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Billy Donovan blasts Florida Gators after 57-54 loss to UCF

Florida
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Donovan didn’t mince words when asked about his team’s performance Wednesday night. (Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel)

The Florida Gators’ issues are bigger than a poor showing against UCF, Billy Donovan says. The Gators fell to the Knights 57-54 at Amway Center as they struggled from the three-point range (2-of-13), the free-throw line (10-of-18), and protecting the ball (14 turnovers).

Donovan, in the most blunt he’s been about his team this season, said his seniors are being too selfish.

“Those older guys are, to me, less concerned about trying to do something great collectively as a group and are more wrapped up in what’s going to happen to me,” Donovan said. “All of our older guys are way, way too wrapped up in their offense.”

While center Vernon Macklin was nearly unstoppable on the low block — he scored 20 points on 10-of-11 shooting — the Gators’ guards failed to keep feeding the big man. Instead, Donovan said, perimeter guys Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton and Chandler Parsons were concerned with creating shots for themselves.

The trio combined to shoot 34.6 percent.

“Let’s get Vernon the ball,” Donovan said. “But we’re too wrapped up in I didn’t get a shot now or I missed my last one.”

Donovan continued: “They’re not playing together and they’re not utilizing each others’ individual talents. The disappointing part is these guys all played together last year.

“We have a bunch of guys on the floor that make nobody better.”

The players didn’t disagree.

“We have a lot of talent,” Parsons said. “But to be a great team, you have to be a team. You can’t have any selfishness.”

So where do the Gators go from here?

They have to get better, obviously. And they have to be less selfish.

But more consequently, Donovan didn’t rule out the possibility of shifting the rotation.

“We’ve got try to find a way to get it corrected, and I’m not saying make a bunch of changes right now,” he said. “I got to get some of these other guys more looks to play right now. We do have a deeper bench and we have been trying to utilize it.”

Zach McCann can be reached at zmccann@orlandosentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ZachMcCann.


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Do seven combined losses affect Gators-Noles rivalry?

Florida
Content provided by Swamp Things – Gators Blog.

There are no national championship bids on the line today when the Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles kick off. Heck, there are barely conference championships in play. So is any of the luster lost in one of college football’s fiercest rivalries? We decided to walk around the tailgating scene and asked fans what they thought.


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Reviewing South Carolina at Florida: Summing Up What It Means for the Program

South Carolina
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GAINESVILLE FL – NOVEMBER 13: Stephen Garcia #5 of the South Carolina Gamecocks rushes for a touchdown against Will Hill #10 of the Florida Gators during a game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 13 2010 in Gainesville Florida. The Gamecocks beat the Gators 36-14. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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Two days after taking it to the Florida Gators, Gamecock Nation is still ecstatically celebrating. The glow has yet to fade, the good vibes yet to fizzle out. And perhaps that’s just as well, because while the victory itself was memorable, its implications for the future are just as positive. The win, first of all, ensures or makes possible a number of firsts for the program. These include:

  • Its first SEC East Title, and a shot at its first SEC Title.
  • A shot at its ever first BCS Bowl berth.
  • Its first-ever win in The Swamp.
  • Barring disaster against Troy, its first eight-win regular season of the Spurrier era. Carolina has won eight regular-season games only six times in its history, with the last being 2001.
  • Granting wins against Troy and Clemson, a shot at its first ten-win season since 1984 and only its second ever.

These are / would be great accomplishments for a program with our history, and they should make possible even greater accomplishments to come. This win, along with the previous ones against Georgia and Alabama, is making us a national name, and that should pay major dividends on the recruiting trail. In a year when many of the programs we’re competing with to sign our last few targets–Alabama, Clemson, etc.–are struggling to meet expectations, the ‘Cocks have taken a major step forward. Recruits will see this and, hopefully, will want to catch a ride on this train now that they know that Steve Spurrier’s claims about winning SEC Titles at Carolina were not idle boasting. Javedeon Clonwney, Phillip Dukes, and Lateek Townshend all undoubtedly saw us slaughter the vaunted Gators, and the win should put us that much closer to signing these guys. These are the kinds of players that can help us sustain and supersede the success we’ve had this year.

Make no mistake, this all means that this was a huge win, one of the biggest ever for us. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Some rival fans are going to say that we only won the East because the traditional powers were down. Anyone who says that can shove it you-know-where. We stepped up and took the trophy by winning in one of the most hostile environments in college football, and we had to weather a crowd that was rowdy after the opening kickoff return to do it. That’s a major accomplishment, and its a testament to our coaches and team that they were able to save such a special performance for the biggest stage they’d ever been on. No one can take that away from us, and we’ll always have the banner to prove that we did it. Despite the bumps, this has been a special year, and I think there’s a good chance it could get much better.


