TALLAHASSEE -- Good Black Friday morning, ladies and gents. Here's to hoping your pants fit this morning after you hopefully gorged on some great-tasting turkey and even better trimmings. If you or someone you know went shoppng this morning, here's hoping they had a nice elbow-free jog to the items they were hoping to purchase.
Myself? I'm definitely not a Black Friday shopper. I'm more of a Christmas Eve kind of shopper. (That's so bad, isn't it?)
Speaking of elbows being thrown and curses and shouts being lobbed into crowds, the scene outside of your neighborhood JCPenny or Walmart or Target or Best Buy this morning may have resembled the jawing and taunting that was going on in the picture above and so many more like it this past half-century or so.
Plain and simple, with the orange and blue and garnet and gold meet, whether it's in Tallahassee or Gainesville or the French Quarter, the Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles just don't like each other.
"H-A-T-E, hate," is how former FSU offensive tackle Forrest Conoly put it to me earlier this week when we caught up to discuss the story linked below.
The Seminoles and Gators have the strongest dislike for one another.
It has often been said among Seminoles players, past and current, that the rivalry with Miami is one of respect. The one they have with the Gators is a far different story.
In this story, which features voices from both sides of the aisle, we try to show you, our loyal Orlando Sentinel readers, exactly why there is so much bad blood between the teams. On Saturday at 3:30 p.m., when the teams meet for the first time as top-10-ranked foes since 2000, the anger and vitriol expressed toward one another may be ramped up much like it was in earlier decades. For you see, for the first time in a dozen years, both teams have something real outside of pride to play for.
Enjoy that read.
---Also take a look at this one from the author of the previous piece, our own Edgar Thompson. Edgar is the Sentinel's Gators beat reporter. In this short notebook, he writes about how UF's schedule may have helped prepare the Gators for this weekend's tough showdown in Tallahassee.
Schedules have been a hot-button issue around North Florida, at least, all season. Thanks to the cancellation -- by West Virginia -- of a game the Seminoles and Mountaineers were scheduled to play this September, FSU went from having a fairly strong schedule, to one that trended on the poorer side of Football Bowl Subdivision teams. Among FBS programs, the Seminoles' schedule ranks 61st out of 120 teams.
---Another story worth taking a glance at is this countdown from the Gainesville Sun's Robbie Andreu.
Top-10 meetings between the teams like this one haven't gone very well for the Gators, Andreu writes. There were the 1990 and 1992 FSU thumpings of UF at Doak Campbell Stadium. The 1994 "Choke at Doak" 31-31 tie can't be forgotten, either.
Take this trip down memory lane with the Sun.
---Staying in Gainesville, the Palm Beach Post's Jason Lieser has this story on the man nicknamed "Coach Boom." In the preseason, Coach Boom was supposed to leave The Swamp. This weekend, Coach Boom is still coming to Tallahassee.
Given the nickname for his fiery, often anger-filled and intimidating sideline demeanor, Gators coach Will Muschamp promised to temper his emotions this offseason. If you have watched any highlights show this season, you've probably seen that he failed miserably. He's still Coach Boom.
---Ten months later, most FSU fans probably still won't be too happy to read this story, but the Tampa Bay Times has a nice look at true freshman Dante Fowler, and the solid contributions he has had for the Gators this season.
If you'll recall, up until Signing Day this past February, Fowler was an FSU commit. One of the Seminoles' original commits for the 2012 class, he appeared to be a longtime lock. And then, at the 11th hour, he started to get cold feet. Surprising the college football recruiting landscape, he pulled himself from contention for FSU. He wanted to be a Gator.
That day, the Seminoles still signed elite defensive ends Mario Edwards Jr. (who was the No. 1 overall prospect last year) and Chris Casher, and brought in the similarly highly-touted Eddie Goldman to play defensive tackle. With Fowler, FSU would have had four true freshmen competing for playing time on a defensive line that already featured the likes of all-conference players Bjoern Werner, Timmy Jernigan and Brandon Jenkins and seniors Cornellius Carradine, Anthony McCloud and Everett Dawkins.
FSU fans were salivating at getting Fowler. But while his de-committal may have hurt them initially, they looked at what their coffers still held. They ultimately were OK. But that doesn't mean they still don't wish to see a poor, lackluster performance from the true freshman in Tallahassee on Saturday.
Check out Antonya English's solid read.
---Moving finally to the FSU beat, check out this Sentinel story on backup running back Debrale Smiley. Coach Jimbo Fisher told reporters Wednesday night that the senior had a high ankle sprain that likely would keep him out until around FSU's bowl game.
That means Smiley will miss this week's Senior Day (but not the pregame ceremonies) and next week's ACC Championship. He plays the hybrid fullback/tailback position behind starter Lonnie Pryor. Fullback Chad Abram would take Smiley's spot on the depth chart.