Opinion: Miami Hurricanes just a small blip on Florida Gators’ radar

 

For University of Florida fans, Miami is like the pesky little brother who just won’t go away. Sure, he’s annoying, but we’ve got bigger fish to fry.

cogle@MiamiHerald.com

We don’t like you, Miami Hurricanes. Really. But we hate so many other people so much more. To the great Gator Nation, you’re sort of like the palmetto bugs scurrying around the kitchen floor after dark: When you force us to acknowledge your presence, we reach for the nearest heavy object to squash you. But we’re really more worried about the tornado (in the form of Nick Saban) blowing off the roof.

There are reasons our favorite jokes don’t involve the Miami River but the St. Johns (which flows north because Georgia sucks). There’s only so much hostility to go around. We play in the Southeastern Conference, where teams have traditionally loathed each other since Biblical times (Judas, I have it on good authority, wore a Herschel Walker jersey).

There are other factors, too: The beloved Ol’ Ball Coach who helped us win our first national championship now competes against us in the same division! Teams from Mississippi actually beat us once in awhile! Auburn always gets all the calls! Every other year, we must venture into Baton Rouge on a dark Saturday night to play in front of drunken lunatics led by a man who eats grass. Every other year, we are forced to gaze upon the horror of Tennessee’s fluorescent orange uniforms and absurd checkerboard end zones (admittedly a small price to pay for beating Peyton Manning four years in a row).

Saban’s deal with Lucifer prevents any other teams from winning the conference championship, so we don’t even have that to look forward to anymore. And now that Johnny Football has joined the gang, we have to start hating him, too. Playing in the SEC is akin to stewing in an ever-boiling cauldron of bile, and we have more than enough ingredients to keep our relationships hostile for centuries — or until one of us wins the national championship again, at which point we all hold hands, chant “SEC!” and howl with laughter at the idea that anybody else ever had a shot.

Yes, we know you’re still mad about something called the Gator Flop that happened in the 1800s. And we’re getting a little sick of the Aaron Hernandez jokes and the way every time one of your quarterbacks completes a pass for 20-plus yards you start shouting about the Heisman and how you believe your team requires “swagger” more than a decent pass rush.

So we do enjoy your suffering. We think it’s hilarious that you have to play in someone else’s stadium and that the NCAA is still trying to come up with ways to punish you for Nevin Shapiro, even though the players involved with him are now officially eligible to collect Social Security. And in our hearts, though many of us cheer for the Miami Dolphins, we rejoiced and sang “Hallelujah!” when Tim Tebow beat the Fins in OT, back when he still had an NFL job.

But we don’t need another instate rival, even one that is fond of calling us hillbillies (we’re from Fort Lauderdale and Tampa and Orlando, not Arkansas or Kentucky).

We have Florida State, whose fans are capable of producing the most annoying sound known to mankind, which happily can be reversed on them in a crude manner should they start losing. We know you hate them too, but we actually appreciate all those wide rights over the years. After all, the enemy of my enemy might not exactly be my friend, but I don’t have time to wish him ill 24/7.

Maybe if our teams could play every year — and make no mistake, we lovers of the orange and blue would prefer that over grappling with Missouri, which I am pretty sure is not even in the South — we could work up a good head of steam and despise you in the way you deserve. But for now, swagger or not, you’re way down the list. So thank us for helping you sell out a game for a change, and let’s play.

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