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Rambling Thoughts on South Carolina Winning the SEC East Championship

South Carolina
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GAINESVILLE FL - NOVEMBER 13:  Stephen Garcia #5 of the South Carolina Gamecocks waves to fans after winning a game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 13 2010 in Gainesville Florida. The Gamecocks beat the Gators 36-14.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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about 3 hours ago:

GAINESVILLE FL – NOVEMBER 13: Stephen Garcia #5 of the South Carolina Gamecocks waves to fans after winning a game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 13 2010 in Gainesville Florida. The Gamecocks beat the Gators 36-14. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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Go ‘Cocks! Our South Carolina Gamecocks wrapped up a commanding victory over the Florida Gators tonight to secure our first-ever berth in the SEC Championship Game. It’s been a long time coming, but this is it–we’re going to play for an SEC Title in Atlanta! We’re now one step away from the Promised Land that Steve Spurrier promised us when he arrived in Columbia. It feels great, doesn’t it? We’ve finally arrived. This is “next year.”

Below are a few quick thoughts on the game. I’ll try to be back with something more coherent tomorrow or the next day. Like I said, I’m traveling over the weekend, so my time to blog may be limited. I can say, though, that I got to watch and enjoy the game with some good folks, many of them Gamecocks. It was a special experience.

  • The only negative thing I can think of right now is that I really don’t understand why this team is so inconsistent. I mean, we’ve now convincingly beaten Alabama, absolutely crushed Florida, lost to Kentucky, and been crushed by Arkansas. The highs and lows with this team have been astounding. Tonight made it all worth it, though.
  • Now the good stuff. First of all, Steve Spurrier schooled Urban Meyer in this game, and not necessarily from a play-calling perspective. Rather, what really strikes me about this game is how Spurrier has tweaked his philosophy over the past couple of years, bringing in assistants with philosophies that don’t exactly mesh with the Fun’n'Gun and giving them a hand in revamping the Carolina offense to fit the talent we have. Meyer, on the other hand, is now floundering in the absence of Tim Tebow and Dan Mullen, struggling to find an offensive approach that works now that he doesn’t have the talent to match his philosophy. A lot of folks have criticized Spurrier over the past few years for being unable to adapt to the times, while many have called Meyer the cutting edge of modern college football. Tonight, though, it was clear to me that Spurrier remains a coach who can adapt and build a team, philosophy, and game plan with the best of them. Hats off to Coach Spurrier for what he accomplished tonight.
  • Let’s also not forget the great individual performances we saw in this game. Most of the attention on the national scene is going to go to Marcus Lattimore for turning in what was undoubtedly one of the best single-game performances in Carolina history. Lattimore isn’t the only guy who deserves major credit, though, so let’s not forget to recognize some of the other big performers. How about the defensive front line? The offensive line? And how about Stephen Garcia? He wasn’t asked to do much because we were able to ride Lattimore so much, but when called on to produce key plays, Garcia delivered. He played an almost mistake-free game, made some beautiful passes, and that TD run was a man-up play for the ages. It had to have been cathartic for Garcia to finally turn in a complete performance on the road. You could see how happy he was at the end of the game.
  • For me as a fan, this had to be the greatest of Carolina victories. I mean, the level of catharsis Gamecocks fans should be experiencing right now is just astounding. No longer have we never won the SEC East. No longer have we never won in Gainesville. No longer are we the team that always craps the bed in these situations. No longer…
  • Not sure what to think about Auburn right now. One thing’s for sure, and that’s that the game is going to be a bit of a media circus. Let’s just leave it at that for now.

That’s a wrap for tonight, folks. Like I said, I’ll be back when I get a chance. In the meantime, I’ll be basking in the light of this victory.


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South Carolina Gamecocks – 2010 SEC East Champions! GO COCKS!

South Carolina
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GAINESVILLE FL - NOVEMBER 13:  Marcus Lattimore #21 of the South Carolina Gamecocks rushes for a touchdown during a game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 13 2010 in Gainesville Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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Mike Ehrmann – Getty Images

about 3 hours ago:

GAINESVILLE FL – NOVEMBER 13: Marcus Lattimore #21 of the South Carolina Gamecocks rushes for a touchdown during a game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 13 2010 in Gainesville Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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GAMECOCKS 36  GATORS 14


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Pictures: Florida Gators fall to South Carolina Gamecocks

Florida
Content provided by Swamp Things – Gators Blog.

