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Who Wants To Be A Blogger Round Two: Florida Hate (Plus One)

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In a strange turn of events, Will Totten’s entry that was missing yesterday was found, meanwhile GrannyCats doesn’t seem to exist.  So Will has been moved into my group, GrannyCat was cut, and I will still cut a member from my new group in order to keep the numbers set for the next round.

Without further ado, three Florida hate pieces and a Vandy one.

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Joe Stone

Top 6 Reasons Kentucky Fans (Sports) Hate Florida

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Urban Meyer loves my Microsoft Paint skills

Gather ’round everybody. It’s a list. Yes, it’s the most abused format to hit sports blogs this side of random boldface type. Yes, it means I didn’t come up with a legitimate premise for this entry. Yes, these lists normally go to 10. Yes, it’s just like wearing a sign around my neck that says “Lazy” (though the construction of such a sign sounds like a lot of work). What can you expect? It’s a blogger contest on a free website with no clear prize. Also, I’m writing this after July 4th weekend and my brain is currently clogged with whatever chemical it is they put in hot dogs to make you forget what you’re eating.

As a side note, I subscribe to (and stole for the purposes of the title) Bill Simmons’ notion of sports hate. To summarize (Simmons can be wordy): It’s fun to root against certain players or teams for any reason that’s quantifiable to anyone outside of your particular fanbase. It doesn’t mean you have to wish them any ill will off the court. It doesn’t mean you probably wouldn’t have rooted for them just as hard as you rooted against them had they played for your team rather than a rival. That said, I think everyone outside of Chicago and Gainesville hopes Joakim Noah dies an unspeakable death. On with the cliche:

6. Terrible Hair
Joakim Noah’s afro-puff-wrangled-into-a-ponytail. Matt Walsh’s (I once heard it described as “misplaced pubic hair” and I can’t say I disagree) being too much for his headband to handle. Alex Tyus’ what-would-you-call-that-thing? It’s cornrows on top of a receding hairline he tries to hide with a headband. I’m going with skullrows. Billy Donovan’s hair looks like it couldn’t decide if it wanted to be Pat Riley in 1983 or Rick Pitino in 1996 and just gave up. I’m sure there are more examples on the football team, but they wear helmets. Even Erin Andrews had terrible ’80’s hair when she went to school there. In the ’90’s. Maybe it’s the humidity. Maybe they forget their games are on national television. Either way, just hope they don’t bring up Sean Woods.

5. I Got My Swim Trunks. And My Flippie-Floppies.

June 4, 2007: Billy Donovan cashes in on his even-a-blind-squirrel-finds-a-nut back-to-back national championships (more on this later) by taking the head coaching job with the Orlando Magic.

June 7, 2007: Following three days of Pat Forde sleeping on his front lawn, Donovan officially becomes the Brett Favre of college basketball when he announces he will return to Florida rather than accept the job for which he signed a contract three days earlier. Orlando responded by making Donovan sign an agreement saying he could not coach in the NBA for a period of 5 years. Every GM in the NBA responded by saying “Uhhhhhh, OK.” Since returning to FU (I know), Donovan is 0-0 in NCAA tournament games and Stan Van Gundy took an Orlando team that started a French guy not named Tony Parker-Longoria to the NBA Finals.

December 27, 2009: Urban Meyer, citing health reasons, makes me rewind my DVR twice to make sure I wasn’t dreaming when I saw on the Bottom Line that he would retire as head coach of the FU Gators (it’s fun, try it) following their Sugar Bowl appearance.

December 30, 2009: Meyer decides dying is cool with him after all and he might as well bang out a few more BCS Championships before he goes where all FU coaches go when they shuffle off this mortal coil: the Washington Redskins.

4. They are really good at football

This one isn’t as much fun, but it’s true. I know because I just spent 10 minutes Googling phrases like “kentucky football losing streak florida” and “jared lorenzen interception florida” and I feel sick. Even when The Ol’ Ball Coach leaves, fails miserably in the NFL and winds up at South Carolina; we can’t beat him. I’m pretty sure we would have to lose to Ron Zook’s Illinois team just to keep the universe from folding in on itself and pulling all matter into a deep abyss from which there is no hope of return. I’m moving on now.

3. Players that make you want to punch yourself in the face

You’re less likely to make the newspaper that way.

I’ve already mentioned Joakim Noah’s terrible hair, but there’s plenty else to sports hate about Noah. He’s French. He pounds his chest and juts out his jaw after making a routine layup. He acts as though he’s the toughest player on the court, but he’s the son of a former French tennis star and a former Miss Sweden. Which reminds me, he’s French. My NBA nightmare is for some combination of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to go to Chicago and turn Noah into this generation’s Dennis Rodman.

Besides the aforementioned Matt Walsh (more terrible hair, dirty player, dated Playmates), the list goes on: Teddy Dupay, Adrian Moss, Christian Drejer,Anthony Roberson, Walter Hodge, Dan Werner, Nick Calathes (Matt Bonner gets a pass from me for being a redhead). And for the old folks: Dwayne Schintzius and Andrew DeClerq.

That’s enough. My face hurts.

2. They still have Billy Donovan

This one is left over from when I was going to call this “Top 6 Reasons to be Glad You’re Not a Florida Fan.” Thought I’d get a little happy as we wind down.

