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WHY FLORIDA DID WHAT IT WANTED

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BECAUSE: FLORIDA

NCAA Football: Florida at Georgia
You have complaints? Cool, we don’t care and don’t have to. We’re lizards.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hi, let’s explain a few things about why the SEC cancelled the Florida game. You might have explanations, but we have the most reliable ones.

  1. LSU fans have been caterwauling about how the SEC gave Florida everything they wanted by cancelling the LSU game in Gainesville with no offer of a reschedule or make-up game. Which is fun, because if anyone would understand the dynamics of a football program dodging a potential disaster of a hurricane, it would be LSU? But fine, we get that, you get to brag about your hardiness and ability to move your entire football program in a matter of hours while pointing out Florida’s laziness and arrogance.
  2. The first part is justified, by the way. LSU really is amazing at moving at the last second and playing football games wherever they have to play them. They’ve moved or postponed and worked around Hurricanes Katrina, Gustav, Ike, and others. LSU are the best at hurricane football, and also happen to have the most practice at it.
  3. The second part is accurate, too. Florida will never do anything it doesn’t have to do, ever, because the general pattern of the program since it tasted a thimbleful of success has been colossal arrogance. It’s our thing, whether we can back it up or not. Florida plays no out-of-conference games it does not have to, and has not for the entirety of Jeremy Foley’s tenure as athletic director. It tolerates no coverage it does not want, and was one of the first programs to create its own media apparatus to make news it liked.
  4. Note on that: Florida actually doesn’t seem to care whether you cover them at all. This works really well when the team is great, because everyone’s watching anyway. This works really well when the team is bad, because no one gets any details about exactly why the team is bad, or who is unhappy, or why we ever hired Will Muschamp in the first place. It’s not even hostile. They just regard media as irrelevant to the Florida football product, and always will. It’s refreshing: there’s not even a divide between traditional media and online media in this. They disregard everyone equally.
  5. Florida doesn’t move quickly, and is run by a really small number of people. The most important of those people is Jeremy Foley, the Athletic Director known for being very good at almost every part of his job except managing and meddling in the football program. If LSU could not out-negotiate a retiring athletic director who thought Will Muschamp was a great idea and has no more imagination than “let’s hire another Saban assistant” for hiring a replacement, then...frankly, we have no answers for you. All Foley has ever had is one playing card, and that is “here’s what I want, and you accept it.” You got outnegotiated by Bernie Mac in Bad Santa.
  6. You’re trying to stretch and explain something with way, way too many explanations when incompetence and laziness and money will do. Florida will likely recoup a lot of the revenue from the game via the SEC’s insurance policies. While other programs ironed out hurricane details earlier in the week, Florida sat on their hands and waited until a very late point in the proceedings to make a decision, and then refused to really work out an immediate make-up date at all. Again, the pattern here is Florida doing whatever it wants in line with its own very narrowly defined interests, and doing so on its own mysteriously kept schedule.
  7. Again, don’t read this as a defense. Just understand that this is the way everything at Florida has been run for a long time: profitably, at a mostly competent level, and at the whims of program interest and one person’s definition of it. You might have gotten screwed, LSU, but that’s not Florida’s problem. And if the improbable happens, Tennessee could theoretically get screwed, too, but again, you’ll get no sympathies from the Florida athletic department. We are the elves who what we want, like hiring first-time head coaches (TWICE) because someone thought it was a good idea, or messing with branding in stupid-ass directions, or ignoring the media as a whole despite national college football writers living in town, or watching the game from the goalposts like you had anything to do with it while periodically dropping in on film sessions? There’s one elf, mainly, and he thinks he made the program Steve Spurrier built, and that Urban Meyer took to two national title games. Jeremy Foley is such a dominant force at Florida that hiring his replacement became difficult because candidates allegedly feared him meddling in their job—even from a well-cushioned spot in retirement.
  8. So if you want a perfect example of the magical administrators propped up by the deeply inequitable black market economics of amateurism and worshipped in sad, poorly-logo’d fiefdoms? They’re not just coaches. Some of them are ADs, too, and even good decisions they make—like cancelling a football game in the wake of what appeared to be a very powerful hurricane—can get tainted by a long pattern of being themselves. FWIW, the guy on the other side here—LSU’s Joe Alleva— just fired Les Miles, is largely considered to be a bad fit at LSU, and is generally disliked in a state full of extremely dislikable public servants. That’s where we’re at here: Jeremy Foley turned Joe Alleva into a sympathetic character even in doing most of the right thing by cancelling the game.
  9. And this is the right thing, since it’s just a football game, and because most of the doomsday football scenarios here—like Florida, who can’t run the ball out of their own backfield, going 6-1 in the SEC and possibly outpacing a superior Tennessee team—are just absurd stretching to make some kind of hypothetical controversy happen here. You shouldn’t be short on content because A CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE SHOULD BE ENOUGH EXCITEMENT ALL BY ITSELF. Football can make you stupid. It can make you so, so stupid sometimes.
  10. P.S. We’re a Pepsi school and our grocery store is Winn-Dixie, not Publix. OUR ATHLETIC DIRECTOR HAS TRASH TASTE, IS THE POINT. WE’RE HAPPY HE’S RETIRING FOR A LOT OF REASONS AND NOT ALL OF THEM ARE RATIONAL. MOST OF THEM, ACTUALLY, FALL IN THE IRRATIONAL PILE. HE CANCELLED A GAME WHEN HE SHOULD HAVE. YAY FOR HAVING A MODICUM OF SENSE, WE GUESS?
  11. This entire thing is so goddamn stupid, let’s never talk about it again.
  12. We lied. This is so, so stupid, and handled stupidly, and then reacted to in stupid fashion. Now we’re done, and let’s really never talk about it again.