To refer to a game like today’s against Idaho as a necessary evil is not 100-percent accurate. Yes, it serves a purpose financially for the University Athletic Association and certainly beats playing Idaho on the road (the low on Saturday in Moscow, Idaho is 29 degrees).
And with an eight-game conference schedule and rivalry games all around the SEC, many teams are taking a bite out of cupcakes even if they don’t taste very good.
If we went to a nine-game schedule in the SEC and … oh, what’s the point? You’ve heard all of this before.
You don’t want to see Idaho any more than Alabama fans want to see The Citadel or Georgia fans want to see UMass or FSU fans want to see, well, FSU.
But that’s not where I’m going here. I’m instead going to write a column that some might seem as homer-ish. Not Homer, the Greek author (“Be still my heart; thou hast known worse than this”) or Homer Simpson (“Mmmm, donuts”).
If you don’t want to attend today’s game, that’s your right. If you want to clean the leaves out of the gutter or take the kids to a movie or sort out your sock drawer, that’s cool.
Either way, I have to be at the game today. And I invite you to join me. Heck, I can give you 10 mediocre reasons.
1. It’s Senior Day
This senior class is hardly going to go down as one of the most memorable in UF history. But it would be nice to send them out the right way.
Think of the four guys who will walk today who are on their third head coach. Or the four-year seniors who have 30 wins and two SEC East championships in their resumes so far. Or a guy like Dre Massey, who came here out of junior college and things just never worked out for him.
These guys have been through a lot.
“They’ve done some great things for Florida,” UF coach Dan Mullen said. “They’ve bought in. You don’t recruit these guys and they are only going to be with you for one season. They could have said, ‘I’m just going to play it out.’ I couldn’t be more pleased with them.”
2. It’s Freshmen Day
Because Florida gets to expand its roster (instead of being limited to 70 in SEC games) and because of the new redshirt rule, there’s no telling who you might see today.
I think a lot of fans will show up just hoping they get some serious Emory Jones fix. And who knows? There may be a Jacob Copeland sighting.
“He’s going to have an opportunity,” Mullen said, “hopefully to get into the game.”
3. It’s your last chance
This is it folks. You may not like the opponent and the time of the game may put a major crimp in your tailgating, but this is the last home game for 294 days.
4. There’s nothing else on
It really is a bad day for college football. We could go on about how the sport needs to do a better job of making every week special, but that’s another column for another day.
There are a couple of games that are interesting, but you’ll be home for the UCF-Cincy game if that floats your boat and you’re really not going to miss a whole lot else.
5. Tickets should be cheap
Walk around an hour before the game, look for the desperate guy with six tickets in the air and take your whole family for under $100. Thank me later.
6. You and Feleipe can make up
You were mad at him. He was mad at you. But you really want to get back together. It’s like when Andy and Helen were fighting and Barney and Thelma Lou set them up on a blind date.
Feleipe Franks is your quarterback. He doesn’t always put the dishes in the sink and leaves the toilet seat down, but you belong together. At least for a few more games.
7. Didn’t you learn anything?
Last week I wrote about the Florida win and said that this is why you come to games. Nobody is expecting something as dramatic, but you go to scream and yell and cheer and smile and you never know what might happen, right? That’s why you go.
8. It’s gonna be perfect
OK, so you have to get up early, but the weather is supposed to be 66 degrees and sunny at kickoff.
9. You’re gonna win
At least according to ESPN’s FPI, Florida has a 98.8 percent chance to win. There aren’t that many games in a season that are almost guaranteed wins, especially once we get past September.
10. This game matters
OK, it isn’t going to help Florida’s strength of schedule, but the Gators could take one step closer to a New Year’s Six bowl with a win. Florida is 13th in the latest College Football Playoff standings and would have a shot if it makes the top 12. So it matters. Kind of.
If I haven’t convinced you, that’s fine. Your choice. If I have, see you there. I’ll be the one limping down the stairs at the end of the game.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.