Traditionally in Knoxville — and at TruePravda, the week of the Florida v. Tennessee football game is known as “Gator Hater Week.” After all, the thought of such a team as the Gators hardly inspires emotions resembling love.
I do wonder, though, if the historically hatred-charged rivalry of recent years is beginning to soften a bit. The Vols have seen victories for the last three years. Florida no longer is the stomping ground of Steve Spurrier, the (d)evil genius who made Vol fans jump with glee with each toss of his visor. Even the play-faxing scandalous Ron Zook has departed for drier lands than the Swamp. Could the Gators be anything more than a pack of Urban Meyer weiners?
Perhaps we Vols should be more careful in dispensing our hatred this year, keeping some in reserve for other teams who might not be getting their fair share. I think of Alabama, once the monarch of Tennessee hatred, whom I have heard now hates Tennessee more than arch-rival Auburn. Surely the Vols should save up some hatred for the Tide.
The coaches and the AP, however, warn us in their polls that Florida still bears hateworthiness. If Chris Leak, the quarterback who once spurned the Vols in favor of swampier digs, puts us in danger of an early-season blemish on our record, there will be plenty to hate. Therefore, I’m still hating the Gators this week, while transferring 30% of my hatred this year to Alabama — for reciprocity’s sake, of course.
UPDATE: It seems that the mighty JOLLYBLOGGER, a.k.a. David Wayne, has caught wind of Gator Hater Week. David is one of my favorite bloggers, but he has a fatal flaw in that he’s a Florida graduate. Not only that, he admits it (although his spelling would be a dead giveaway!). Fun times are afoot in classic rivalries — join in on the fun!