Florida head coach Urban Meyer leaves the field following the Gators’ 36-14 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks in Gainesville, Fla. Saturday, November 13, 2010.  (Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel)

To see more pictures from the game, click here.

Follow the Sentinel photo staff on Twitter @OSPhoto.  Find us on Facebook:  Orlando Sentinel Photography.


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WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: South Carolina vs. Florida is big, in case you missed it

Florida
Content provided by Swamp Things – Gators Blog.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier returns to The Swamp in the hunt for an SEC Eastern Division title. (US Presswire photo)

Swamp Things could hype this game if we wanted, but really, would that be necessary. No 23 South Carolina (6-3, 4-3 SEC) plays No. 22 Florida (6-3, 4-3) in The Swamp with a trip to the SEC title game on the line.

Let’s take a look at the stories heading into the game:

1. Gamecocks juggle emotions as game to decide SEC East nears, Travis Haney, Charleston Post & Courier

The buzz: South Carolina is caught between hyping the game as the biggest in its history and downplaying it to avoid nervousness.

2. Florida CB Janoris Jenkins charged with blanketing another tall receiver, Rachel George, Orlando Sentinel

The buzz: Jenkins has already shut down two great SEC receivers. Can he do it to South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery?

3. Rainey getting redemption, Robbie Andreu, The Gainesville Sun

The buzz: After his arrest, Florida’s Chris Rainey is finding success again.

4. Florida Gators’ Urban Meyer has nothing but respect for South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier, Antonya English, St. Petersburg Times

The buzz: Florida’s current coach is friends with its former coach.

5. Steve Spurrier expected to rely on ground game against Florida Gators on Saturday, Jason Lieser, The Palm Beach Post

The buzz: With standout RB Marcus Lattimore, expect the Gamecocks to run the ball vs. the Gators.


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SEC East Championship Set For 7:15pm on ESPN or ESPN2

South Carolina
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The South Carolina Gamecocks will play the Florida Gators for what will most likely be the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division Championship on November 13th at 7:15pm on either ESPN or ESPN2 in Gainesville, FL.  #17 South Carolina is currently 6-2 (3-2) and coming off of a win against Tennessee.  Florida improved to 6-3 (3-3) after defeating Georgia in overtime at the game formerly known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.  This week, the Gators travel to Nashville to play Vanderbilt (2-6, 1-4).  Carolina plays #19 Arkansas (6-2, 3-2) in the friendly confines of Williams-Brice Stadium, where the Gamecocks have now won 16 of their last 19 games.  While a Gator loss and a South Carolina victory would make the title of this post obsolete and crown the Gamecocks SEC East Champs, a Carolina loss and probable Florida win will not disrupt the Gamecocks’ shot in Gainesville.  South Carolina has never won at The Swamp.  The time is now.


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Florida Gators 34, Georgia Bulldogs 31

Georgia
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I’m going to offer a handful of observations, after which I personally would prefer never to speak of this again:

