Florida Gators

5-1, 4-1, 3-1, 2-1

Over and over again Thursday night and Friday morning, my Twitter and Facebook streams lit up with the same, repeated message. The Florida basketball team had just eeked out a win against Brigham Young University in the Sweet Sixteen, and again and again I was informed, “The Florida Gators have NEVER lost in the Elite Eight.”

If I’d only seen it once or twice, I’d have probably just rolled my eyes, or even found it mildly amusing. But it wasn’t once or twice. I was bombarded with that one little trivium for almost 24 hours, and so I ended up going through a progressive series of reactions:

1. That’s a truly useless little statistic.

2. We’re not exactly Kentucky or Kansas or a school in the Research Triangle. (Though by the time Billy Donovan retires, we might be.) We’ve been to four Final Fours, so if we’re undefeated in the Elite Eight, that means we’ve been to (quick arithmetic on fingers) four Elite Eights. Maybe the reason we’ve never lost one is because we haven’t had terribly many opportunities to lose one.

3. Well, now the math thoughts are kicking in. Let’s see.

I’m pretty sure the Gators’s first Sweet Sixteen was the 1994 team who went to our first Final Four.* Which means I should be able to go through every UF trip to the Sixteen in my head.

The next time we were in the regional semi-finals was 1999, when we lost to Gonzaga in the midst of their first great Cinderella run. Since then, we’ve been to three more, all three of which resulted in a trip to the Final Four. So counting the win over BYU, that makes us 5-1 in the Sweet Sixteen. And after the game against Butler, we’ll either be 5-0 or 4-1 in the Elite Eight.

And then we come to the Final Fours. In 1994 we lost to Duke; in 1999, 2006 and 2007 we progressed to the national championship game. In our three national championship games, we lost to Michigan State in 1999, beat UCLA in 2006 and beat Ohio State in 2007.

So let’s see. 5-1. 5-0 or 4-1. 3-1. 2-1.

Well then, clearly it’s time to lose in the Elite Eight, for the symmetry.

Now, that whole thought process? I thought it to myself rather glibly, because I actually expected the Gators to win. (By contrast to the previous two rounds, where I’d gone in with a pessimistic feeling that we were going to end up being upset by, respectively, UCLA or BYU.) But when we ultimately went down in overtime, I silently thought at all the people who’d been so excited by our previously immaculate Elite Eight record, “Told you. Silently. In my head.”

It was pretty disappointing to see Florida lose that game, so to compound my misery, I hopped onto ESPN.com to see how badly I was doing in my bracket league. I’d been tied for last place after the Round of 64 and in second-last after the Round of 32. I was vaguely hopeful I’d worked my way up to third-last, or morbidly hopeful I’d managed to tie up dead last place.

Much to my surprise, I discovered that not only had I locked up second place, but that I was actually in the 97th percentile for ESPN’s entire bracket competition. And the remaining three of my Final Four teams were all in the three remaining Elite Eight games–and were in fact the higher-seeded team in each of those three games. I was looking forward to having successfully predicted three of the Final Four.

Well, thanks to VCU and Kentucky, it turns out I only predicted one team in the Final Four–UConn. But I’m still in ESPN’s 96th percentile, and I can presumably still improve on that position, since I have UConn winning the national championship. I can’t get to first place in our group, though, since my sister Claire also has UConn winning it all. But I still have the satisfaction that Claire and I were the only two people in our group to predict Kentucky beating Ohio State in the Sweet Sixteen.

Obviously, I’ll be cheering for UConn to beat Kentucky in the Final Four. And I’ll be cheering for VCU to beat Butler, both because I live in Virginia and because Shaka Smart was an assistant coach on the Gator basketball team that won consecutive national championships four years ago. If we end up with a UConn-VCU national championship game, I don’t know who I’ll be pulling for. More likely it’ll be UConn–a childhood spent in large part in Connecticut will do that to a person.

