It’s about hate between the Florida Gators and FSU


Low Energy, miserable and awful offensive, sleep walking on the way to a delicious 10 win season. Like Forrest Gump “That’s all I have to say about that.” Does anyone know how to make a Cake out of Dead Fish? Anyone?


The last few weeks of November are da coupe de gracee of College Football. (Spelled and enunciated just as I printed. Damn you Queen, I like my English and Foosball how I like it) It’s what CFB is all about! Bo Jackson needs Desmond Howard of all people to enunciate it correctly; this colloquial weekend(s) of “rīvəlrē week.” You don’t need scrong enunciation to understand this week is defined by a visceral dislike of that team never to be uttered in polite society.

If forced to reference that university where the foulest of funk in the summer originates, it must be associated with some derisive term coined by the master of one liners such as “That Team Out West.”  I generally ignore all the made up pageantry of the  Governor’s Trophy and suspect injun on his mule because this is not the world of an AT&T commercial where you get hit with the “smells good” and everything is all nice and tidy despite the coughing. THIS HERE IS GOING TO STANK!  Anybody saying otherwise has neither watched or participated.

I keep hearing as we progress to a destined eight game playoff that it will (or would) decrease the value of the regular season. I disagree, especially with the current structure, excluding bowl season. CFB isn’t the NFL, fellas.  If anything it would make the land of a thousand bowl games actually interesting. I doubt anyone skips Florida vs LSU just because of disinterest in the regular season due to a supposed predetermined playoff matchup bracket. The odds makers hate this week and the unpredictability of any given Saturday where hate is involved more than white pants after eating three day old collard greens. Depending on what some paper says for a supposed win is as suspect as any flatulence resulting from the aforementioned collared greens.   There is no such thing as a game you are supposed to win when playing your hated rival with one singular goal of ruining your season and supposed destiny.


Oregon St. (2-9) +36 vs
 #18 Oregon (8-3) -36.0
 #7 Baylor (9-1) +1 vs
 #15 TCU (9-2) -1.0
 #8 Ohio St. (10-1) -1.0 vs
 #12 Michigan (9-2) +1.0
 #1 Clemson (11-0) -17.0 vs
 South Carolina (3-8) +17.0
 #17 Northwestern (9-2) -3.5 vs
 Illinois (5-6) +3.5
 Penn St. (7-4) +10.5 vs
 #6 Michigan St. (10-1) -10.5
 #11 North Carolina (10-1) -5.5 vs
 No Carolina St. (7-4) +5.5
 #22 UCLA (8-3) +3 vs
 USC (7-4) -3.0
 #2 Alabama (10-1) -14.5 vs
 Auburn (6-5) +14.5
 #19 Mississippi (8-3) -1.0 vs
 #23 Mississippi St. (8-3) +1.0
 #4 Notre Dame (10-1) +3.5 vs
 #13 Stanford (9-2) -3.5
 #5 Oklahoma (10-1) -7.0 vs
 #9 Oklahoma St. (10-1) +7.0


Can you pick the winners from above with any definitive certainty? Those ranking and spreads are fool’s gold. We all know somebody is going to wind up crying like a two year old in a full diaper with their hopes dashed and season ruined. I’ll leave the speculation and Degenerate Gambling posts to PD, but can you make out your betting slip with any confidence as to where to wager the milk money, much less my precious Bud Light fund?  I say no as I yank my $5 back!



For me, the hatred has always been reserved for this week culminating on game day Saturday. Everything during the year was always noise and friendly banter as you manage the trash talk win or lose. I guess when you have Uncles and more Cousins than you care to admit that actually played for and graduated from FSU and UM you’re stuck in a kind of no man lands. I actually hope for their successes during the year so don’t kill me.  I root for no one’s failure. I do hope for their success for two reasons. First, I don’t like excuses. I don’t want to hear “We were down that year” when we beat you. Lastly, when we pop that bubble I want it nice and big. I want them walking in with something to lose and for us to take.  Proverbs says: Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles. I always took it to mean not to laugh at the clown dressed in the fake Indian suit when he falls off the horse, but what do I know.



This is that sibling, friend, cousin and dude you never really liked in high school type of rivalry. It all starts when we are young and participating in various activities like my ole favorite “Battle Ball.” The PE coach thinks it’s a good idea to put you and your best friend, fictitiously “Mike” for uniformity, on opposite teams to reduce mischief. WRONG! It’s not until several minutes of collateral damage containing whelps, big red ball facials and poor little Johnny in the corner whimpering does he/she realize they were dealing with two complete jack asses. It’s that bewildering look on a parents face when they find you have just been in a fight with of all people, Mike! When pressed concerning the reason behind the altercation, you just can’t seem to remember anything save he is a “Doo Doo Head!” Moms concerned, Dads just laughing and shaking his head. The next day is followed by “Mom, Can you drop me off at Mikes on the way to work tomorrow?” As she picks up the phone for a parent to parent conference regarding their two young idiots, you’re looking at her like “what’s the problem?”

Make no mistake about this, you touch my boy Mike, you got a problem with Fee. Common knowledge amongst friends, “I am not here to jump in the altercation, I’m here to ensure the correct guy wins.”  Sorry, it’s incredibly inconsistently but fair.  So, Football age arrives and suddenly it’s all good for you and Mike to knock the hell out of each other. Games pale in comparison to the epic battles in practice between you a Mike. After years of toughening each other up he is sitting next to you on the All Everything Football teams smiling and grinning with offers from every school you have. Then the unthinkable happens, he publically commits to that place where clowns go to learn how to put on that little red nose. You saw it coming? You saw the tendencies but you just did not want to believe it about your boy. My best friend is a Seminole!   Now I remember why we got into that fight in the fifth grade. That Fool said my “Gators Sucked.”

