In the history of "Teh Interwebz", one of the great traditions is taking the writing of someone and critiquing it, paragraph by paragraph. The practice was pioneered by the good fellows at the wonderful Firejoemorgan.com, and act of FJM'ing an article is now a standard operating procedure that goes blissfully beyond the comments section of an online story, or a letter to an editorrrr.
On Tuesday, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel wrote a column on why Florida (State or University of, take your pick) fans will, rightfully in his mind, cheer on the UCF Knights to victory over Ohio State. As a Buckeye fan with the ability to cut and paste text and this lovely forum on which to share my thoughts, I could not think of a better column to FJM than this piece of tripe.
UCF coach George O'Leary has always wanted Florida and Florida State fans who live in Orlando to make UCF their second-favorite college football team.
"I've always talked about Gator-Knights and Seminole-Knights," O'Leary says. "If you live in Orlando, I'm not going to change your affiliation, but I do think that if your hometown team is playing, you should be rooting for them."
Fair point and good lede, Mike. Setting the stage for a column about a team no one in Florida gives a shit about.
No problem this week, Coach.
I wonder why not...
O'Leary will get his wish and then some on Saturday when the Knights travel to Columbus to take on former UF coach Urban Meyer's new team — the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Knights may not have many fans up at the iconic Horseshoe on Saturday, but nearly the entire state of Florida will be pulling for them. Especially Gator Nation and the many UF fans who feel jilted by Meyer, the once-revered coach who left their program broken and surfaced at Ohio State just a few months later.
What this column presupposes is the vast majority of Florida fans won't care about their own team, but they'll turn their attention to Columbus because they hate Urban Meyer, the man who JILTED the fan base and broke their hearts. Despite winning two titles in six years. Just forget about those.
"This week I'm going to be the biggest, most obnoxious UCF fan you've ever seen in your entire life," says Mandy, an avid Gator fan who regularly calls my radio show.
"Hey, it's Mandy from Bianchi's radio show! I love her expert opinion!" -- no one, ever.
"Urban Meyer is the man you dated and the ending went so bad, you have an unhealthy hatred for him. He's the ex-boyfriend you hope gets fat, gets divorced five times and his last wife leaves him for Rachel Maddow."
This Gator hate for Meyer might just be the most incredible fan phenomenon in recent college football history. Has there even been a coach who, in the span of a year, has gone from one of the greatest champions in school history to one of the biggest pariahs?
Uh, I can think of one such coach...
When I asked Meyer on the Big Ten teleconference call Tuesday...
You mean the one somehow got the pass code to get in on and used it as a forum to troll your fans' ex-boy toy?
...if it is natural for fans of one school to be angry when a coach leaves for another school, he got a bit snippy. "Your facts are, not surprisingly, incorrect," Meyer said. "I love Florida and will always love Florida...I'm always going to be a Gator and I'm not going to let a few people try to hurt that."
BOOOOOOM! ROASTED. Keep in mind the last thing Meyer said in that response, too. It'll come up later.
Meyer, as usual, doesn't have a full grasp of the truth. If he thinks only a few Gators will be rooting against him Saturday, he is in serious denial. Even Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley can sense that Gator fans are not the biggest Urban Meyer fans right now. Foley himself admits he was a little surprised at "how quickly" Meyer returned to coaching after leaving Florida.
Do you think Urban Meyer gives two shits about what Florida fans think of him on Saturday afternoons now? At best, the opinions of Florida fans are probably 1,758th on the list of things he gives a shit about, right behind "oatmeal vs. grits" and ahead of "did I buy lightbulbs last week?"
"Fans are loyal to their teams," Foley says. "I'm a big Boston Red Sox fan. Johnny Damon helped us win a championship, he was fun to watch and we loved him to death. But when he went to the Yankees, I wasn't a Johnny Damon fan anymore. It's not that Urban was disloyal; it's that Urban was ours and now he's somebody else's, and that's a normal fan reaction. Over time, that will change, and Urban will be embraced here.
Foley's a Red Sox fan. Another team that won two championships in six years and is now mired in mediocrity with an ineffective leader managing the team. Sounds familiar, doesn't it, Jeremy?
It isn't what Meyer did at Florida that has made him so unpopular now; it's the circumstances of how he left. Remember? Even though he was ultra-successful during the Tim Tebow years, his program at Florida was bereft of discipline and starting to implode.
If you read the article, you'll notice that Foley really doesn't say anything to help Bianchi's point along, other than "he left and other stuff go Sawks." Sure, the cupboard was a bit bare when Meyer left, but you replaced him with one of the top names in the sport and - newsflash - YOU'RE FLORIDA. Y'all don't rebuild, you reload, right?
Says former UF player Lee McGriff, now an analyst for the school's radio broadcast team: "Urban made such grand statements about, 'I'm a Gator. I love the Gators. This is utopia. This is paradise. This is my life.'
These are thoughts and sentiments that Meyer said IN THE PRESS CONFERENCE YOU CRASHED, MIKE. Meyer: "I love Florida and will always love Florida. … I'm always going to be a Gator and I'm not going to let a few people try to hurt that." He hasn't changed his mind about this. Either you forgot to re-read the transcripts before quoting McGriff, or you're lazy, or you don't mind contradicting yourself in print. Likely all three.
"...And then he said he was done coaching [because of the burnout]. And now, suddenly, he's at Ohio State, which is as big-time as big-time gets. He jumped right back into the frying pan. It's not like he's coaching Dartmouth in the Ivy League. That left a lot of Gator fans saying, 'Whoa, who is this guy?' "
"Careful making mention to lesser schools in a public forum, or the nuns will come after you!" - Gordon Gee
In truth, sure, I bet there are a good amount of Florida fans really asking who this guy is. Did he leave Florida high and dry? Perhaps. Did he mislead the fans about his intentions? Maybe. But did he win you two championships and produce the greatest Messiah in the history of college football? Sorry, that's the right Bauer. Your argument is invalid. The only thing you should be saying is thank you, and go back to worrying about Texas A&M. Surely Florida fans can agree with that?
"I want UCF to embarrass Urban Meyer," says Mandy the Gator fan. "Stomp him!"
[Goes back and clicks on the "double facepalm" link]