  • As I alluded to in the early comment thread, I felt worse and worse about this game the closer we got to kickoff. The more I thought about the bye week, and the Florida Gators’ desperation, and the return to health of a few Floridians who were at less than 100 per cent during the Sunshine State Saurians’ losing streak, the more worried I became.
  • Related to that point, how lucky can one team in a given rivalry get? We never catch these guys when they have key guys out, the way Mississippi State caught them; they invariably catch us at the most inopportune times (i.e., during the one game D.J. Shockley was injured in 2005). For crying out loud, Florida benefited from its own false start penalties, which erased positive Georgia plays on more than one occasion in a game in which the Orange and Blue were penalized nine times to the Bulldogs’ two. The ludicrous extent to which random chance favors the Gators would be comical, if it weren’t so gut-wrenching.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs wore their silver britches, but they also brought their silver platters, on which they offered up this game to the Orange and Blue. Three first-half turnovers became 14 Florida points, and a Trey Burton fumble that should’ve been fallen on inside the Gators’ 15 yard line instead was returned to the Floridians possession when a Bulldog defender foolishly attempted a scoop and score; thus, a play that ought to have produced a Georgia drive beginning in the opponent’s red zone instead extended an Orange and Blue touchdown march. At worst, the Red and Black should have held a 10-0 halftime lead. The Bulldogs gave the Gators everything they got in the first half.
  • We’ve all been waiting for Aaron Murray to have a game in which he looked like a redshirt freshman, and now the other shoe has dropped. Despite an atrocious start, though, the Georgia quarterback came back to post a respectable stat line (18 of 37 for 313 yards). He threw three touchdown passes and turned the ball over four times (three interceptions and a fumble); had his touchdowns and his turnovers been even, we’d have won the game.
  • It really was as close as the final score indicated. Florida led by one in first downs (23-22) and by eleven yards in total offense (450-439). Had Georgia held the ball for 38 more seconds, the two teams’ time of possession would have been identical.
  • While this loss feels a lot like the Arkansas game, there is one critical difference: questionable coaching doomed the ‘Dawgs against the Razorbacks, but the Georgia staff generally coached a good game this time. The game plan and the in-game adjustments generally were good, aside from our continued inability to defend the wheel route. By the way, for everyone who was worried about “third and Grantham” after last week, the Bulldogs converted eight of 15 third downs while limiting Florida to four of 14 on third down and stopping the Gators short on their one fourth-down try. After allowing 21 first-half points in spite of a key defensive stop to start the game, Georgia held Florida to ten points in the final 30 minutes of regulation play.
  • How much does that bye week matter? Healthy returning players and a retooled offense made a world of difference for the Gators. The folks who say we should move the Georgia-Florida game are right, but the change should be a chronological one, not a geographic one. The Bulldogs are 8-14 all-time against the Gators in October and 39-26-2 against them in November. We don’t need the game to be nearer; we need it to be later.
  • We still can’t get over the hump, but, even in defeat, the ‘Dawgs at least reversed the trend of the last two games, which were disasters. As lopsided as the series recently has been in the record book, the fact remains that, between 1990 and 1998, seven of nine meetings were decided by margins of at least 20 points, but six of the last nine have been settled by a touchdown or less.
  • I am proud of this team for fighting through the adversity. Down 21-7 at the half and knowing Florida would get the ball to start the third quarter, this Georgia team fought where the two previous Bulldog squads folded. The defense came up with a big stop to start the second half, after which the offense drove 65 yards and kicked a field goal. The defense forced a three-and-out, then the offense answered with a touchdown. The heart shown by the Bulldogs makes the loss hurt worse, but, when the sun rises tomorrow (and it will), it will make the future appear more bright. I’m disappointed to a degree I lack the vocabulary adequately to describe, but I’m not sorry for believing in this team.
  • Chris Rainey caught two passes for nine yards, returned six kickoffs for 148 yards, and ran the ball 16 times for 84 yards and a touchdown. Prior to today’s game, Rainey also was arrested after texting “time to die” to a woman, was dismissed from the team, agreed to a deferral to a misdemeanor charge, and was reinstated to the team following the Gators’ three-game losing streak. Given the fates met by Michael Lemon, Montez Robinson, Zach Mettenberger, and Demetre Baker in Athens, I don’t think there’s any doubt that, had Rainey been a Bulldog, Mark Richt would have dismissed him from the team, and he would have stayed dismissed from the team. I watched today’s game with my seven-year-old son, and I was able to look him in the eye afterward and feel comfortable with having taught him to cheer for Mark Richt’s team. While I would have been happier with the result, I wouldn’t have been able to have looked him in the eye and felt comfortable with having taught him to cheer for Urban Meyer’s team.

Go ‘Dawgs!


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Hate Week: It all comes down to this.

Georgia
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Let’s get one thing straight: I hate Florida.  It’s not just a simple dislike, a harmonious discord, or even a deep, latent enmity. I hate Florida with the fire of a thousand suns being stoked by the fire of an additional thousand suns.  In a world where my choices were to cheer for Florida or go blind, I’d start learning Braille.  Most of the time, however, I am (relatively) civil while expressing this intense Gator hatred. 

For one week a  year, though, I allow my hate to come out of the closet and be displayed in its raw, naked form.  This is that week.

All I can say, my fellow Dawg fans, is… Bravo! The Bulldog Nation has come through royally this week in its unmitigated hatred of everything that is the Florida Gators. Since the beginning of Hate Week, some people have engaged in statistical analysis, sketchy statistical analysis with an agendatried to ignore the buildup, (before joining the fray), and we’ve written a whole ton of anti-Gator poetry (and a little visual art, as well).

I only hope that, when kickoff approaches tomorrow, our team absolutely brings it on the field as much as the fans have in the blogosphere!  Great job, Dawg fans!  Pat yourself on the back for a Hate-week-job well done.

Today is the conclusion of my week-long series on why I hate the Florida Gators, and you should, too. I’ve already crossed into enemy territory, and will be feasting on the flesh of the enemy for dinner this evening at Park’s Seafood Restaurant in Daytona Beach.  Stop on by and say hello if you’re in the neighborhood!  I’ll be the big guy in the red Georgia polo shirt and khaki shorts  (but no red Georgia cap).