I

*When I looked it up later, I was wrong about that part. The Gators had previously been to the Sweet Sixteen in their first ever NCAA Tournament, in 1987. As a 6-seed, they beat 3-seed Purdue in the second round and lost to 2-seed Syracuse in the Sixteen. So we’re actually 6-1 in the regional semi-finals. Whatevs. Still a good point.

In the time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey

I’m not terribly used to any of my teams losing, because it doesn’t happen often. Manchester United haven’t finished lower than second place since 2005 and haven’t finished lower than third place since 1991. The Florida Gators football team lost only two games between January 2008 and October 2010. England are perennially in the top ten–and often the top five–of the FIFA World Rankings.

And yet right now, the Gators haven’t won since 25 September, against the Kentucky Wildcats. Since then, they’ve lost three in a row. They don’t play this weekend, which at least means we probably won’t lose, but it also means that–even if we beat Georgia next week–over a month will pass without a Gator win.

Until mid-week, Manchester United hadn’t won since beating Valencia 1-0 in the Champions League on 29 September. (Oh, how much better things looked for me at the end of September.) Since then, they’ve drawn three consecutive league matches, all against inferior opposition, including one last week, against West Bromwich Albion, that saw them leading 2-0 at halftime.

England haven’t won a competitive match since beating Slovenia 1-0 in June. Granted, they’ve only played two competitive matches since then, but one of those was their Euro 2012 qualifier on 13 October, at home to Montenegro, and produced only a 0-0 draw–which, I expect, will go down as Montenegrin football’s finest hour for quite some time to come.

On Wednesday, United finally broke the rot, beating Bursaspor 1-0 in the Champions League, though I didn’t get to see the match as I forgot to set the tape before leaving with the Boy for school. Ordinarily it’d be rather frustrating to have only beat 1-0 a team who until their Turkish championship last year had never won a single major trophy in their history, but at the moment, I’ll take it. Of course, with the wins over Valencia and Bursaspor both coming in the Champions League, it still means United haven’t won a league match since beating Liverpool 3-2 on 19 September. We’ll see if they can put that to rights at Stoke tomorrow afternoon.

It’s been odd. Surreal. I’m not complaining, and I’m not even really upset. I’m simply having experiences with which I’m unfamiliar.

I’ve got no desire to explore them for any longer than I have to, though.

I

Talking football

The last time I spoke to my dad was on his birthday.

We talked about Manchester United. We talked about the League Cup semi-final draw, which will see United play Manchester City. He expected United to lose, because we’ll field a reserve side while City will put out a first-team side, and he thought it a shame that City will nevertheless treat it as a legitimate victory over us.

When I told Lisa that, the night we learnt he’d died, she said, “That seems a very appropriate last conversation to have had with your dad.”

And it was. I can’t imagine a more appropriate last conversation to have had.

My dad and I talked about science fiction. We talked about Star Trek and Doctor Who. We talked about the Gators. And mostly, we talked about Manchester United.

Talking football with my dad was generally the only time I actually conversed about football–I gave my opinion, he gave his. Sometimes I’d change his mind, sometimes he’d change mine.

I love talking football with Lisa. She had no interest in the sport before she met me, and I’m aware how lucky I am to have a wife who took to a sport that was her husband’s interest, not hers, and likes it and made herself a student of it. But when Lisa and I talk football, it’s very much teacher and student. I’m the one who knows the statistics, the history, the rules, the competitions; the one who understands the tactical and the technical aspects of playing the game.

Hopefully Boy or Girl will take an interest in the sport, and hopefully I will get to watch as they learn all about it. I’m fine if they don’t, but I hope they do.

But I’m going to miss those conversations with my dad.

And by the way? Over two legs, United’s reserves absolutely have it in them to beat City’s first team.

I

Moving along

Losses don’t bother me.

