Thursday, August 27, 2009

Disdain for Gators Comes at Perfect Time for Ohio State

Posted by HD Handshoe

The decline of a rivalry is a rotten thing, which is why Ohio State should be happy to be mocked in Daytona Beach and laughed at in Orlando.

Just as Coke needs Pepsi and Fox News needs CNN, the Buckeyes need Florida to fill the rivalry void momentarily vacated by Michigan, which has been Joe Frazier to OSU's Ali, but is showing signs of becoming Jerry Quarry.

A continuing slide into mediocrity by Michigan would be a shame for both OSU and UM, much like watching Phil Mickelson fail to break 80 against Tiger Woods.

"It's the old saying that there's no rivalry between a hammer and nail," said Robert Carrothers, a professor at Ohio Northern University specializing in sports culture.

Florida, meanwhile, is a wrecking ball to OSU's hammer. The two schools' general dislike of each another is no typical rivalry; the two teams have played only once, but that was enough to set in motion a set of circumstances that has created a current of emotion both swift and deep.

The one-directional anger -- north to south -- and one-directional snickering -- south to north -- began with four numerals and a hyphen: 41-14. That's not only the score of Florida's victory in the 2007 BCS national championship game, but it also reflects a clash of cultures currently dominated by the Sunbelt.

Forget football. How does Ohio, ranked as the 10th fattest state, compete against bikinis, beaches and the 13th disciple, Tim Tebow?

And Florida fans never let Buckeye Nation forget it. It would be one thing if the Gators handled their superiority with grace. They don't. If obnoxious was a 100-meter race, UF fans would be Usain Bolt. And OSU fans would finish a close second.

Of course, Florida has reason to be unbearable, having won two of the past three national titles, not to mention the 2007 NCAA basketball championship (By beating you-know-who). Ohio State returns volley with, "Get back to us when you've done it for 60-plus years."

Now, the Gators are ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls; OSU is No. 6. It's no wonder some among the scarlet-and-gray faithful brought out the pitchforks and torches last week upon learning that linebacker Tyler Moeller was decked in Gators Cafe and Saloon in Treasure Island, Fla. The alleged assailant wasn't necessarily for Florida, but he was from Florida.

That bit of nastiness aside, the overall animosity between the two fan bases is healthy in a deep-fried Oreo sort of way.

"Hate has a way of making people feel alive," said Richard Lustberg, a licensed psychologist in New York who operates the Web site "Hanging onto a grudge for a long time gives people a feeling of being pumped up and energized beyond a humdrum day."

Lustberg further explained that rivalries are important places "where people can let go of their feelings of anger and frustration and thereby understand the rivalries in their own lives, whether it be boyfriend-girlfriend or whether that guy you play golf against."

I won't pretend to understand all that, but Florida making fun of Ohio State makes the heart beat faster. On both sides.

Carrothers continued the conversation.

"You identify with a team, sometimes because you grew up watching grandpa watching them," he said. "It reaffirms who you are as a person. So an attack on Ohio State is an attack on the whole family. There is a strong emotional component to it."

Knowing that emotional release is an important part of healthy living, Carrothers even does his part to keep OSU fans feeling fit.

"They don't like to be reminded of their losses, so I put Florida stuff up in my office to punk them," he said. "I had a lot of fun that year (2007) doing the Gator chomp."

The Buckeyes desperately want to bite back. Nothing like blood in the water to make a football fan feel alive.

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Original article was written by Rob Oller of THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH and appears here.


  1. Gonna say this here and now, Florida has many more old fatties than skinny hotties!

  2. If you actually said something important here, could you let us readers know? Because, this article took away 3 min of my life and I want those 3 min back.

  3. Sorry you lost those 3 minutes. The article says plenty -- too bad you didn't see that for yourself.

    I'm guessing your bitter over it b/c you're a Michigan fan.

  4. OSU sucks...
    End of article

  5. Slowhio State is the worst team in college football history.

  6. I'd rather be retarded than a fan of Ohio State.

  7. "Florida fans never let Buckeye Nation forget it. It would be one thing if the Gators handled their superiority with grace. They don't."

    If this were true you wouldn't be writing this blog and posting about it on Gator message boards. The game was three seasons ago, time to move along.

    A Gator fan

  8. Pryor will never be a great QB.

  9. Pryor just another stupid thug

  10. This has to be a joke. Look at the polls. Do people in Ohio just eat and act stupid all the time?

  11. After reading these comments, one thing's for certain:

    Florida Glazed Gayturd fans = NO CLASS = NO SURPRISE

  12. Look who is talking Chubby

  13. Look at the same guy posting comments over and over again - hilarious.

  14. Blohio state fans started talking first there are posts on the espn message boards from that year talking about Florida doesn't even belong on the same field as overated state. Guess there was a lot of truth to that. Bring on USC


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