Monday, April 02, 2007

The Mirror Image

The names are the same, but the situation is reversed. As of this morning, I haven’t heard a single sports talking head or pundit who predicts Ohio State will win tonight.

Sounds like January 8 – in the reverse.

I have a suspicion Florida fans are acting like Buckeye fans did prior to the BCS title game. I have heard the same sort of boastfulness from some of my fellow Gator fans. And, I wish it wasn’t so.

A little good natured ribbing is to be expected post-game, and we certainly are not above that here at Saurian Sagacity. However, talking big pre-game as often as not makes you end up looking stupid.

I suppose it is a blessing we don’t have the month plus to obsess on this game, breaking down every little stat relevant or not ad infinitum. A week might have been nice, but I suspect the rest of nation is already quite tired of Ohio State and Florida (especially Florida).

Regardless of the outcome, Florida and Ohio State deserve a great deal of credit. What we are witnessing here is absolutely unprecedented – with the same two schools facing off in the same year for the two biggest prizes in college sports. It hasn’t happened before, and is unlikely to happen again.

I suspect Buckeye fans have a gut wrenching mixture of hope for possible revenge versus fear of total domination at this point, as I know I would were the roles reversed.

For two schools that virtually never played each other before, this past year has converged in a way that will link them both forever. Two schools that, despite their newfound rivalry, are more similar than different (the big flagship universities of both states, with some of the most rabid fans in all of college sports).

Hell, our two states even decided the last two Presidential elections.

It has been an interesting ride.

And, while tonight may be the exclamation point one way or the other, I would like to think we might see the Buckeyes on the big stage in the not-to-far-future again.

Who gives a damn what the rest of the nation wants.


Mike said...

Who gives a damn is right. I will also agree that Gators fans have taken trash talking to a level Buckeyes fans could be envious of. Here in the Tampa area it is to the point of insanity. Newspapers proclaiming victory, talk show hosts banking on a blowout (not a win, a blowout) and fans flooding the airwaves with taunts of "where are all the Buckeye fans now?" Rest assured Gator nation (not necessarily the owners of this blog...), we are here, we are here. A couple of big wins against us isn't enough to make us run and hide when we have lifetimes of big wins to our credit.

Now, about the game...As I said the other day, it will take a few things to break right for us to have a chance because we are clearly outclassed on paper. We are a much different team than we were in December but Florida is also a much different team than they were the last week of February.

Am I nervous? Damn right I am, because we have proven to be VERY good at times and VERY bad at others. When you have that much inconsistency AND 4 freshmen playing an awful lot of minutes, ulcers form very quickly knowing Florida has been there, done that.

Growing up in the state of Florida has helped me foster a very deep disdain for the Gators, so if we were ever to come up with a stunner (and a win tonight would most assuredly be just that) I wouldn't ask for it to be against anyone else...

Here's to a great game Gators and GO BUCKS!

Teufelhundengator said...

You may be right about pregrame bragging, but when you engage in it, and you team ends up winning, it makes it all the sweeter!

Mike said...

And when it backfires, the loudest mouths are usually nowhere to be found.

We'll see how many rocks have new tenants tomorrow should we pull off a shocker tonight...

Anonymous said...

Well said Mergz,
most Bucknuts are a bit baffled this team has advanced this far...guess that's the fun part, it's just a game that involves a bit of luck too.
Regarding your comment on OSU's possible return to the "big stage"... most around here didn't expect a final four spot till "the Jon Diebler era" starts at OSU next year (refering to the Upper Sandusky standout). He'll be joined by two 7 foot standouts Koufos and B. J. Mullens as well as the highly recruited Luke Babbitt, all Ohio boys. Not really expecting Oden and Conley to stay around.

The thing is this Florida is a team we all admire for their selflessness, the on-court harmony, they all "get it" as a team doing whatever it takes.

Just hope it's a fun game to watch.

Wisky Fan (and Ohio resident)

Gator Duck said...

mike, one of the things that has concerned me about this game is that the Buckeyes BBall team is a lot like the Gators - they can play an awful game but stay in it just enough to get it done in crunch time. They kept doing that during the Madness.

But please understand where the Florida fans are coming from. Year after year Florida gets no respect from the media. USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan always get props for style points and the brutal SEC schedule is downplayed. I have never seen arrogance and right to an entitlement like Ohio State and Michigan showed in December. Florida, according to them, didn't even deserve to play in the game. The way we were treated in Glendale by Buckeye fans was attrocious.

All season long in basketball the Gators didn't get any respect either. We finished the season ranked 6th. People keep talking about how we lost 4 games near the end, but that was mostly AFTER we had outright won our conference. Obvious Gator fans who live in Ohio were asked last week who would win Monday night - UCLA or Ohio State. People in Columbus asked an obvious Gator fan yesterday if was going to root for OSU.

Frankly, sir, we can't give you enough crap, now OR after the game.

Anonymous said...

As a UF alumnus, I am obviously rooting for the Gators. But I would like also to congratulate OSU. By making it to these two title games our respective athletic programs have set the bar for class. As fans we do tend to lob a few verbal volleys at each other, but 99.9 percent of the time I see it as good clean fun. So congratulation Bucks, and GO GATORS!!

POJO_Risin said...

Mergz...hang on one second.

...I hate Michigan, and as far as I'm concerned, any bad thing on the sports continuum that happens to them is alright by me. ANYONE that lumps Ohio State WITH Michigan in any conversation just doesn't get it...

I would say more...but that's not why I'm here...

Mergz, I couldn't agree more. I'm hoping this is the start of a fantastic rivalry, and not the finish.

Good luck, and it's been a fine ride.

To Gator fans's been a fun few months...