The college football season comes to a close tonight.
This is the last game, this fourth contest — it could be 44th, I dunno — between Alabama and Clemson in a College Football Playoff since the format’s inception five years ago. Between now and next fall, all we have to subsist on is recruiting coverage, reviews and previews of previous and coming attractions, and spring games that we will wildly overreact to for like 12 hours.
Remember when it seemed like Dan Mullen scripted touchdown passes to Florida legends in last year’s spring game as a means of obscuring how much work the Gators had left to do on offense before reaching competence? That sounds funny now, after Florida put up 41 points on Florida State and Michigan in back-to-back games, doesn’t it?
Anyway: There is no more live college football for us to watch after tonight, and while I plan on watching that game and writing something about it for tomorrow, I will not be writing about live college football in real time — save for the spring game — again until August.
This leaves us with a bit of a conundrum here at Alligator Army: The football coverage is, consistently, what draws the most clicks and most reactions, and what keeps Florida communities together throughout the year ... but we also don’t want to compromise our standards for quality in the hopes of starting arguments or flame wars or making the crowd clap. (Been there, done that.)
And in the absence of football coverage, we can and do provide what I think has been very good and occasionally excellent coverage of all the other sports that Florida is great at to less fanfare. The five-year anniversary of me coining #EverythingSchool is coming up this March, and it is my goal this year (as it is virtually every year) to have the best all-sports coverage on the Florida beat through the summer.
But, to be honest? It is deeply disheartening when that coverage isn’t worth the time investment. It is a bummer to know that I could write a 1,500-word post tomorrow about how, no, Mike White does not deserve to be fired for losing an SEC opener, or write 2,000-word previews of Florida’s title-contending track programs, and yet get more clicks and discussion out of a 150-word post about Florida being better than FSU, or a UCF site trying to con fans into paying money for it to file Freedom of Information Act requests. (That latter thing is happening, by the way.)
So I have this request for you: When you see coverage of a sport (or sports) you do not follow here at Alligator Army, click on it and read it. If you have feedback, or a question, leave it in the comments there. If you think the article is something worth sharing with a friend or a coworker or your group chat or a family member or that Facebook group that you have been trolling for four years and cannot bring yourself to leave, share it.
I think we are going to do a really good job with #EverythingSchool season this winter and spring. I know I’m genuinely excited about it in ways that I have not been.
But I would like for the good work we do to be something we can talk about here and grow an audience with, too — and that relies on you, the readers, talking about it and being an audience.