When I was fifteen, Manchester United were poised to make history and win a second consecutive Double–which would have made them not just the first club to win back-to-back Doubles, but the first club to have won the Double more than once at all.* Blackburn Rovers’ comprehensive loss at Liverpool on the last weekend of the League season meant that United only needed to win at West Ham to win the League championship.**

And yet, despite the ball spending pretty much the entire last fifteen minutes of the match in West Ham’s penalty area, United were unable to grab a winner. The match finished at 1-1; United finished second to Blackburn in the League.

The following week offered redemption, though, when United played Everton in the FA Cup final. Winning the Cup wouldn’t be near as sweet as winning the League, but it was still the Cup. And a ninth FA Cup win would make United the club to have won more FA Cups than any other, an honour they held jointly with Spurs at the time. Man United were prohibitive favourites for the match; Everton had only narrowly escaped relegation. This was, in fact, the season whose first few months had given rise to the joke What does a compass have in common with Everton Football Club? They both have four points.

You can, of course, guess what happened. Everton won 2-0. United had spent the entire season on the verge of history; they finished it with nothing.

We watched that Cup Final at the Rose and Crown on Seminole Boulevard. Afterwards, my parents spent the afternoon there drinking and talking with a pair of Everton supporters who were, understandably, rather boisterous. My main memory of the afternoon is that periodically, pretty much everyone–my parents, friends of my parents, United supporters, the two Everton supporters–would turn round and me and tell me it would be all right, it was just a game.

I don’t … have any idea whatsoever what they were possibly on about. Not that I don’t understand what “it’s just a game” means–I don’t get what else I was supposed to think it was. We’d lost. Big deal. That’s why they do these things every year. Only one team can win each competition each year; for anyone who wasn’t a Blackburn or Everton supporter, like me, it was simply time to start hoping for next year.

During the game, I get really involved. I cheer, I sit tensely, I sometimes snap at people who remain oblivious to the gravity of certain situations. During the season, I can be giddy with possibility–of the Gators winning a second consecutive national championship, of United winning the Quadruple or consecutive League championships or becoming the first club of the Champions League era to win consecutive European Cups. Of Bradford City not sucking. If my teams are on a high, I let my hopes run wild.

But then my hopes get dashed. Now, I’m a Gators fan and a Man United supporter, so they get dashed a lot less often than they do for supporters of other teams–but they still get dashed more often than they don’t. In the twelve college football seasons since I matriculated at the University of Florida, the Gators have won two national championships and three SEC championships. That’s more successful than anyone other school except LSU (who are the only other school to have won two national championships, and have also won three SEC championships, during the same period), and yet it still means that there have been ten seasons when the Gators weren’t national champion, and nine seasons when they weren’t even SEC champion.

And in the fourteen seasons since Blackburn beat United to the 94/95 championship, United have won the European Cup twice. Amongst English clubs, only Liverpool have been crowned champions of Europe during that time, and they’ve only done it once, so two European Cups is nothing to sneeze at. But it still makes twelve seasons when United’s Champions League campaign ended in disappointment, generally at the hands of teams United should have beaten. (Actually, it’s just eleven times, since United didn’t even qualify for the 1995/96 Champions League.)

And every time, my reaction has been a few moments of disappointment, and then I say to myself, “Oh, well,” and it doesn’t bother me anymore. I’m not saying I never get affected by a loss, because sometimes I do.

But I know people who get really bothered by it. I know people who got pretty down after Florida’s distressingly thorough loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game the day before yesterday. And I’m not going to criticise that, because I don’t (generally) judge how other people enjoy themselves. (Well, okay, I totally do, but I don’t comment on it.) But I don’t understand it.

After all, we’ll get ’em next year.

