After three summers when there was hold your breath excitement when it came to those zany Gator football players, we have learned in this summer of 2005 that these guys are seriously overrated. They're no fun at all!
There's no late night excitement downtown. There hasn't been a single rousing bar fight. Not a single Florida football player has seen the sights of Gainesville from the back of a police cruiser. The frat boys have had their parties but if there have been fights they have been Greek on Greek. Not a single football player has tossed a beer keg.
In other words, it's boring as hell in Gainesville.
Instead of fights and drunkenness these madcap football players have actually gone to class. There is one rumor after another flying on campus that football players have actually been seen in the library checking out something other than the chicks.
Books? Football players? When did the University of Florida become Vanderbilt? Or is this an imitation of student-athlete life at Duke or Princeton?
There is even this nasty rumor circulating that Florida's football team will post one of its highest collective GPA's since the days when Ray Graves was the football coach. All Ray did was graduate 96 per cent of his players and a mere 70 per cent of them went on to get graduate degrees.
Are we heading backward to those thrilling days of yesteryear when players went to class, got good grades, earned their degrees and then went to grad school?
No fights. No frat boys versus the football team. No tossed kegs. No shoplifting. No sweetheart deals at Dillard's. No free shoes. No shouting matches with the police. No domestic battery. No tasers. No drunk drivers. No barks at the moon when it's full. No felonies that need divine intervention so that they are reduced to misdemeanors.
What kind of football team do we have here? Have we turned our backs on tradition? Has our football team --- once made up of manly men who knew how to hold their own in a downtown Gainesville brawl --- transformed itself from a group of manly men that gets its jollies by smacking a few folks around into a bunch of wimps and weenies who probably help little old ladies across the street?
You would think these guys are trying to earn merit badges. Do we have a football team here or a bunch of aspiring Eagle Scouts?
Well, if you are the finger-pointing type, then extend that fickle finger in the direction of Urban Meyer. He's the one responsible for the boredom. He's the one who has neutered our team's ambitions, ending that time-tested summer tradition of matching simple battery for simple battery and felonious assault for felonious assault with certain schools that have made such knee-slapping incidents an art form.
Yes, it's all Urban Meyer's fault. What does he think he's doing? Does he think this is Bowling Green? This sure isn't Salt Lake City, Skippy.
This is Gainesville. This is the south! This is a place where manly men of gigantic proportions show those skinny wimps from the frat house just who's boss.
Well, it used to be.
Now, Gainesville is quiet and boring. Our manly men won't make the top five in the annual summer bad boy competition for the first time in the last three years. Thanks to Pat McMahon and those Boy Scouts on the baseball team, we'll just have to settle for a top ten Director's Cup finish. How boring is that?
Blame it on Urban. He did it. He is the one with the psychology degree. He's the one who thinks that a team that stays out of trouble will be more focused on football. Yeah, that's how he did it at Utah, but that was Utah which is not exactly known for its downtown hot spots or good brawls between football players and frat boys. When's the last time a football player got tasered at Utah?
Instead of spending the summer trying to predict which players will be suspended for which games, Florida fans are reduced to looking west for their excitement. Those guys 146 miles away haven't been reduced to weenie-dom. No sirree! For a good night of fun on the town, they're brave enough to risk the wrath of a coach so outraged that he'll make them run the stadium steps.
Our guys? Well, they're just boring. They go to class. They work out. It's been reported that groups of players at certain positions are getting together to watch game film. A few of the guys for whom everyone used to hold their breaths when it came to academics and eligibility actually have discovered that they can make good grades. Why it's even been reported that a whole bunch of football players have gotten serious about making significant progress toward a college degree.
Our guys have probably stored up about four months of aggression, too. They've probably been reduced to spending all that energy on football instead of enjoying the rites of passage at a downtown watering hole.
Hmmm. Imagine that. Instead of showing they're manly men downtown they're going to beat up people on the football field? What a concept. No wonder this Meyer guy majored in psychology.