This week, Gator fans are really coming to a deep understanding and brotherhood with the Snickers bar. And not just because the Gator season finally had its very last set of goals crushed in Jacksonville while Gator fans were nursing Snickers comas with their gastro-hangovers from Halloween. No, Gator fans have become intimately entwined with Snickers marketing. “Snickers: You’re not you when you’re hungry.” Thanks to suffering more injuries than they treated in 12 seasons of “M*A*S*H,” the Gators have not been themselves this season. And neither have their fans. If only every bickering session in Gator Nation could be remedied with a little chocolate “Fun Size” like they do in the commercials. And after losing three-straight SEC games and being successively swept right out of the national, SEC and SEC East races, Gator fans can’t stop thinking of that other well-traveled Snickers marketing slogan: “Want to get away?” But there is no escaping the 2013 season: the only way out is through. So, on we go…
Auburn at Tennessee (12:00, ESPN)
Tennessee and Virginia are not states one thinks of as having much of a rivalry or border war, but Knoxville is only 60 miles south of the Virginia border, and Tennessee fans do suffer from an inferiority complex in certain areas. Virginia’s state slogan is “Virginia is for lovers.” This apparently strikes a nerve with Tennessee residents because their answer to this is a statewide bumper sticker campaign. The message on the bumper sticker reads, “Volunteers Make Better Lovers.” It apparently escapes the attention of Tennessee folks that if they are not volunteers, they are called “victims.” But it is nice that Volunteer fans have finally realized that the most romantic moments are those that do not involve police whistles and eyes full of pepper spray.
Twenty-seven “No’s” and a “Yes” means “Yes”: 27
“Cousins Make Better Lovers”: 23
Florida State at Wake Forest (12:00, ABC)
I dated a girl from Florida State once. It was a great relationship, ended on very good terms and we are still friends to this day. Some Gator buddies ask how it could ever work, a Gator dating a Semi. But my friends who have dated FSU girls do not ask. They know that ‘Nole girls are much different from ‘Nole boys. They’re no Gator girls, mind you, but most are attractive, good-hearted and smart. And most of the ones I know married Gators (see what I mean about ‘smart’?). We all know what dregs FSU men are. One of the many things that set them apart is the way they think about women, specifically what they think women look for in a man. Gator men think that women value good looks and a great sense of humor. Duke men think women look for intelligent men with no social skills. Stanford men think women are trying to find a rich boy with no self-awareness. Vanderbilt men think women like guys with a, ah, “good personality.” However, FSU men think that when women are with a man, they want security.
This of course makes perfect sense because whenever an FSU man approaches a woman at a bar, they scream for security.
Want to see the inside of my conversion van?: 51
Women like men who are really bad at sports: 17
Kansas at Oklahoma State (4:00, FS1)
We are all familiar with storm chasers. I used to wonder why the vast majority of them are in Kansas and Oklahoma. Then I took a college football road trip that took me through both states. And now I know. The residents are running or driving as fast as they can after any force of nature that can lift them up and get them the hell out of Kansas and Oklahoma. Sadly, the ones lucky enough to catch a cyclone ride out of Kansas usually get deposited right across the border in Oklahoma, and vice-versa. Sometimes they pass in mid-air and shout at each other: “At least it’s not Nebraska!” Jayhawks fans have many times over the last year and a half thought that they saw the perfect giant cumulonimbus cloud structures forming, and they gathered their pickup trucks and El Caminos time and again only to be disappointed to find it was just the massive black cloud that follows Charlie Weis around the state. Weis currently gets paid $2.5 million per year. The Jayhawks’ next home game against West Virginia still has nearly 1,500 tickets available – prices start at $2. The last place on Earth storm chasers will ever gather is Kansas’s Memorial Stadium; not even weather will ever storm that field.
Whiskey Chasers: 42
Heavy losses with a chance of termination: 10
Appalachian State at Georgia (12:30, ESPN-GP)
While we have witnessed some fickle fans in Gator Nation the past few weeks, following the up and down fortunes of the Georgia program the last decade has revealed the true king of faithless and disloyal fans. Even when Georgia is sitting a whisper from the top, Dawg fans abandon all hope that their boys are ever going to make it happen and join all those other SEC teams in the BCS Era national title winner’s circle. But, say what we will about their back-stabbing ways with their football program, Dawg fans do love their town. If you run into any Jawja student, after talking to them for 2 minutes, they’ll tell you they never want to leave Athens. And after talking to them for 3 minutes, you never want them to leave Athens, either.
Is it our turn yet? (repeat): 32
We beat Michigan! (repeat): 16
Vanderbilt at Florida (12:00, FSN South)
What an ironic week this is for the Gators. This was supposed to be Revenge Week. Last year Vanderbilt cost the Gators only their third-ever undefeated regular season, the SEC East title and a chance at the SEC and national titles. Cost them these goals by playing dirty, throwing filthy knee-hawking blocks and twisting legs in the scrum. They injured multiple offensive linemen that led to a struggling offense the entire second half of the season and ultimately a loss to hated Georgia because the offensive line’s shredded legs could not hold back the Georgia rush. But now comes 2013, they finally get the Commodores in the Swamp for retribution, and the Gators can barely even field a team thanks to injuries of a number and magnitude that make those 2012 season-crippling injuries look like they were bionic powers.
So a few weeks ago, I proposed that the Gator roster had been cursed by an old gypsy man from a Stephen King novel. A novel that I thought was made into a terrible movie – but after watching the bad movie that has been the 2013 Florida football season, Thinner is starting to resemble a Fellini film. But the Gators have clearly gone to the next level. They are possessed. They need an old priest and a young priest. Or maybe they need a good lawyer (after all, possession is nine-tenths of the law). It might be a good incantation is needed – perhaps they could commission Leslie Feist to use her haunting vocal style to recite an ancient spiritual cleansing spell or two (or twenty). Then again, perhaps this Gator season is an exorcism itself – after all, it has rid Gator Nation of all its spirits this year. Whatever has possessed this Gator season, the hope here is that Vanderbilt is able to deliver to the Gators what it has for the last quarter century: purify the blood and drive out the demons.
If only for one week.
Can we have our season re-possessed?: 31
The power of Feist compels you!: 13