BCS National Title Game '11

BCS National Title Game '11
BCS National Championship 1/10/11 Oregon vs Auburn

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

College Football GameDay Experience #5 (Gainesville)

I am half way through my top ten College GameDay experiences. The countdown began with Iowa City (Iowa Hawkeyes) at ten, then Madison (Wisconsin Badgers) at nine, Knoxville (Tennessee Volunteers) at eight, Lincoln (Nebraska Cornhuskers) at seven, and Eugene (Oregon Ducks) at six. GameDay Experience number six takes us down to the SEC. The stadium is known as "The Swamp" and has the reputation of being one of the most hostile environments in college football. Welcome to Gaineville and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium where only Gators get out alive, according to the Gator introduction video before the Gators run out onto the field.

5. GameDay in Gainesville-Florida Gators (Ben Hill Griffin Stadium)

The Florida Gators program is still very relevant even after the reign of the Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer era. Gator nation is still very optimistic about coach Will Muschamp and that he will lead them to prominence yet again. The Gator fans love their team and are the reason why Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is what it is today.

Gainesville in early September, when I went there, was so hot and humid. I guess it is part of the
experience of going to Gator game at "The Swamp." GameDay started off with ESPN College GameDay and Corso, of course, picking the Gators over the "The U" (Miami Hurricanes). All the Gator fans by noon were all tailgating. This is the only tailgating scene that is better than Iowa and Wisconsin. Florida fans sure can tailgate...and drink as well. There are also quite a few bars on campus that fans go to prior to kickoff.

After a full day of experiencing the tailgating scene and checking out the Stephen C. O'Connell Center, home of Florida basketball and volleyball, it was time to enter "The Swamp." I walked into the stadium and got chills. I realized I had just walked into one of the most hostile football environments in the country. I saw the names of the three Heisman Trophy Winners up in the stadium. They are, of course, Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel, and Tim Tebow.

Pre-game at "The Swamp" is absolutely crazy. Before the Gators took the field, a man by the name of George Edmondson Jr. aka Mr. Two Bits, took the field and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium turned into quite the spectacle. He stood at midfield and started the chant: Two Bits! Four Bits! Six Bits! A Dollar! All for the Gators Stand up and holler! I heard that he retired from doing this though, so I am not sure what they do at Florida now. The video then appears on the scoreboard and you hear "Only Gators get out Alive." The video shows the players touching a Gator head as they are about to run out of the tunnel. When the Gators finally ran out of the tunnel it was deafening. I honestly have never been in a stadium as loud as that one. There were 90,000 fans screaming at the top of their lungs. I literally thought my head was going to explode. I realized at that moment why Florida is one of the toughest places to play, and that it truly is the loudest environment in College Football. 

During the game, there are many different chants the gator fans take part in. The Gator Chomp and Go Gators! chant are the most well-known. They also have a tradition after the third quarter like Wisconsin and Oregon. Everyone puts their arms over each other's shoulders and sing the song "We Are The Boys From Old Florida." Everyone is so calm during that song and after it's finished it's back to the same old loud and hostile environment. Going to "The Swamp" was an amazing experience. This is a real SEC environment for college football. The fans are crazy for their team and extremely knowledgable about the game of football. It may also have been amazing when I was there, because it was right after Tim Tebow had won his Heisman Trophy and the Gators were in the hunt of going to the National Championship.  

Game Attended in Gainesville:
9/06/2008   CFB   Miami (FL) 3, Florida 26   * ESPN College GameDay

ESPN College GameDay- Florida vs Miami
Pre-Game at "The Swamp"

Before Kickoff 
Tim Tebow

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