I

*The Double, with a capital D, is the League Championship and the FA Cup won by the same club in the same season. Prior to United’s 1994 Double–the first of three the club won in the 1990s–it had been achieved only five times: by Preston North End in 1889, Aston Villa in 1898, Tottenham Hotspur in 1961, Arsenal in 1971 and Liverpool in 1986. United have so far won the Double in 1994, 1996 and (as part of the Treble, with the European Cup) 1999. Arsenal have also won a second and third Double, in 1998 and 2002, respectively.

**Which would not only have sewn up the first half of the Double, but would also have made them just the fourth club in history to win three consecutive League championships (after Huddersfield Town in the 1920s, Arsenal in the 1930s and Liverpool in the 1980s). Perhaps I’m going into too great detail here, but I want to stress how close United were to really, truly writing themselves into the history books.

A worthy successor to Phil Fulmer, at least in terms of blithering idiocy

Lane KiffinHonestly, it’s very rare that I take pleasure in Florida beating a specific team. For me, an outlook dominated by rivalries is a sign that the rivalries are all you have to play for, that you’re a smalltime team.* But we are Florida. We play for bigger things. We play for SEC championships and national championships, and every win is important to us. Beating Charleston Southern is just as important as beating Florida State, because losing either game has an equal chance of keeping us out of the national championship game.

But I confess, I’m going to enjoy the shellacking the Gators will give Lane Kiffin and his Tennessee Volunteers in Gainesville this afternoon.

I’m really looking forward to embracing some of the great traditions at the University of Tennessee, for instance the Vol Walk, running through the T, singing Rocky Top all night long after we beat Florida next year. It will be a blast.
–Lane Kiffin, at the press conference introducing him as the new Tennessee head coach last winter

Let’s remember the context of that remark. As Vols head coach, Kiffin succeeds Phil Fulmer, the single greatest head coach in Tennessee history. A coach who gave Tennessee their only perfect season, 13-0 in 1998, when they won one of the school’s only two national championships. A coach who finished his Tennessee career on a four-game losing streak to the University of Florida–a streak that’s still active for Tennessee, and should extend to five games this afternoon. A coach who lost to Florida again, and again, and again, for two decades. But Lane Kiffin’s gonna change all that. Sure.

He’d already look pretty stupid just for saying that. But then came National Signing Day, when Kiffin decided he was going to “turn Florida in right now right here in front of” an assembled group of Tennessee boosters. Urban Meyer was cheating, Kiffin said–in violation of the rule prohibiting contact with a recruit while that recruit was visiting another school’s campus, Meyer had spent Nu’Keese Richardson’s visit to Knoxville ringing him constantly on his cellphone.

Except, of course, that that isn’t cheating, because no such rule exists. Way to go, Lane.

By contrast, let’s look at all the ways Kiffin himself has cheated in the few short months he’s been Tennessee head coach, even without Tennessee having played a game. At least, all the ways he’s cheated and been caught. At least, I think these are all the ways, but honestly at this point there are so many, and no one seems to be keeping a master list, so it’s entirely possible I’ve missed one:

1. Tennessee decided to give their recruits a taste of what it’s like to be a Tennessee Volunteer on game day, breaking out the fog machine and have them run onto the field.

2. Then the recruits got to feel what the adulation is like after a game as well, by participating in a mock news conference.

3. In a radio interview Kiffin sang the praises of visiting recruit Bryce Brown by name, something prohibited when speaking of uncommitted players.

4. In May, Kiffin announced via tweet that JC Copeland had committed to the University of Tennessee, before Copeland had in fact signed his National Letter of Intent.

5. And then. And then. AND THEN. This one is my favourite. In June an ESPN crew visited Kiffin in Knoxville to tape a story about his fast-growing track record of continued violations. As part of this story, Kiffin allowed ESPN to tape (and then broadcast) himself meeting with recruits, in flagrant violation of the rule prohibiting a media presence during meetings between recruits and coaching staff. In a news story about how he was trying to overcome his history of recruiting violations, Lane Kiffin committed another recruiting violation.

