamp; he’s presently at 27-2. And that is where I’ll hang my Gator hat. Not on the dreadful thoughts of NOT being an ”SEC East bottom dweller.” Go Gators! Tame those Cats!

  7. The Gators won the SEC on the field in 1984 but the Gators were stripped of the championship in a vote of the SEC athletic directors and presidents. Among the leaders of the vote against Florida was Vince Dooley.

    Er, skinny walk-in or skinny walk-on?

  8. we’re going to dominate KY…. this game will not even be close… it will 32 saturday, and then 33, 34, etc… It’s in the swamp. Score will be out of reach by start of 4th quarter. This is not even a discussion.
    AGAIN, if they could not beat us last year, it’s surely not gonna happen saturday. We’re gonna be 3-0 and ready for VOL nation …. LOVE IT

    • amen, moving from the ice bowl advantage to the heat of the swamp has really changed things, plus weve had better coaching, more good players, a little luck, a danny weirrfuel to chris doerring classic play, and weve better fans. they are great basketball fans, but football isn’t #1 in Lexington imo. Lots of good conversation above on FSU and LSU, I was surprised by both. some coaches need a year or two, we may yet be saying that about coach mullen, and if that’s what it takes for long term success count me in 100%.
      but one sentence, I’m sorry, I have to disagree, we are not now, and not in the last 58 years, a mid or lower level SEC team. if we have a coaching underperformance or something goes haywire, we may be down temporarily, but if so that’s on the coach, not the program. losing a game to Kentucky or to south Carolina, or Arkansas, or LSU under Ed Orgeron wont change that.

  9. This is entertaining writing, but in reality there is nothing like this “streak”, it only seems that way. I want us to play well, to our potential. Then KY will probably never beat us. We should have superior players and coaches, so we should always beat KY, and Vandy.

  10. I am not big on talking trash before the game, as the opposing coaches will post it on their team’s bulletin boards to motivate them. A much better approach is to tell the Gator football team to get things done on the field – actions speak much louder than words. Maturity calls for zipping your lips (re: bragging) and showing who is the better team on the football field.

  11. I been reading the KY writers opinions this week and they all say that THIS IS THE YEAR because KY had 2 RBs with more than 100 yrds rushing last week and Charles. Southern had a 70 yard run in the first half (but did not score) and the frosh and sophs Mullen played in the 2nd half for experience gave up 129 rushing yards (in the 2nd half). Oh, I forgot. KY got those two rushers against Western ‘freakin’ Michigan, that powerhouse of the Big State of Michigan. How many years have I heard this same prediction from KY writers (and they always allude to the ‘questionable refereeing in the game’ that always favors Florida. Stop yapping and let the KY players prove it on the field. If they do, hats off to them. If they don’t, stop making excuses.

  12. Back in the 80’s and maybe 70’s when KY was getting a share of the wins, I came to realize that their fans were really vile winners. That turned me away from whatever pity I had for them for any football win we got. Their basketball team certainly doesn’t care about whipping us and every other team they play for as many times in a row as they can do it.