Thursday, August 06, 2009

How Lucky I’ve Been

You Too, If You’re A Gator Fan

Our friend at Get the Picture has a post today about, well another post, that examines SEC football history. (The other post is by “Threes a Pattern”). And while the point of both posts is not my concern here, one of the comments to Senator Blutarsky’s post got me to thinking how lucky, as a Gator fan, I’ve been.

The comment was thus –

• Turd Ferguson

August 6, 2009 at 10:39 am

I’ve yet to hear a decent argument for the conclusion that “the only years that REALLY matter are [fill in the blank].” So either the whole history of a program matters, or none of it matters.
If it ALL matters, then Florida’s still got some catching up to do before it can really be considered the sort of all-time, historical powerhouse that Gator fans already think it is.

My response was –

• Mergz

August 6, 2009 at 11:23 am

Historical powerhouse? Who cares?

Which would you rather have for your school (choose one) ?

A. Great success during your lifetime?
B. Great success during your grandfather’s lifetime?

I started at Florida in 1984. (Yeah, I know, old guy blogging). I graduated in 1991 (Law School, don’t snicker). During my college tenure I saw 3 SEC titles, 2 of which were stripped away. I saw, in my last year, the first official title.

Then, as a young alum, I got to see SEC titles in 93′, 94′, 95′ and 96′. I got to travel to the games. I got to see our first “official” MNC in 96′. All by the time I was 31.
2000, 2006 and 2008 saw more SEC titles, and 2 more MNC’s. So in my 25 years as a Gator I’ve seen 8 “official” SEC titles and 3 MNC’s.

Not to shabby.

Which leads me to this – for people of my generation how has our SEC experience as Gators compared to other SEC teams? Well, here it is –

SEC titles since 1984 (official only) –

Florida - 8
LSU – 5
Tennessee – 5
Auburn – 4
Alabama – 3
Georgia – 2

That’s 8 times I’ve been able to celebrate a conference championship, or 32% of the time every year I’ve been a Gator.

As for Mythical National Titles, I’ve seen 3. As for our other SEC brethren we have LSU with 2, and Alabama and Tennessee with 1 each. Only Miami, with 5, has had more than Florida during my Gator fandom years (Nebraska is tied at 3).

Yeah, I know, you younger Gators have it better, at least as a percent of your experience.

But I wouldn’t trade my history for anyone’s.

As for those of you who hang your hat on the experiences of your fathers and grandfathers, my guess is it isn’t the same. But I wouldn’t know.


thearena said...

In my lifetime (born 1990):

8 SEC titles
3 MNCs

As a Gator fan (since 1995/96):

5 SEC titles
3 MNCs

As a Gator (undergrad since fall 2007):

1 SEC title

I'm a basketball nut, too, so those would factor in as well.

The class immediately before me chanted "Four and a Heisman!" on University this January. It's a sign of how spoiled we are in general that I was jealous.

Aaron said...


Good post. I became a Gator in 1985, so we're similar in that way.

History matters and if I were an Ohio State or Bama or ND fan I would be relish all that goes along with that.

But there is also something to be said for becoming the fan of a team without that tradition and then witnessing the tradition unfold.

I became a Gator because I liked the school (I'm from the Midwest and grew up not knowing the difference between FSU and UF), the sports program has just been a great bonus.

Glad to have you guys blogging again.

Griffin Caprio said...

Hey Guys,

I'm the author of the Three's A Pattern post that was originally quoted above. I wanted to point out that I don't hate the SEC, nor the gators. I was merely surprised that such a fertile recruiting ground for had a less than stellar history. Of course, the recent history can also be matched against some of the greatest runs ( Neb 90's, Mia 80's, etc... ) in CFB history. Any other fanbase would also love to have UF's last 20 years. No shame there.

One interesting point that I had not thought of until reading this post was about how, in several ways, the Gators mirror modern day non-BCS schools. However, since the Gators have been in the SEC for decades, they've had the opportunity not afforded to other schools to "write their own tradition", so to speak. Though, given the current BCS setup, it would be difficult if not impossible for the same thing to happen to another program.

You could also look at it from the point of view that Florida was a sleeping giant, just waiting for the right circumstances ( the OBC ) to wake it up. In fact, I don't think that it's a coincidence that UFs rise began with a coach that turned the states biggest asset ( speed in this case ) into integral part of his offense, rather than pounding it out on the ground.