The road trip to Gainesville had been planned for months.
Just as both Florida and Tennessee had earmarked September 19 on their calendar, my friends and I had done so as well. Although we didn’t have Lane Kiffin’s off-season comments posted as bulletin board material, some of us did have our own personal message for the Vols’ head coach displayed for all to see.
After an all-night poker session at Mr. C’s Lake City palace on the eve of the big game, the Saturday sun came early for us vampires. After freshening up, we threw on our sunglasses and hit 75 South to Gainesville.
Among us poker junkies and rabid college football fans were the usual cast of characters: Mr. C, Steve McQueen, George the Chain, Brotha E, Daddy Raoul, Mary Mary and newly single Volunteer Eric. Mr. C. is a great friend and has been for years. He also happens to be a Tennessee grad. For years, he and I have watched the SEC opener together. He’s always gracious in defeat and fortunately for us Gator fans, that’s all he’s known since Urban Meyer came aboard.
Mary Mary and newly single Eric were high school friends of Mr. C and also hardcore Volunteer fans. We were a motley crew of both rabid Gator and Vol fans, one group louder than the other. As you might imagine, the trash talk was relentless.
We chose not to be part of the record crowd of 90,894 that occupied the Swamp that day, opting for the dusky, smoke-filled and booze-soaked confines of the dive bar formerly known as the Purple Porpoise. It’s the kind of place where you do NOT wear your best, game day outfit for fear of what might get spilled on it. On home Saturdays, the place is abound with unruly fans and a scantily clad wait staff… the only way to fly.
We camped out in our usual spot, huddled around our table top, pacing in front of the same big screens where we saw the Gators knock off Jamarcus Russell and LSU 23-10 in 2006, and lose to Ole Miss 31-30 in 2008. Amazingly, they still let us in the place.
Now… when one of your best friends is a fan of your fiercest rival and you go to one of the rowdiest, bars in Gainesville on game day, you always worry that some drunken fan will do something inappropriate. But for the most part, Gator fans were quite cordial. Prior to contrary belief, sportsmanship is not out of fashion. There were more fans who approached my three Vols to wish them luck or congratulate them on a game well played, than there were belligerent guys who shouted “Go Gators!” in their face. Although there was plenty of that too. One Gator fan blamed Mr. C for Kiffin’s comments, as if Mr. C had a private, orange bat phone piped directly into Lane’s office.
There were plenty of questions leading up to this game. Could the Gators cover the massive 30-point spread against their conference rival? Could my crew remain standing for the entire game after a long night of poker abuse? Could Lane Kiffin’s playmakers and play calling back up his boldness? How would the addition of defensive guru Monte Kiffin affect Florida’s offensive game plan? What kind of impact would defensive superstar Eric Berry have on the game? Could Florida’s offensive line create enough space for its lightning quick running backs? Could Tim Tebow and company extend their school record to thirteen straight wins or would Tennessee somehow upend the defending national champions?
Brandon James set the tone at the opening kickoff with a 50-yard return. Florida later kept that initial drive alive with a gutsy 4th-and-2 Tebow keeper up the middle. Florida settled for a field goal despite the solid starting field position.
The Volunteers responded with an impressive, eight-minute drive that also ended in three points. Tennessee called 13 of 14 running plays on that opening drive. It appeared obvious they wanted to control the clock and keep the ball out of Tim Tebow’s hands. It would be up to Florida’s defense to stop them.
Eventually, Florida got the ball back and responded with a Tebow rushing touchdown, putting him only three behind all-time conference leader Herschel Walker. Not bad company to be in.
The rest of the game went on like a heavyweight bout, with both SEC powers taking each others best body blows, knowing all the while only one team would remain standing… kind of like us in the bar.
Florida led 13-6 at halftime, then owned the clock, and the scoreboard, in the third quarter. They scored ten points and moved the ball effectively. The Volunteers finally looked as if they were starting to wear down. After Florida went up 23-6 and forced another unsuccessful Tennessee drive, the Gators looked like they might be on their way to covering that 30-point spread. In the fourth quarter, they marched downfield with relative ease until Tim Tebow fumbled the ball on the three yard line, giving Tennessee a new lease on life. After a Montario Hardesty touchdown, a game that could easily have been 30-6 quickly became 23-13.
