One of my fondest memories as a student was the 2005 College World Series when the Gators defeated FSU in the super regional. It was the first time I had seen real passion at McKethan Stadium, not to mention an epic performance by the students heckling in left field. (Shane Robinson still sucks.)
The baseball rivalry continues this evening when the Seminoles drive from the pile of garbage that is Tallahassee to face the Gators in the University City. Florida (14-3, 3-0) is coming off a sweep of Auburn to start SEC play. The Noles (16-1, 6-0) are 3rd in the nation. This is the first of three in the series, with game 2 at Jacksonville April 1, and the finale April 15 at FSU.
Southpaw Stephen Locke is on the bump tonight. While he is 1-0 over 14.2 IP with a 4.30 ERA, his last time out he went six strong against Florida Gulf Coast. That's not the quality of the Noles, but Florida cannot afford to expose the bullpen early. FSU as always, can hit the cover off the ball. That's not to say UF doesn't. But McArthur and Townsend, two should be raking, are not there yet. (Townsend may be coming out of it though. He had two homers against Auburn last weekend.)
Tonight's game and the weekend series at Ole Miss, when combined with a well played Miami series (dispite dropping 2 of 3) and the Auburn sweep, are tests to see if this team is legit or not. It's not a gauntlet in the sense of what the football team goes through in Octobers when you get the Auburn, LSU, UGA monster. But you have road tests and rivals. If they can get out of this and show flashes of brilliance, maybe we can all get on the bandwagon.