Behind Enemy Lines Trapped with Gators, Seminoles, and Hurricanes

Halle WilsonContributor IJune 27, 2009

24 Oct 1998:  A close up of a Alabama Crimson Tide Cheerleader as she smiles during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at the Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Volunteers defeated the Crimson Tide 35-18. Mandatory Credit: Scott Halleran/Allsport

Embedded with a small force behind enemy lines, we survive while surrounded by followers of charismatic leaders like Urban Myer, Bobby Bowden, and Randy Shannon. Believers in another way of life, we look to each other for strength and fellowship. Passing on the street or in daily duties, we greet each other with ROLL TIDE.

The non-believers turn and look with scorn or amusement.

OK, I’ll admit to a small amount of hyperbole, but only a small amount. If you don’t live within five hundred miles of your favorite college football team, you are surrounded by the enemy. Unless it’s Texas of course, because five hundred miles in any direction and you are still in Texas.

Living in Florida is not easy being an Alabama fan. Everywhere you look you see orange and blue. ORANGE and BLUE! Where do I know those colors from…mmm? Could it be the toilet papering, vulture flying cow college that hates my beloved Crimson Tide with the same passion that Paula Dean has for fried pickles.

And how many times can people say, “How bout that Tebow, huh?”  So far, it’s at two billion four hundred and twenty seven and that’s just this week.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect what Tebow has accomplished. He has been the “decider” as our ex-President used to say. But he is not the second coming that the lizards proclaim (Spurrier was the first), at least not yet. With the schedule the lizards have in 2009, they should be in line to repeat as National Champions.

But they will be wearing that big bull’s-eye on their back all season and if they do repeat as National Champions and Tebow has a season that puts him in elite company as the best quarterback in the nation. Then he will be one and I repeat one of the greatest quarterbacks that have ever played the game.

What impresses me about the Lizards is their defense. Solid first team defense and the second team are almost as strong, some say the Lizards have the first and the fifth best defense in the SEC. As we all know, "Offense sells tickets; Defense wins championships." Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.

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Of course, Bama has a strong defense also. We will not give the “Best Defense” in the SEC to the Lizards just because some words are written on a PC (mine included). That will be settled on the field. Hopefully it will be at the SEC Championship Game.

At the Spring Game at Florida there were more marquee players injured than played in the game. This is the key to winning the NC, keeping players healthy. Not an easy thing to do in a Conference like the SEC, where each game is important and intensity consumes both teams.

The non-conference games are just as important because of the BCS rankings which may contribute to the first teamers playing more than they should to get the score up, which will add to the computer rankings.

There are other fans we deal with daily. The garnet and gold, who call themselves Seminoles, not as loud but just as proud, they always say, “Were you at the Stadium  when Florida State played Alabama in 2007?”

“Yes, I was there,” I reply.

“That was a great game wasn’t it?”

“No, it was not! Alabama’s offense never got on track. Eighty nine yards on the ground and 14 points was not what I expected from the Tide.”

“How bout that Bobby Bowden, huh?”

The sad fact is when and if Bobby Bowden retires, it’s going to be hard to recruit five star athletes to play for Jimbo Fisher over Urban Meyer, Randy Shannon, Mark Richt, Les Miles, or Nick Saban. 

Florida is known for the storms that come every summer. More so than the coeds who squeeze into their bikinis every summer, if I have a choice I’ll take the coeds. These storms are called Hurricanes and they are bad news.

At the University of Miami, their football team is called the Hurricanes; they used to be bad news. These are not your father’s Hurricanes, those majored in thuganomics.

Today’s Miami Hurricanes drive BMW’s or Mercedes and live in gated communities, the thugs have moved to the swamp. If you see a fan with a Hurricane hat or jersey on they are no longer the imposing figures they once were.

This will change soon as I believe they have one of the finest young coaches in the business today with Randy Shannon. I heard a Seminole fan say “them Hurricane’s are goin to be Marveless this year.” I don’t care who you are that’s funny.

Now I love living in Florida, but believe me when I say the sun has affected the fans here. They do not know their school’s history; they don’t even care about their school’s history. History is last night’s beer pong game.

But there is football history in Florida, look at this list of former players; Jack Youngblood, Wilber Marshall, Fred Taylor, Emmitt Smith, Danny Wuerffel, Cris Collinsworth, Fred Biletnikoff, Ron Sellers, Lee Corso, Warrick Dunn, Deion Sanders, Ron Simmons, Gino Torretta, Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Mike Rozier, Vinny Testaverde, Michael Irvin, just to name a few.

Most of the so called fans could not tell you which team these former players played on.

Maybe its better they don’t know their schools history. Because then I’d have to listen to even more boasting. And I kind of like looking at their face when I ask, “Who was the Florida coach before Steve Spurrier?” or “Who was the coach before Bobby Bowden?” or “Who coached the Miami Hurricanes before Howard Schnellenberger?”

Answers: Galen Hall, Darrell Mudra and Lou Saban (just thought I’d throw that in because Nick and Lou may be cousins)

Just for fun, who was the Alabama coach before “Bear” Bryant?