In the end, Tennessee didn’t have enough. Florida took what Monte Kiffin gave them. The Gators didn’t attempt a deep pass all game, keeping a pretty conservative game plan. Whether that’s because Kiffin’s zone prevented them from doing so or because Meyer and Addazio drew it up that way, only the coaching staff knows for sure. The Gators did enough to win and that was cause for celebration for those of us wearing orange and blue.
Gator fans breathed a sigh of relief and Vol fans, although disappointed, knew they gave Florida a good fight, much better than anyone expected.
We continued on into the night until the emotion of the game and the haze from the liquor wore off… for some of us. We all said goodbye that next morning and drove off in our different directions, which included Tampa, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Chicago, Tallahassee and Knoxville, knowing that we would do it all again next year.
The date is once again circled on our calendar. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Sorry I missed it…
Sounds like a good time was had by all. In the meantime, since I didn’t make my pilgrimedge to G’vill to celebrate my B-day on top of the GATOR victory, i Have to tell you that your Friday night escapades sounds like a 2 hatter 🙂
Any truth to the rumor that Kiffin’s manhood is now up for auction to the lowest bidder ?
How much worse can things get for the Jags ?
Just click on the link provided to view .
Alan aka theoraclesays
Eric made that game? Nice.. Hope you got his credit card number. We’ll need it for Baton Rouge.
G Mony… we apologize for not checking in on you on your birthday. E, Big Gu, Toma, Hickey and the gang all send their love. We even had a Scheel sighting. He said not to wear a tank top into the bar.
Glad we could grant you with another Gator win for your birthday. As usual, Brotha E was cashing in on your free birthday drinks.
Al… So Kiffin actually accused Meyer, who’s obligated to report on the health of his kids, of using that as an excuse of a poorly played game?
Wow, the hits just keep on coming. Class must skip generations in the Kiffin family.
Donny C… So you’re in for LSU, huh?
Are we sitting in the Pepsi box?
Kiffin’s IQ is somewhere south of the natural human body temperature. So that’s got to be the only explanation one can give as to his actual mindset and intelligence. The Vols made a poor choice in offering him the coach’s position.
Mayweather agrees to pay back taxes
LAS VEGAS — Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. agreed to pay $5.6 million in back taxes before the Internal Revenue Service was poised to take the money from his purse after his Saturday comeback fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.
The IRS sent the Nevada Athletic Commission a levy notice on Sept. 4 ordering Mayweather’s unpaid taxes from 2007 to be deducted from his $10 million fight purse, commission executive director Keith Kizer told The Associated Press.
Kizer said the IRS backed off one week later, after Mayweather agreed to pay the money. Mayweather won the fight in a unanimous decision.
Mayweather’s tax attorney, Jeffrey Morse, told the AP on Tuesday that federal officials never intended to take Mayweather’s purse, and the five-division champion has satisfied all his IRS debts.
continue reading ……….. Click here
How the hell as a fighter can you earn in excess of $55 million in the two years prior to you semi-retirement and still owe $5.6 million in friggin’ back taxes including penalties ? I knew ..’ he was makin’ it rain’. But who knew the _kanks were costing him that much at the clubs ?
You or I could never owe the IRS that much. As the Feds would be after our _sses in double quick time.
I wonder if Floyd’s money man was actually a Bernie Madoff employee ? I hadn’t realized that any bruthas’ had been exposed in his scheme ? LOL, LOL, LOL !!!
Prokhorov confirms interests in Nets ……..
MOSCOW — Russia’s richest man, Mikhail Prokhorov, has made a takeover bid for the New Jersey Nets, the tycoon confirmed on his blog on Tuesday.
Prokhorov, a former nickel mining baron, boasts that if his move is successful, it would be the first time a National Basketball Association club would come under foreign control.
Prokhorov’s proposals, sent to existing Nets shareholders over the weekend, would see his Onexim group provide a loan to build a substantial part of a new arena, according to a post on his Web site.
Onexim would also receive a controlling stake of the NBA team for a “symbolic” price, the post said. Sources close to the billionaire have previously estimated the overall value of any deal at $700 million.