There’s not a 6. on this list, because it turns out “Calling someone with a much more impressive track record than you a cheat when they weren’t breaking the rules, when in fact you’re the one who’s cheating,” isn’t actually a recruiting violation. Maybe the rule makers thought that one went without saying.

I think what sums Lane Kiffin up best is that he is so dumb, and so unjustifiably impressed with himself, that he makes even the Oakland Raiders look sane and competent:

Lane Kiffin is a flat-out liar. He lied to the team, he lied to the fans, and he lied to the media. He will try to destroy that university like he tried to destroy the Raiders, and will eventually clash with [Pat] Summitt and [Bruce] Pearl. Other than that, the Raiders can say nothing further.

(I really love that last line there. “Other than that, the Raiders can say nothing further.”)

Two of my most important rules as a sport fan are that I never let Florida’s rivalry games take precedence over the ultimate goals of SEC and national championships, and I never assume a game’s been won before it’s been played.** Today I’m breaking both those rules–and I’m going to enjoy it.

Go Gators!

I

*This rule crystallised for me in December 2006, when Florida basketball had just begun the first of two seasons as defending national champions. I discovered that one of the new hires at work was a Florida State grad–up here in the DC Metro area, both Gators and Seminoles are rather rare. So I immediately smiled and said, “Ha. I went to UF.”

He snorted. “We just beat you in basketball.”

“Well,” I said, obviously not caring, “we’re still the national champions.”

He reacted with disbelief, completely mystified that I would find this relevant. “Oh come on, I think we can all agree which is the better position to be in. I know I’d much rather be the one who’s just won a game played just now than the one who won something months ago.”

I actually laughed at that. “Well yeah,” I said, “because you’re a Florida State fan. You have nothing but the individual games to play for. We’re Florida. We play for bigger things.” And that’s exactly the terms in which I’ve described it ever since.

**Actually, I never assume a game’s been won till I see how the second half starts. However well one team did in the first half, the other team can always match it in the second.

On the horns of a cruel dilemma

Charles ILisa’s parents have come into town in anticipation of the happy event, and while we’re all waiting (Lisa), they and Boy have been having a great time hanging out together. Lisa and I have had quite a lot of time to ourselves; last night Boy even spent the night at his grandparents’ hotel.

This afternoon, Lisa’s dad is taking Boy while Lisa goes out shopping with her mum. This leaves me alone in the house for the last time for–well, for possibly ever. So of course, I should be hunched over the keyboard, taking this opportunity to write my like life depends on it.

But man, it’s the very first day of the new college football season. It’s noon now. I could watch Ohio State v Navy, then go straight into Georgia v Oklahoma State, then go straight into Alabama v Virginia Tech, then go straight into Washington v LSU, and go to bed around two o’clock in the morning.

On the one hand, who knows when I might get a chance to write again?

On the other, I wonder if I really have any possibility of accomplishing anything. Writing is a momentum thing. I won’t have a chance to establish any rhythm before Girl enters our lives.

Back to the first hand, I haven’t done any substantive writing (apart from a highly concentrated burst of revisions right after getting back from England). I’d really like to do some and don’t know when I’ll get to again.

Once more progressing to the second hand, this is the first day in a week that it’s too hot to go out and write on the balcony. It’s going to be 87 Fahrenheit today; all this week it hasn’t got above 76. Dampens my excitement.

And yet back at the first hand, it’s not like I’m passing up a Gator game. The University of National Championships aren’t on TV today–at least, not where I am–and don’t seem to be anywhere on the Internet that’s accessible to me, either.

Talk about a Scylla and Charybdis. Sometimes life just sucks. Alexandre Dumas never had to deal with a wonderland of college football on telly.

I

Will the real fourth best quarterback in the Big 12 …

… please stand up?

(As always, if reading this on the Facebook feed, you’ll need to head over to the original post to watch the embedded video.)

