Three Reasons To Get The Hate Flowing For Florida Week

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Here we are again. It’s Florida week for the second time this season as the LSU Tigers will take on the Gators in Baton Rouge on Saturday. The two teams were originally scheduled to meet in Gainesville a month ago, but the game was postponed and later rescheduled as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

The LSU-Florida rivalry is one that goes back awhile. These are two teams that are in the picture for both a conference and national title just about every year, so there are usually major stakes on the line when the two teams get together.

This season is no different. While Ed Orgeron’s Tigers are mathematically out of the conference title race and have very little shot of a playoff appearance, they still need this win. Sitting at number 16 in the College Football Playoff rankings, LSU is the likely SEC representative in the Sugar Bowl should Alabama make the playoffs. A win over another ranked conference opponent would only bolster their chances.

For Florida, a trip to Atlanta for the conference title game is still very much in play. With a win, the Gators could lock up the SEC East crown, but a loss to LSU would see Tennessee play Alabama in the championship game.

Aside from all that is on the line Saturday, this game will be fun thanks to some good old-fashioned rivalry and hate. A lot has gone on between the two teams this season, so we have plenty of reasons to dislike the Gators this go-around. 

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Handling Of The Hurricane Situation

While I do not want to downplay the danger and effect of a natural disaster, the way the Florida Gators handled the situation as the teams tried to figure things out last month was absolutely horrid.

Going into the week, the Florida coaches and administration had zero plan whatsoever, despite the fact that a category four hurricane was headed for the state. They stubbornly declared that the game would be played in Gainesville all week-long, despite the obvious problem everyone saw with that plan.

As the week went on, LSU and the conference worked to get the game moved to another day or to another location. The Tigers never demanded a home game, rather suggested numerous neutral site options that were closer to Florida than Baton Rouge. LSU didn’t care how, they just wanted to see the game played.

But Florida refused to work with anyone, and when it was all said and done, they came out and cowardly insulted LSU, saying that the school “does not care about the safety of our people.” We saw our administration, coaches, players, and fans insulted for days, when in reality the Gators were at fault.

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Florida’s Mocking Of Mike VI’s Death

Shortly after all the events with the hurricane played out, tragedy struck the LSU family. Live mascot and beloved figure Mike IV died as a result of cancer. Tiger Nation was heartbroken, as Mike has been more than just a mascot to us for years. To make matters worse, Mike IV did not even live to see half of the projected lifespan for the species.

Most teams around the conference where very classy and sympathetic about the entire situation. They publicly expressed their condolences for LSU’s loss, and we even saw the Arkansas Razorbacks honor Mike when the two teams played last Saturday. Not only were our rival schools classy, but most fans were as well.

Using the word “most” was not an accident. The support for LSU was overwhelming from all angles, except the Florida Gators. In their game against Missouri, several Gators were celebrating in the end zone after the win. As the celebration unfolded, a fan threw a miniature Tiger skeleton covered in beads onto the field. This was an obvious, classless reference to Mike IV. The players then proceeded to pick it up, celebrate with it, and go through a full-on photo shoot. It was one of the most pathetic things I have ever seen. 

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Poor Sportsmanship

With all that was going on with the hurricane and the insults that were being thrown around the first time these two teams were supposed to play, one very important detail went unnoticed by most people.

At the time, there was some talk that Florida was not just completely unwilling to work with LSU or move the game, but that they were also intentionally milking the circumstances in order to face the Tigers at a later date. The Gators were a very banged up team the week the game was originally scheduled, so the postponement was looked at as a positive for Florida by many.

The ironic thing is, Florida is now dealing with more injuries than they were at that point, but it was still a cowardly act if that was indeed their intention.

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