“For our Onexim group the realization of this very lucrative business project, whose participation was made possible by the world crisis [never in history have foreigners owned an NBA club], is another interesting sports development,” Prokhorov wrote.
Nets and NBA officials declined to comment, but the team said last week that they have received interest from potential investors in the team.
NBA rules do not bar overseas ownership, and transfer of ownership requires background checks on a new owner as well as approval by 75 percent of the league’s 30 owners.
Russian oligarchs spent money on yachts, mansions and sports clubs as their investments rose with soaring commodity prices in recent years. In the highest-profile deal, Roman Abramovich bought London soccer club Chelsea in 2003.
Click here to read further cont’d ………..
Factoid here: Prokhorov isn’t Russia’s richest man . It’s Roman Abramovich the oil and gas tycoon . His wealth is in excess of $14 billion.
I’m sorry Jay-z but you and Marc Ratner are now the weakest link . Goodbye !
In Kiffin’s family I here that there might’ve been a great deal of in breeding ?
Hence the problem , it’s as they say ” ….in his genes” ? And I don’t mean Wranglers as endorsed by your favorite NFL quarterback Brett Favre.
I’ll just try and keep ’em coming .
Pardon the spelling ……that should’ve read hear and not here . My bad !
You’ve got to check out this Affion Crockett Jay-z spoof vid on Chris Brown. It’s friggin’ hilarious !
Check it out
Hunt Chris Brown ….
Are they going to continue with Myer Kiffin thing for much longer ? This is almost as bad as Letterman’s Uma, Oprah spoof.
Al… I still think Kiffin was the right choice for who was out there. I don’t think Leach was ever leaving Texas Tech. Besides that, Lane brought his daddy and that should bring in a ridiculous amount of talent for as long as he’s there.
Nobody expected Kiffin to be as ridiculously vocal as he’s been.
I had heard about Mayweather’s tax problems. How these guys get themselves into such financial trouble is beyond me.
Although when I heard that some football player recently had $600,000 in bling bling stolen from him, I guess that’s a good first step.
I wonder bearing the potential Nets buy-out has on landing Bron Bron.
Hunt Chris Brown, huh?
Who do you think they’ll find first? Him or Osama?
Hey Rev, I was very impressed with Tennessee’s defense. The Gators had a good game plan against the cover 2, but they have to take better care of the football. Btw, who comes up with these ridiculous point spreads?
It sounds like a good time was had by all. I’m glad I have friends like you, whom I can live vicariously through:)
Take care brother.
Thanks, Aer. Any time.
Not sure why Vegas listed that point spread so high… BUT… had Tebow not turned that ball over, the Gators might have been on their way to covering.
Either way, the town was a rockin’ that night… from what I recall.
I can think of several guys right off the bat. But as you know it’s not about what’s right but the perception having the right guy for the job. Turner Gill could’ve been given the job. But from what I understood he wasn’t even part of the interviewing process. And how about Gators’ assistant coach Charlie Strong ? So please don’t say Kiffin is the right guy for the job . He’s just the right face for the program , that’s all !
As a kid Kiffin was probably the kid had _ss beaten down each day. Once he was grown, he felt he could start a whole new ball of wax by trying to beat down on others, he thought were his inferior. Too bad Urban isn’t playing by Lane’s rules.
Dropped this deuce on the upcoming heavyweight tile fight this weekend between Vitali Klitschko and Chris Arreola . Venue is the Staples Center and Arreola is bound to have a large posse of Hispanic fans there in attendance.
Someone Has To Clean House So Why Not This Guy ? …..
Televised details ….. HBO 10:00pm (ET)
Al… What I meant was, he was the right guy for the job for us Gator fans.
You didn’t read the fine print.
Don’t know anything about Arreola but I’ll check out the piece.
Does he have a shot?
Arreola has as good a chance as any. He’s (27-0, 24 KO’s ) in his 27 bouts. And though Vitali Klitschko is no slouch. He somewhat lumbers when he’s in the ring . primarily he’s just lateral in his movements with little overall boxing skills. A solid puncher with an average jabbing technique .
The fight will be one by whomever comes out and is ready to dictate the pace. If it goes beyond 5 or 6 rounds then I’d expect Klitschko to take it. On the other hand if Arreola gets a head of steam , then it wouldn’t surprise me if won by a TKO .
