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Coach Muschamp channels Michigan, piles on Ohio State and Urban Meyer

At an event usually reserved for SEC coaches taking shots at each other, one coach aimed his barbs a little farther north. Is there an Ohio State-Florida Cold War brewing?

Sam Greenwood

SEC Media Days are often a total circus compared to comparable events, thanks in part by some of the delicious trolling efforts by various coaches. Typically, these are aimed at other SEC programs, but you probably heard of some remarks by Florida headman Will Muschamp that were not-so-subtly directed towards Columbus.

The first remark some saw as a trolling answer came from the following question:

Q. How much is a head coach responsible for the off‑the‑field behavior of its players? Can a head coach know everything that’s going on, and control that?

Muschamp responded with:

A: Well, you’re 100% responsible. When you sign a student‑athlete to come to the University of Florida, I look at his parents, guardians, whoever is important to him in his life, tell them it’s my job to be an extension of what’s already happened at home. But you’re a hundred percent responsible for the young man. Everything that happens.
I can’t possibly know everything that happens every single night with our football team. You also can’t stick your head in the sand and pretend everything is okay either.

Some have said this was an innocuous coach-speak answer to a broad question. After all, you couldn't really expect him to say "Well, quite frankly, none. The individuals I'm recruiting are adults who can make their own decisions, and if one of them gets busted for a DUI, or drug possession, or tries to steal the Declaration of Independence, that's a result of their own poor judgement".

Others have suggested it was a subtle dig at Urban Meyer's resistance to talking about whether he bares any responsibility for Aaron Hernandez, or the arrest record of some of his players at the University of Florida. We're inclined to give Muschamp the benefit of the doubt with this quote, especially considering that Muschamp's Gators aren't exactly the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or anything.

Muschamp's second remark though, leaves no room for the benefit of the doubt. It's just straight up trollin'.

When asked about Ohio State potentially turning Florida in for "bump violations" in recruiting, (a story we wrote about here), Muschamp replied:

"In both situations we were turned in by Ohio," he continued. "We didn't do anything wrong. The University of Florida didn't do anything wrong. And so we appreciated our friends from Ohio making sure we're compliant with NCAA rules.

"They certainly know a little bit about that subject."


When asked to elaborate a little on being ratted out by a FORMER FLORIDA COACH, Muschamp then tried to play everything cool, saying "Big Ten media Days are next week. Ask him." Because we ain't here to talk about the Big Ten PAWWWWWWLL.

The actual controversy is beyond a non-starter. Urban has denied being involved, Florida was absolved of any wrongdoing, and one of those prospects ended up signing with Florida anyway. The other, Curtis Samuel, isn't considering Florida anymore but IS considering Ohio State, but the interest in Florida was lukewarm-ish to begin with, and the idea of a scandal-shy recruit seriously considering the Buckeyes right after they missed a shot at a BCS National Title due to sanctions seems kinda stupid. But here we are.

To me, the truly obnoxious part of these statements isn't the little dig at Ohio State's recent run in with the NCAA law. It is what it is, and as far as coach trolling goes, it's actually a pretty decent line. The obnoxious part is Muschamp's shameless stealing of "Ohio" from Michigan as the moniker for The Ohio State University.

Look, Florida fans. It's stupid when Michigan does it, but when somebody who isn't even in our conference tries that, it's pretty ridiculous. While Buckeye fans may try to go out of their way to avoid using the word Michigan, nobody would ever think to do that for Alabama, Texas, Florida. What's going on in the Florida locker room? Do they view Ohio as a potential rival to challenge their Florida Man twitter account? "WHEN WE'RE THROUGH MEN, THE GAME WON'T BE FLORIDA OR OHIO? THERE WILL BE NO DOUBT! THE ANSWER WILL ALWAYS BE...FLORIDDAAAAAAA!!!"

It's been very interesting to watch the past few months as some sort of Cold War seems to be brewing between Ohio State and Florida fans. Many Buckeye fans have taken to looking at the entire SEC as a benchmark for the program, rather than Big Ten programs outside of Michigan, given a decade of relative dominance, save a few exceptions, like the 2011 campaign, or the one annoying Purdue fan who is undoubtedly yelling "BUCKEYES CAN'T BEAT US IN OUR HOUSE Y'ALL DUCKING PURDUE CHOO CHOOOOO" at his monitor right now. While Alabama may get the brunt of that dislike due to being the undisputed king of the sport right now, it appears no other single SEC program gets more dislike from Buckeye fans than Florida (although Arkansas may have that potential in a few years).

Maybe it comes from the absolute butt kicking the Buckeyes received at the hands of the Gators in the National Title game a few years ago. Maybe it comes from general overexposure of the program during the Tebow era. The less than charitable feelings many Florida fans have towards the program in the aftermath of Urban's departure probably doesn't help, along with the presence of at least one national media troll in the Florida footprint who tries to tie Urban Meyer to everything from the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa to the destabilization of Syria. Over the last few months, I can't think of many programs in different conferences with more bad blood potential.

You can't really call Ohio State/ Florida a credible rivalry per se, since the schools would only meet in a bowl. Given Ohio State's full schedule for the next few years, and Florida's crippling phobia of playing out of conference games outside the state of Florida, future football matchups seem unlikely. But if the staffs continue to snipe at each other in press conferences and along the recruiting trail, this could easily escalate into something of a Cold War, with the battles being fought on message boards and twitter.

Are Cold War rivalries a thing, or would you use a different term for them? Do you have strong feelings towards the University of Florida? If other schools are going to refuse to call us by our real name, should we collectively think of a different word for Florida? Let us know your thoughts.