Kickoff: 7:15pm ET
Weather: 61 degrees and clear. Cooler later in the evening.
Series History: 31st meeting, Florida leads 23-4-3
Line, O/U: Florida -6.5, 51.5 O/U. The line has moved -2 since Monday.
I was talking to a friend Thursday about this game and specifically Steve Spurrier. She asked if I was a Spurrier fan. "No," I said. "He coaches a division rival."
"But he was a great coach and player for Florida. He is Florida."
"Doesn't matter. He's trying to stop me from winning a championship. If Derek Jeter managed the Red Sox, I'd boo him too."
And so we reveal the third rail of Gator fandom. For older Gator fans or generational Gator fans (like my friend), Steve Spurrier is the Father, Son and Holy Ghost of Florida Football. For younger Gator fans or fans who came of age in the 1990s, Spurrier was just the coach for Danny Wuerffel, Chris Doering, Fred Taylor and Sexy Rexy. He was a bad NFL coach and an average coach at South Carolina.
In talking to my friend, I could remember individual plays by Wuerffel, Ike Hilliard, Reidel Anthony and plays against UF, but nothing in particular about Spurrier. When you are a little kid or being first introduced to a sport, you pay attention to the players, not the coach. For me, my influence includes the timing of Spurrier's jump to the Redskins, since I was accepted to UF a few weeks later. I was in the first group of Florida students to have no connection to Spurrier.
In 2006, the biggest crap show I made guest hosting Sports Scene on AM850 was when I suggested that older fans would cheer Spurrier in his first game in Gainesville, while the other half of the stadium would boo. Of course, the phone lines lit up and I considered entering the witness protection program. To me, it doesn't matter that Spurrier won a title here, cleaned up the program, or is supposedly prickly with Jeremy Foley and Bernie Machen. He is not on my team and he is trying to stop me from winning. I want to see him get his ass kicked.
Alligator Army will be LIVE in Gainesville. Our game story will be up Sunday morning. Follow us on the twitter @AlligatorArmy until our AT&T network drops out between 6:45 and 11pm. Fat Luke Wilson needs to get some AT&T bars in Gainesville.