As with regard Lane Kiffin. I give him no more than three years at best to turn the Vols’ program around. That’s if the fans ,AD and alumni can tolerate his idiotic antics without there being any on the field improvement.
theoraclesays aka ?
Arreola is a +425 underdog.
By your first two sentences alone, I may have to place a friendly wager on your boy.
Not that I condone gambling, of course.
Take my word for it this bout’ll end up being one two things. An immense bore or a knockdown all out brawl. Hopefully it’ll be the latter.
If a team goes 19-0 in terms of losses. Does that make them ….pitiful ? An absolute disaster ? A piece of crap ? But that team’s coach believes that there are signs of life and things are heading in the right direction. Ought we to believe the coach ?
The More Things Change The More Things Tend To Remain The Same Well At Least For The Lions It Does …..
They’re facing an uphill battle and Matthew Stafford is struggling to acclimatize himself in the NFL. His baptism of fire could’ve waited just a bit longer. By the end of this season his psyche could or will be shot to hell !
And now the word is Zorn will be canned if he can’t beat the Lions. Poor guy.
Is Jason Campbell the newest example of an NFL coach-killer?
D’ya think that Vegas’ll be taking straight up odds on which coach will bite the dust in the NFL first this season ?
I think a clear favorite may well be Marvin Lewis of the Bengals.
Tell me if you can remember this particular R & B hit ?
Family Stands’ ‘Ghetto Heaven’
Ghetto Heaven … Click here to see the vid’
I’ve got to be dating myself in terms of this hit.
Al… marv lewis has been the heads on favorite for years but that win in Green Bay last week will buy him some time.
I’d still have to go with Zorn as the heads up favorite.
Al, when you said dating yourself with R&B, I expected to see a 50s or 60s hit.
That was 1990, dog.
To me that was an R & B hit. It defintitely couldn’t be classified as soul. Zorn isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The problem Campbell has faced and what many haven’t acknowledged. And that’s been the turnover in the coaching staff but also with regard to the offensive coaching staff , too. Hell Snyder ought to have a turnstile intalled at the Redskins’ training facilty in order to facilitate the speed at which the coordinators there- come and go.
As to dating myself – I’m a child of the 60’s and proud of it !
So ‘Hedley’ Lamar Odom has now bagged and tagged a Kardashian as in Khloe’ ? So that now means he becomes a part of the Kardshian roadshow by way of their tv reality show.
What a pity his ex and kids have to put up with it all !
Lamar Odom cancels bachelor blowout ….. What no stripper ?
“Lamar Odom is opting for a quieter single-life sendoff than was previously planned.
Instead of a wild night at Les Deux, he and his buddies will be confining his bachelor party to a dinner at STK in West Hollywood.
I am extremely thankful to Joe Francis and Rob Kardashian, for agreeing to host my bachelor party this evening at Hollywood hotspot Les Deux,” Odom said in a statement released by Francis’ reps.
“I regret, I will have to cancel this event because I have now decided to have a private dinner with my teammates, a few close friends and of course Joe Francis and Rob Kardashian.”
He and Khloé Kardashian are planning to tie the knot Sunday afternoon in front of family, friends and assorted Lakers.
NFL Coaches on the hot seat ? Who’d you think will be the first casualty of the season ?
Who’s Going To Be On The NFL Coaches Hot Seat This Season ………….
This Crabtree situation is now getting out of hand. Now there are allegations being made of tampering by the Jets ? Those were levied by the 49ers and they’ve lodged a formal complaint with the NFL .
We Already Knew There Was Trouble In Paradise But Who’s Now Stirring The Pot ?
Al… I’d probably classify that more as dance, which is exactly what Jim Zorn will have to be doing at his press conference on Monday is he loses to the Lions.
I’ll have a little piece on the Lamar nuptials coming up soon.
At this point, who would want Crabtree? If it looks like a duck, smells like a duck and quacks like a duck…
I am getting so many compliments on my looks now! I am going to buy more asap!
Can you post more on this subject. Great read.
Am I the only one who wants him to go away?
This is an awesome blog here! I just added it to my favorites.
I’ve got a poker related fan page over at Facebook. If you wanted to check it out: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Poker-Players-Only/136818223026737