College Football: Why the Florida Gators Fear "X" More Than "Y"
Part of college football has always been the pageantry, the story line before and after the game, and the history each game has or provides shortly thereafter. And every team has one—an adversary, a rival, an enemy, or a loathed opposing head coach.
The Florida Gators are one of the most (if not the most) hated teams in the SEC due to the success the team has enjoyed over the past 20 years, the personalities of past coaches, and the arrogance the citizens of the Gator Nation possess.
That being said, the Gators surely have teams or coaches they would rather not face, preferring to deal with other teams or coaches instead. Their preference could be based on the team's history, the coach, the fan base, or something else completely.
Here are five examples of teams that Florida Gators would rather have to face due to history, present successes, or simply "just because," compared with five teams that the Gators fear.
The Gators Fear the South Carolina Gamecocks More Than the Georgia Bulldogs
Let's start with the SEC Eastern Division, and divisional rivals Gamecocks and Bulldogs.
Ever since the "Ole Ball Coach" Steve Spurrier accepted the position at South Carolina, he has always been the X factor every year that they face the Gators. Even when the Gators were favored to win, admittedly most if not all Gator fans were worried that Spurrier would dig deep and come up with a victory against his alma mater.
Since becoming the Gamecocks' head coach, South Carolina's record against Florida is 3-4.
The Georgia Bulldogs have been Florida's arch-nemesis for decades.
For the longest time, Georgia owned Florida on the gridiron until the aforementioned Steve Spurrier took the head coaching job in 1990. Since then, Florida has lost to Georgia just four times, an 18-4 record.
In summary, the Gators have lost to Spurrier three times in seven seasons, and Georgia four times in 22 years.
Yeah, the Gators fear South Carolina much more than they do the Georgia Bulldogs.
The Gators Fear the Alabama Crimson Tide More Than the LSU Tigers
Now we will look at the SEC Western Division.
Without question, the two most powerful teams that Florida has to deal with lately are the Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers. Yes, one could argue that Auburn is a nemesis, but Alabama and LSU are the most recent powers out of that division.
Ever since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide faithful were counting the days until Alabama football again ruled the SEC landscape. When Alabama defeated the Tim Tebow-led Gators in the 2010 SEC Championship game, the torch may have been handed to Alabama as the No. 1 team to beat in the conference year in and year out.
The state of Alabama has produced the last three BCS champions, and the Crimson TIde own two of those three. Florida, on the other hand, has fallen from the mountain top and is now staring up.
The Alabama-Florida rivalry was arguably toughest three years ago, before Meyer left to spend time with his family. Meyer was soon found in ESPN world, traveling the country calling games, before accepting the job at Ohio State. In the meantime, Will Muschamp was given the honorable duty of cleaning up Meyer's mess and getting Florida back to competing in the SEC once again.
LSU, on the other hand, has given Florida fits lately as well.
But when Alabama owns two BCS titles in three seasons, and has arguably the best coach in college football (and Will Muschamp's former boss), the nod easily goes to the Tide.
The Gators Fear the Miami Hurricanes More Than the FSU Seminoles
For years now, college football fans in the state of Florida have wanted the Florida-Miami rivalry to renew.
The Gators claim that they have FSU on their permanent schedule, and with the number of SEC teams they must play each season, they simply can't play the Canes every year. Miami fans simply feel that the Gators are scared.
If they are, I don't blame them—they have good reason to be.
Florida's record against the Hurricanes is 26-28, with the most recent and last game played in 2008. Before that game, the last time the Gators defeated Miami was in 1985. The annual series ended in 1987.
The Florida-FSU rivalry has been more frequent over the past 25 years, and the Gators still hold a commanding record of 33-21-2. Although, FSU has won the last two games, the last one was pretty painful to watch.
The Gators Fear the Missouri Tigers More Than Texas A&M Aggies
Taking a look at the two newest members of the SEC, the Missouri Tigers and the Texas A&M Aggies, it's clear that the Tigers should be more of a nemesis for the Gators than the Aggies.
Yes, the Aggies have the 12th man, and Florida will be introduced to "him" when the Gators come calling on College Station in early September. However, the Tigers will be a permanent fixture in the Eastern Division; therefore the Gators will have to face them every season.
Also, head coach Gary Pinkel has been at Missouri since 2001, whereas the Aggies have had four head coaches (including new head coach for 2012 Kevin Sumlin) and two interim head coaches in the same period.
The Aggies may have more tradition and more hall-of-fame players, but as of late they could barely compete in the Big 12. Do they really think they can handle the SEC?
I guess the same thing could be said for Missouri, too.
The Gators Fear FSU Head Coach Jimbo Fisher More Than UGA Head Coach Mark Richt
Last but not least, we must compare FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher with UGA head coach Mark Richt.
Since Fisher took over in Tallahassee, he has taken down the Gators two years in a row.
Richt, on the other hand, finally defeated the Gators in 2011, but barely. It took a miracle for the Bulldogs to beat Florida in Jacksonville, but who can be blamed for the fact that Charlie Weis got hungry and ate the offensive playbook in the fourth quarter?
Seriously though, FSU is back and competing and must be not be taken for granted.
Georgia, on the other hand, is still Georgia, no matter how badly the Bulldogs faithful want to believe that they have Florida's number.
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