The most important game of the season

The word fan is short for fanatic. Still, even some fans take things too far.

In a story from Matt Hayes of Sporting News, Florida Gators Head Coach Will Muschamp told a story of how an old friend from Georgia called to say his Gator buddy had a theory that Muschamp was throwing the Georgia game on purpose because, of course, he’s a University of Georgia graduate.

These aren’t the majority of fans, but sometimes the outer fringes of a fan base can be the loudest and most vocal, especially after a 4-8 season and three straight losses to the Bulldogs.

“It’s so irrational it’s scary,” Muschamp told Hayes. “And that’s not the first of those kind of stories I’ve heard. But that’s football in the South.”

The “theory” — and I hesitate to even acknowledge it as a theory because of the true craziness behind it — can be silenced. It only takes one win out of 12 games to end it once and for all.

A loss this year to Georgia would make Muschamp the first head Coach to lose four straight to Georgia since Charley Pell lost every game he coached against Florida’s biggest rival in the East. Muschamp is already tied to Pell after last season, which was the worst since 1979 — Pell’s first season with Florida.

Even Ron Zook, the coach that brings up the single strongest opinions among Gator fans, had a winning record against Georgia.

So this year, you’ll hear the same kind of talk from coaches and players; “every game is important” (it is), “We’re playing nameless, faceless opponents” (my personal favorite) and each team we’ll hear how the opponent this week provides the toughest test the Gators have faced.

Whether the team or Muschamp ever publicly states it, one game is more important than the rest and that’s a date with the Bulldogs on November 1.

A week ago I posed a question on our message board and on Twitter. How many games does Muschamp need to win to make you happy? The answers I got were surprising, but they probably shouldn’t have been. Overwhelmingly, people would settle for less wins as long as one of those wins came against Georgia.

That’s how important this game is to the fans — not to mention the SEC East implications the game carries each year.

Will Muschamp called the theory that he’s purposely losing to Georgia because he’s an alumni of the school so irrational it’s scary and it is. Dante Fowler looked befuddled when the theory was brought up to him at SEC Media Days, saying it didn’t make any sense.

It doesn’t. But a fourth-consecutive loss to Georgia will only make the outer fringes of the fan base louder and more incensed.

Every game is important. You have to beat Idaho to start the season. You can’t lose Eastern Michigan or Kentucky at home either. So while every week in college football is a “must win” situation, the game against Georgia is the biggest of them all.

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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. You have it right. If Muschamp loses to Georgia again, I don’t think Foley can justify keeping Muschamp. His only hope is that he has a great record to offset the Georgia game, but tha’s probably unlikely if the loses to Georgia since they are not even the consensus third best team on the schedule.