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The Alligator Army Weekly Open Thread, Vol. LXXXIII

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Let’s do some housekeeping.

Garth Brooks In Concert - Glendale, Arizona Photo by John Medina/Getty Images

The last time I wrote one of these, I ran down a list of things I wanted to get to later that week ... and got to like two of them.

I can’t even make any promises that I will inevitably break like that this week, as I’m preparing to host family later this week — with all the stresses that comes with — and for the NFL Draft in tandem, and hoping that no huge news breaks in the interim.

So let’s just do a bit of housekeeping here in lieu of a list of posts I want to but won’t write:

Alligator Army is still looking for help

That post on hiring contributors? It’s still up, for good reasons. And while we’ve been able to get some really good contributors on board as a result, I’m still looking for other help.

It’s likely, given the already-outlined dimensions of my week, that I’m not going to be able to get back to any applicants this week. But it’s also likely that I’ll be looking to do that from early next week onward — and that, if you have already emailed me at any point in the past nine months, I’ll be getting back to you before April is out. That’s my highest priority after this week, and while I’m very sorry to have delayed responses to folks, I will get to you if you have emailed in regards to contributing.

Our season preview for football has a framework I actually like

Those who have been around these parts for long enough to remember why I give ski a hard time for being perennially pessimistic — or, say, remember why people give/gave me a hard time about my faith in Will Muschamp — will remember that every sort of countdown- or theme-based season preview of Florida football that I’ve tried to put together during the offseason has gone awry in one way or another. I would miss a day or schedule things incorrectly or just not have a topic for a given day, and the whole thing would go off the rails.

I have what I think is the best idea I’ve had for an offseason series this year, and I’m determined to execute on it. But I haven’t started it partially because of knowing this week of my life was coming.

So look for that to begin ... maybe next week? Maybe the week after?

That season preview is absolutely cannibalizing other posts

Sorry about this. I didn’t want to write about the report that Florida and Texas are discussing a future series — something that I have long thought was inevitable, even before the powers that be at both schools turned out to be folks who have the sort of working relationship t that Scott Stricklin and Chris Del Conte do — last week because it very specifically cannibalizes one of the ideas from the season preview.

I didn’t write longform posts about Florida’s spring game over the week after it happened, either, because a) that’s stupid, come on and b) that, too, would have interfered with this season preview, mostly by kick-starting it too early.

This should cease to be a major problem once I can, you know, start these previews. But I can’t, as of yet, because life gets in the way. C’est la vie and mea culpa there.

I want to do more analytics-based things

Some of the better work being done in writing about Florida over the past year has been done by David Wunderlich and Eric Fawcett, I think, with both of them writing analytically-minded pieces for Gator Country. Wunderlich would go through individual games last fall with an eye on things like success rate, and just last week wrote a piece on how much improvement is reasonable to expect from Florida in Dan Mullen’s second year; Fawcett, a basketball writer, did a fantastic job breaking down what were and were not good shots for Florida’s players this past year.

If you have read my writing over the years, I think you probably know that my personal taste in analysis runs toward that. I’ve railed against bunting and tried to grade quarterback play based on the quality of throws and decisions.

I think I’ve done good work when going down those particular rabbit holes — and, moreover, I like going down them, which is something I can’t always say about every type of post I end up writing around these parts. But they also take a fair bit of time to cobble together, and time is a finite resource I can only expend so much of at the moment.

I would like to run more pieces like those here at Alligator Army, and while I’d like to write some (or most) of them, I also want to make sure that I’m not shortchanging you all on news updates or big-picture pieces or link dumps to stimulate conversation as a result. So if you are keen on either writing things in that vein or handling some of the more nuts-and-bolts duties of publishing posts here, scroll two sections up to see about contributing, please.

Finally: Garth, and what comes next

One thing this Saturday’s Garth Brooks concert in The Swamp had me thinking of — apart from, “Wow, I can’t believe I feel like I’m missing out on a concert featuring an artist I haven’t listened to in more than a decade” — is whether there are other acts who could and would put on a similar show. Garth is Garth, after all: The only act to sell more albums in the United States than he has, ever, is The Beatles, and you’re obviously not getting The Beatles in concert in 2019.

But what other acts even approach that combination of popularity, stadium-sized artistry, and interest in doing a show in Gainesville in 2019?

Beyoncé was my first thought, and her last tour — one done with repentant husband Jay-Z in tow, in fairness — was stadium-sized, with stops at the stadia that Ohio State, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt call home. But those venues are in cities that are both slightly bigger than Gainesville and significantly more important in their states, which is probably part of why Queen B went to Orlando and Miami on the same tour.

The Rolling Stones? They played what was, before this weekend, the last non-Gator Growl concert in The Swamp in 1994, and they’re still touring. But Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are both 75.

U2? I guess. Only one of their last three tours has hit Florida, and that one — the 2017 Joshua Tree Tour on which they basically played 1987’s The Joshua Tree and some hits and that was it — only touched Miami and Tampa.

I can think of other big names — Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Taylor Swift, Aerosmith — and poke holes in those ideas, too. I just don’t know that there are a lot of artists who would pick Gainesville — and specifically The Swamp — for a date when other venues in Florida abound. Brooks could do that because his fan base would show up anywhere; can one say the same for, like, Shania Twain? Drake? Billy Joel?

I do think that this was a test run for Florida’s decision-makers — and a successful one. I do expect we’ll see other major concerts at The Swamp, and sooner than later.

I’ll be damned, though, if I can figure out who’s playing them — especially because the best choice there is or ever will be is no longer with us.