Now, let’s imagine a team with 90% of the guys on the roster with a similar disturbing story. You play 10 games for the pride of your University. You play one for the pride of your state (JAWGA.) You play this one for the utter joy of beating the absolute dog crap out of a friend. THIS RIGHT HERE IS PERSONAL! That thin line between “love” and “hate” gets redrawn into that fictitious line in the sand where you dare, sorry HOPE, a fool would cross.

There is no fear here as the phones start ringing early and often Sunday after the eleventh game. Mikes talking about how he’s going to run all over such and such. Bobby’s calling daring one of the receivers to come across the middle. Friends are relaying messages and hyping up conflicts and pouring gas on infernos. Even the coaches get into it during the meeting rooms “Hey Bartley, isn’t Mike your homeboy? Yeah coach! You still have not tackled him in the flat are you taking it easy on em. No Coach. FIX THAT! Yes Coach!” As you sit there fuming. “I REALLY HATE DAT DOO DOO HEAD ABOUT NOW!”

Kickoff arrives and for the next 60 minutes it’s a disturbing fracas where all coaching points go out the window along with the records. I have been told repeatedly these games are decided by whomever is able to control their emotions and focus. That’s correct and it’s truly decided by those able to focus the intense hate into their roles into the confines of the contest and game plan; especially the underdogs. The Midline Guy to his discredit and subsequent trip to the unemployment line could not understand THIS IS NOT JUST ANOTHER GAME!This game mean something to not only the players but the Fans and everyone that grew up with a Mike or Michelle of their own. You can’t devoid your side of the needed hype and directed emotion when the other side is boiling over with GOOD OLE FASHIONED HATE!


To say my first few meetings with the Seminoles were disturbing would be an understatement. Pregame and in game scuffles that made the Crips vs Bloods blush.  It was almost as embarrassing as the losses that piled up over the first four years including a redshirt year going 1-4. Although we beat them my senior year it would have been nice to have a few more games to brag about. Worst of it all was that senior year screwed away any epic showdown of biblical proportions and an undefeated regular season via a loss on the road with the dreaded “Dead Fish Look” in Syracuse. Don’t complain to me about close wins and style points of this team. You would hope all I mush you with is cake. A win is a win is a win! There is no couching wins with “if then statements” just as there are no “excuses” in a loss.  In this game plays missed and made however spectacular or innocuous are things of fan legend and fodder for a complete ration of crap that someone must be made to eat for a lifetime. Until this day, on this week, my Facebook and text messages blow up with grainy clips of missed tackles, pictures of a slim #44  with captions of “What Happened to this guy”  and worse. 30-plus years later and I still want to punch Mike in his face but so is the nature of the beast.  I want to sing some Toby Keith – “As Good as I Once Was” and pick up my cleats, but if I put on that fitted jersey more things would be hanging and swinging than anyone wants to see. Any former player saying that he would not like to suit up just one more time in this game is not being honest.  We talk about these kind of scenarios every time we get together and tell lies to each other. However, we have to leave it to the young fellas, as there are no do overs and hope for that the following Saturday at 7:30 PM.

I have a good feeling about Saturday, as I feel the guys will play with a passion and focus. Its that time when Austin Hardin shakes off Mrs. Rudolf’s mental voodoo and hits some very important kicks. You’ve got to generally believe that our offense can’t play any worse than we have. We are do for a complete game starting at the quarterback position. We all know there is ample room for improvement aside from the all disabilitating canard of height. We can easily improve by playing smart but aggressive with the ball. There are plays to be made if there is trust in the design and understanding that you are only responsible for getting the ball to the spot.  When the guy does get it to the spot, or even close, there are guys that are going to need to make an every effort to get there. I say this flat out, AGAIN, Playmakers make plays instead of hanging your head and complaining; High, low right left go get the ball.  I trust Summers and Mac and Nuss to have a plan to slow down the rush, while finding ways to keep our quarterback upright and open some holes for the running game.  It’s a dang shame when you walk into one the biggest of games of the year offensively and the least of your concerns are the Frosh.

Offensively FSU is a decent team with talent. Albeit banged up, we still have the countering talent to neutralize pretty much all, save one, on any given Saturday. We contain cook we have should be able to dictate the game.

I make this statement from a gut feel with no inside info. Anyone believing that the seniors on that injury list not in a full body cast will not be attempting to play tomorrow save from a coach hiding their helmet and jersey have been sold a bill of goods meant for Jimbo Fisher. If in a full cast the training staff might want to hide the cast saw. Just a guess but I’m not buying the mental Judo!

Kick off in T-Minus and lathered up. Good Luck  fellas and #GoGators!

Previous articleSpotlight on Florida Gators Seniors: Latroy Pittman
Next articleFlorida Gators Basketball Get Play from Working On Game
Ephesians Bartley
Former Gator linebacker Ephesians “Fee” Bartley defined the 1990 season for the Florida defense when he laid out LSU wide receiver Todd Kinchen near midfield on the West sideline of Florida Field. The entire crowd stood silent as Kinchen lay motionless on the turf. It wasn’t until someone shouted, “He’s alive! I can see the spit bubbles in the corner of his mouth!” that the crowd breathed a sigh of relief. An All-SEC linebacker in 1991 who spent a year in the NFL and a few more in the CFL, Bartley runs a business and tax consulting firm in Jacksonville but he’s never lost his passion for Florida football.