Resuming the countdown…

 

Gator Hater Reason #5: They don’t know the difference between an alligator and a crocodile

This is a crocodile:

Gators_medium

This is an alligator:

Gator_medium

It’s very easy to tell the difference, guys…. it’s not brain surgery!  Rounded snout+few visible teeth = Alligator.  Narrow, longer snout+lots of visible teeth = Crocodile.

Now, to be fair, sometimes the mascot they’ve used is so nebulous as to be impossible to tell the difference.  To wit:

Well, he has no visible teeth, so I guess he’s an alligator, after all.

Their current graphical incarnation of their mascot, though, is without a doubt a crocodile.

Lens5730432_1246842131180px-floridagatoralbertlogo_medium

Since the Florida athletic department can’t seem to decide whether their mascot is an alligator or a crocodile, maybe we should just call them the Florida Croc-o-gators.

Either way, though… you can have ‘em, ’cause I hate ‘em.

 

Gator Hater Reason #4: They give you hope that you can win, then snatch it away at the last second.

This was a rare occurence during the first decade of Gator dominance in the 1990′s. For the last 10 years, this has been their specialty, and it’s especially gut-wrenching.  I’ve already mentioned the 1993 game for which I was in attendance. That was back during a time when we still came to Jacksonville expecting to beat the Sunshine State Saurians every year, though.  Over the last 10 years, we have come into the River City with arguably the better team at least 4 or 5 times, only to leave in bitter disappointment most of those times.

I specifically remember the 2005 engagement, when we started the game the previous week against Arkansas 6-0 and supremely confident.  D.J. Shockley went down against the Hogs, however, and even though Georgia hung on to enter the Florida game at 7-0 and ranked #4 in the country, Shockley missed the entire game and the Dawgs went humbly in a 14-10 setback to the 5-2 Gators, who were ranked #18.

And then there was the Ron Zook era in Gainesville, where two of Mark Richt’s best squads to date (2002 and 2003) both failed to upend our reptilian overlords, losing 20-13 and 16-13, respectively.  (The 2004 team did manage to beat the Zooker after he was fired the week of the Georgia game after losing to the Western Division Bulldogs the week before.)

This year, the Gators have once again endeavored to give the Bulldog Nation hope that this… this… could be the year that the Croc-o-gator curse is turned around and the series starts trending back towards the Bulldogs.  And although my unyielding hatred of everything scaly and reptilian, no matter what they call themselves, compels me to predict a repeat of Georgia’s 1942 75-0 drubbing of the Gators; I have to admit that in my heart, I will remain skeptical of the result until the game is actually complete.

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, I hate you.  Fool me 17 out of 20 years… GGRRRRRRRRRRR.

 

Gator Hater Reason #3: Jorts.

Pictures speak louder than words, but suffice it to say, the Gators have taken something good and honest…

Daisy_dukes_catherine_bach_as_daisy_duke

… and turned it into an object of ridicule and shame.

Gator-jorts-gay-jorts_medium Gator-jorts_medium L9dc269ab0d8e05d3d5d964_medium

Dang, I hate Florida.

 

Gator Hater Reason #2: If When we beat them this year, they will want us to say, “Thank You.”

Literally from the moment he first matriculated at the University of Georgia in 1973, Greg McGarity’s loyalty has been aligned with the winning side in the Georgia/Florida football rivalry.  McGarity graduated from Georgia in 1976, served as women’s tennis coach for a few years, and worked thereafter in the Georgia athletics department.  He was hired away by Florida in 1992, just two years after Florida started its current winning streak. 

Now, McGarity has rejoined the battle on Georgia’s side of the field.  Some people might say that correlation does not equal causation, but I’m not buying it, and neither will the Gators if we suddenly start another winning streak in this series.  Greg McGarity is a Damn Good Dawg, and he is a Georgia man that was lost in enemy territory for years before returning home two months ago.  The only bad part about having him turn our fortunes in this game is that the Gators will bitterly say, “You’re Welcome,” after every defeat they suffer.

But you know what?  I’d totally be willing to put up with it.

 

Now, finally, we have arrived at the number one reason that I hate the Gators, and you should too…

 

 

Gator Hater Reason #1: You don’t need a reason.  We are the Georgia Bulldogs.  They are the Florida Gators.

This…

Georgialogo_mediumGeorgialogo_medium

… is completely incompatible in every conceivable way with this.

2479_medium

They are Gators, we are Bulldogs. We must break them.

 

I will be in attendance at EverBank field 24 hours hence.  Until then, I will be enjoying the late-October Sunshine State weather with my family for most of the evening.  I’ll be around a little bit, though.  Have a great evening, everyone!  Party responsibly tomorrow!

Go Dawgs!  Beat Florida!


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