Tick tock, tick tock—the clock continues to tick down—and It's less than two weeks until the regular season kicks off. The new turf has been laid at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and warm summer rains and sprinklers are helping the grass take root.
Come Saturday, September 1, the Florida Gators will welcome the Bowling Green Falcons to the place where so many great memories have been made the past 22 years.
In 1991, Steve Spurrier's Florida team won its first SEC championship. Several of the wins of the 7-0 conference record happened on this field. From '93-'96, the Gators won four more conference championships and one national championship.
Spurrier's team won many of the games here that allowed it to play for his last conference championship in 2000 in Atlanta. But he came so very close to winning another and playing for another national championship right here, in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, on December 2, 2001.
From 2002 until 2005 were the Ron Zook years. Not bad teams—8-5, 8-5 and 7-5—but by now, the Gators knew there was more, and they wanted it.
Enter Urban Meyer. Meyer won SEC and national titles in 2006 and 2008 and went 13-1 in 2009, one win from a third SEC championship and national title game appearance. Many of the wins and memories of the Urban Meyer years occurred in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Tim Tebow, arguably the best college quarterback to ever play the game, won many of his games right here.
The Florida Gators have seen a history of great football teams and built an elite legacy in the game in just over 21 years—right here—in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Will Muschamp, the latest keeper of the flame, has been entrusted with this storied—though admittedly short—winning history of Gator football.
Come Saturday, September 1, 2012, he will begin year two of his tenure. The opponent is a school from Ohio known as the Bowling Green Falcons.
They have a team, coaches, cheerleaders and fans. They, like everyone, else enter the season full of hope and pride, confidence and excitement. They will come from Ohio to Ben Hill Griffin to test themselves against a Gator team that has had two years of not bad teams.
But this is Florida. Where not bad is not good enough. Coach Zook learned that lesson the difficult way. Only one of the two current "not bad" years belong to coach Muschamp.
The hopes of Gator Nation are that he is going to learn how to win big in about half the time. But rest assured, winning big will return because this school will not accept less than being a prominent player in the game.
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is where upstarts and young teams, who have no history of eight conference championships and three national titles in the past 21 years, come to try and take a piece of what the Gators have earned.
Next on the list is the Bowling Green Falcons.
I know I have done my analysis early, but it just didn't take long and it's time to move on.
Welcome to the SEC and Ben Hill Griffin, boys.
Gators 48 Falcons 6