To the fans and everybody, I’m sorry. I’m extremely sorry. We were hoping for an undefeated season. That was my goal, something Florida’s never done here. But I promise you one thing: a lot of good will come out of this. You have never seen any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of this season and you’ll never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of this season and you’ll never see a team play harder than we will the rest of this season. God bless.

–Timothy Richard Tebow, 27 September 2008

If you look at the three best quarterbacks in the country, they came from the Big 12. … Yeah, I think our quarterbacks are better. Just the way they conduct themselves and how they play on the field. I just think playing against those guys, it’s a lot harder to prepare for those guys than it is for Tebow. … With us being in Florida and playing against Florida, everybody is going to think Tebow should have won the Heisman. But the right person won the Heisman and we’re going to show everybody the reason why he won it. … He [Tebow] said he wanted to face a Big 12 defense. It’s been great listening to all the comments they’ve been making. On January 8, we’re going to see.

–Dominique Franks, Oklahoma cornerback, 4 January 2009

When we win, we don’t want any excuses.

–Dominique Franks, explaining why he hoped Percy Harvin would be one hundred per cent healthy for the National Championship Game between Florida and Oklahoma on 8 January.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just a young guy who doesn’t know any better.

–Brent Venables, Oklahoma defensive co-ordinator, attempting to explain why one of his players would be stupid enough to piss off Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators, 4 January 2009.

I

At least in the end, Oklahoma put up more of a fight than Ohio State or Florida State did.


Photo SharingVideo SharingPhoto Printing

Photo SharingVideo SharingPhoto Printing

New year, new notes & some glam rock

Happy 2009 to everyone.

Boy and I are in Florida for the national championship game. I’m going to be going up to Gainesville for the game just like we did last time. Unfortunately Lisa had to stay behind in Virginia for the week. As we were pulling up to the airport on Friday morning, Boy said to her, “Mum, you don’t go to work. You come to Nana’s with us instead.” Then when I put him on the phone with her the other day, his first words were, “Mum, are you going to get to Nana’s soon?”

On Saturday morning Mum and I went down to the London Pride, the local British food shop. The trip convinced me that our holiday in England this summer is going to cost a lot of money, mostly spent on Crunchies, Curlywurlies and Fudge.

My last couple of posts got me pretty into glam for a week or two, and I took a look at my music library and have added Slade’s Greatest Hits and T.Rex’s Electric Warrior, the album on which “Get It On” appears.

In the last post I posted videos of some songs I thought Americans would have heard before, even if they wouldn’t be quite familiar with their origins. Now I’m posting some stuff I don’t think Americans will be familiar with. (As always, I don’t expect the YouTube videos will show up on Facebook, so if you’re reading on the Facebook feed, you’ll have to head over to the original post if you want to see them.)

T.Rex, “Children of the Revolution”:

Sweet, “Ballroom Blitz”. According to Wikipedia “Ballroom Blitz” reached number 5 on the US charts and was one of the biggest hits of 1975, though I don’t think I’ve ever heard Sweet mentioned over here and my sister (and American guinea pig) says she’s never heard the song before. (Also I’m sceptical of any claim that a song that peaks at number five is “one of the biggest hits of the year”.) It does make it onto movie soundtracks once in a while, and BBC America used it heavily in the promotion of the first series of Life on Mars:

A week or so late perhaps, but Wizzard, “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”:

And a bonus song. The Stranglers aren’t remotely glam in any imaginable way, and “Golden Brown” postdates any of these other songs by eight to ten years, but I like both the song and the video, so since ambobuddha mentioned it, here it is:

I

Ell Ess Who?

Ethelbald of WessexYou know, as I sit here watching College Gameday, which this week is in Baton Rouge for the LSU-Alabama game, it occurs to me I’ve never heard a single positive thing about LSU’s fans.

