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Florida Football 100 For 100, No. 80: Penn State Can't Happen Here?

July 18, 2012; Hoover, AL, USA;  Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp speaks during a press conference at the 2012 SEC media days event at the Wynfrey Hotel.   Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE
July 18, 2012; Hoover, AL, USA; Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp speaks during a press conference at the 2012 SEC media days event at the Wynfrey Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE

Last year, we tried 50 For 50, and got halfway done before things cropped up. This year, Alligator Army is coming back with 100 For 100, with 100 articles in the 100 days leading up to the first Florida Gators football game of the 2012 season, and will run down storylines, profile players, examine history, and make some predictions, possibly all haphazardly. The only thing we can promise is that each day's entry will bring us all one step closer to "Herrrrrrrrre ... come the Gators!"

There are 40 days until Florida's September 1 opener with Bowling Green. There are 80 entries left in the 100 For 100 series. I think you can do the math.

The core tragedy of Penn State is that a few bad actors helped, by inaction and failure to understand circumstances, a serial child predator wreak untold havoc on the lives of a staggering number of victims. But it's not "a Penn State problem": There's a legitimate reason to worry about that happening anywhere in college sports, because there's a legitimate reason to worry about that anywhere power goes unchecked.

I have faith in Florida's athletic department that far surpasses my faith in many institutions. I think that Jeremy Foley has done a fine job of hiring and policing his coaches, and that he's created a blueprint for his successor to do the same someday; I think Will Muschamp and Billy Donovan, especially, can be trusted to do the right thing more often than not, and not merely because they have recent experience parenting children.

But things are not always what they seem: As of early 1997 or so, Jerry Sandusky was the head of a well-respected children's charity, and the likely successor to Joe Paterno. And so it is important to be vigilant in monitoring for corruption, malfeasance, and crime in the ranks of any institution.

I hope and think Florida will be, and not just because I want to keep rooting for Gators teams until I exit this mortal coil: The Gators family has already had one betrayal of trust by a man who exploited children, and knows full well what thumbing its nose at the NCAA can eventually do.

There are statues on the Florida campus, though. And I never say "It can't happen here."