Florida ‘likes’ the Gators

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, the college football season is already underway and the Florida Gators will join the party on Saturday at 12:21 p.m. against the Toledo Rockets.

In case you’ve been living under that same rock (or off the grid somewhere in the Everglades) since 2004, there’s a little company called Facebook and, uh, they’re kind of a big deal. As of March of this year, Facebook had over one billion users who like, poke and post everything that goes on in their lives on a day-to-day basis.

What do these two things have in common, you ask?

Well, in honor of the college football season getting underway, Facebook used their huge network to track and see which colleges run the states and areas around where they reside. Based on the information that people input into Facebook when they create an account, Facebook was able to go county by county (like in a presidential election) and declare a winner — or favorite school — for each county based on how many users “liked” a particular college in that county.

Now, what was surprising about this poll wasn’t the fact that the University of Florida dominated the entire state of Florida (except for Tallahassee and small pockets around the school out west) but the Gator Nation truly is everywhere. Florida has counties in Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and Minnesota. Yes, really, Minnesota.

But the truly surprising part was how in a somewhat reverse snowbird effect, the Northeast part of the country is absolutely in love with the Gators. Florida dominated most of New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware and New Hampshire.

We always knew that the snowbirds liked to come down to Florida in the winter time, but apparently once you get bitten by the Gator Nation you just can’t shake it.

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC


  1. Nick, true story……moved up here to upstate NY 13 years ago. Lucky for me most of the games were on TV, but that first year for whatever reason FL-GA was not televised, not here anyways. I panicked, eventually found a bar with Satellite TV that was showing it. When I got there the bar was half empty and the bartender reading the sense of urgency on my face asked “are you the guy that called about the gator game”….then pointed to a separate room. When I opened the door there must have been 60-70 gator fans decked from head to toe in orange & blue. I see gator shirts on all the time up here. Maybe it sticks out more because I’m a homer, but there are as many as any other team. Including some of the regional schools.

  2. Yup, that bar in Chicago was likely “Joe’s” on Weed St on the North Side. An old converted warehouse just off North avenue. The whole front room was always stacked with Gators on GameDay…probably upwards of 200.

    To give you an indication of just how popular Florida is in Chicago, they put Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio State in the back rooms. Those were still large rooms, but they were basically blended together.