Their student senate once passed a resolution that Steve Spurrier would never be welcome in the state of Louisiana (a hatred borne of the profound inferiority complex Steve’s annual victories over them had instilled when he was the coach at Florida). I used to work for an LSU alum at the Bethesda Barnes & Noble, and he would spend the entire week prior to the LSU-Florida game relentless and supremely arrogantly trash talking; but should I bring the game up the following week (by which time Florida had beat LSU again), all I’d get was a grumpy snap that I should shut up.

Claire, who had no knowledge of college sports and no experience with rivalries or preconceptions about fans from other schools before she started at the University of Florida, called me before the LSU game her freshman year to tell me about all the abuse and profanity that had just been hurled her way by tailgating LSU fans as she walked through campus before the Florida-LSU game; she had the same experience prior to the Florida-LSU game this year, the first time LSU have returned to Gainesville since then. Other than Georgia’s antics after their defeat of Florida became their victory of the decade last year, she has never complained (to me) about any other team’s fans.

And last night, they burned Alabama coach Nick Saban in effigy the night before Alabama’s first visit to Baton Rouge since Saban took over the Crimson Tide. And why do they hate Saban enough to do something so disgusting? Because when he was coach at LSU he won the Tigers their first national title in fifty years. The bastard.

As a Florida fan, I’m hardly unused to taking guff from fans of whatever team we’re playing this week. After all, typically the Florida game is our opposition’s biggest game of the year, because of how rarely they ever win it. Georgia fans in particular are, in my experience, always ready to give a Florida fan a hard time at any time of the year (except, ordinarily, the two or three weeks following the Florida-Georgia game).

But that’s fine, because Georgia fans define Florida as their most significant rival. I’ve never heard of Georgia fans, for instance, displaying irrational hatred/dislike/jealousy towards South Carolina, or Auburn, or Georgia Tech.

And I’d always assumed that LSU defined Florida as their major rival, too, and that was where all the hatred comes from. (Though I still think LSU fans get far more carried away with emphasising how inferior to Florida they secretly see themselves, even if that’s the case.) But their attacks on Nick Saban and Alabama demonstrate that’s not the case.

When I talked about Florida’s loss to Georgia last year, I talked about how Georgia’s descent from being a big team in the 1980s to a small team today has turned their fans into small fans–fans who invest their entire season into defeating a single team, for whom a defeat of Florida means the same as an SEC championship or even a national championship means to Florida fans. (After all, in the past nineteen seasons Georgia has beat Florida only once more than Florida has won the national title.)

LSU, on the other hand, are undeniably a big team–they’ve won two national championships in five years. They’re the most successful college football team of the twenty-first century after Southern Cal. But they don’t have big fans, fans who have any concept that they’re in the bigtime. LSU comes across as a bigtime programme with decidedly smalltime, provincial fans.

I

Inheritance
Words yesterday: 2151
Words total: 86,351

Time spent writing: Three and a half hours (1pm-3.30, 10.30-11.30)
Reason for stopping: Boy got up; bedtime
New words today: passageway
Alcohol: Amaretto fower

Vote early, vote often, Vote Saxon

ETA: A picture of Claire

I have lots of friends who know Gainesville, Florida, and I have lots of friends who are fans of Doctor Who. But the list of my friends who know both Gainesville and Doctor Who is probably fairly short. For those of you who do appear on that list, though, I’d like to share a photograph I found on LiveJournal’s Doctor Who community this morning. Here’s the 34th Street Wall at one o’clock this morning, Election Day:

VOTE SAXON

The young ladies on either side are the ones who did the painting. I’ve asked Claire to go down after class and get a picture of herself in front of it; if she does that, I’ll post it here.

And now, here’s Claire:

Claire at the 34th Street Wall

Harold Saxon: the candidate of Phi Mu sorority.

I

Inheritance
Words yesterday: 1198
Words total: 78,977

Time spent writing: Five hours (Noon-3pm, 9.30-11.30)
Reason for stopping: Boy got up; wanted to see the end of Monday Night Football

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