Remember when Tubby Smith left (we’ll just say he left for the purposes of this post) and Kentucky went hard after Billy Donovan only for him to decide he’d rather coach in the NBA and then decide he’d rather not coach in the NBA? Really? I just wrote about it like 5 minutes ago. Anyway, we all though it was a failure of epic proportions when we had to settle for that other guy named Billy. OK, that was an epic failure. But, two years later when we all took a couple of aspirin, rubbed our eyes and realized we were still married to the wrong Billy, we tried again. And again Donovan decided he likes 104% humidity all year and spurned Kentucky’s advances. This time we settled for a guy who immediately brought us arguably the best recruiting class in the history of college basketball.

I remember thinking prior to 2006-2007 that Billy Donovan was a heck of recruiter, but a pretty mediocre basketball coach. The evidence abounded; top-flight recruits every year who seldom improved over time and ultimately lost to the like of Creighton in the tournament. Even the 2000 Final Four run (where they lost in the finals to Mateen Cleaves’ teeth) I attributed more to the play of Mike Miller than to Donovan’s coaching.

And then came the back-to-back national championships and I had to concede that maybe he was at best a step above mediocre. I mean, that team was unlike the previous Donovan era FU teams. They played defense. They didn’t have players who acted like they were getting paid by the dribble. They actually functioned as a relatively cohesive unit. But, considering Billy Gillespie has more NCAA tournament berths in the 3 years since, I am now writing it off as a fluke. He scored a once-in-a-career recruiting class and got them to stick around for an extra year – mostly because 3 of the 4 were the kids of former professional athletes. They probably didn’t need the money right away and knew that the NBA would always be there, but you can’t go back to college (at least not as a player).

Anyway, Donovan may prove me wring again. But I doubt it.

1. Gator rhymes with Hater

It’s true. I saw it on a t-shirt.

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Adam Horn

How to Make a Mistake You Will Regret for the Rest of Your Life

A Case Study

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This is Florida basketball.

Let’s be real, guys. Florida is the #2 athletic program in the country. They win national championships in everything from football to sports I didn’t know had championships. But here’s the catch: we’re the best at the one thing they suck at. We’re the Lex Luthor to Florida’s Superman, the diabolical mastermind who can outthink the otherwise unflappable hero. In fact, basketball is nothing less than an ugly blemish on Florida’s athletic program. In a university that falls between 1 and 15 nationally in nearly every sport, Florida basketball stands alone with men’s cross country and lacrosse in the “Not Ranked” category. When you attack Florida, you have to hit them where it hurts. Lucky for us, where it hurts is basketball.

To begin, let’s do a little story time. So you got a decent girlfriend in high school. She wasn’t the smartest, wasn’t the cutest — but hey, you had a girlfriend and, well, she put out. Two prom night miracles later, you were hooked. Then comes college. Puberty was kind to you, and when it comes right down to it this girl isn’t really in your league anymore.

So along comes the hot babe from a super respectable family. She’s been eyeing you in class for years, so you flirt around, convince her you’re hers — but when decision time comes, you pull out. So you crawl back to the high school squeeze. Then comes gorgeous girl from a super rich family, who’s older, more experienced, and looking to take a shot on the next hot young thing to come along. This time you go all in, you hook up… but immediately ditch her for the old high school girl, all because of two sleazy prom night memories you can’t forget. At this point, you’re probably saddled with the old girlfriend, who’s getting more ugly by the day.

This is the story of Billy Donovan.

Such a string of horrible decisions demands explanation. Donovan cited his family and his relationship with the Florida program as reasons for turning down UK and the Magic. UK fans cite Rick Pitino and thank God. However, I would like to submit a third explanation, something I will term The Quest for Basketball’s Tim Tebow, a quest that has stretched from Jason Williams to Dan Werner. I believe Donovan will not leave Florida until this quest is complete.

The biggest failure of Donovan’s career is probably the fact that Urban Meyer rolled out Tebow at a time when Donovan had already spent the first ten years of his head-coaching career scouring the earth for college athletics’ white messiah. Donovan’s best efforts have been frustrated by low talent levels, floppy hair, and generally bad basketball playing. He has also had difficulty finding a prospect with a moral compass to rival Tebow’s famous chastity (For evidence, see his first try, Jason Williams, who hates gays and Asians. Look it up. It’s on Google.).

In the end, all this lusting after basketball players who look like they’d be good at tennis if they were a few inches shorter has done is leave Donovan with a host of big white guys who are more Mark Coury than Kyle Singler. The best explanation I can offer for this phenomenon is that Coach K drops off his leftovers at Donovan’s doorstep pre-season. As an aside, I’ve been trying to figure out a good name for this esteemed group of athletes. “Coach K’s Leftovers” is descriptive but horribly clunky, so I’ve decided I like “The Beach Boys.” In case you were thinking Werner was the last of his kind, don’t celebrate too soon. We can look forward to two more years of Chandler Parsons (that guy who replaced Werner when even Donovan got tired of looking at him and looks like he grew up with posters of Matt Walsh over his bed) and four more years of the latest Beach Boy, Cody Larson — another PF. Somewhere Terrence Jones is holding a foam finger and grinning.

Wikipedia tells me that Donovan’s one “notable player coached” is Mike Miller, whom you may remember for being like Dan Werner, except good. Extensive investigation into what exactly makes Miller notable yielded the following: he looks like he’s feeling Chris “Birdman” Andersen’s style but hasn’t yet admitted it to himself, and he will be spending the 2010-11 season retying John Wall’s Signature Reeboks between quarters. I would like to start a rumor: upon starting his blistering hot career overseas, Walsh donated his abundant hair to Miller, hoping it would thrive in the NBA spotlight. The timing of the shifting haircuts is eerie. Tell a friend.

Even more eerie is the wild success of teams Donovan turns down. It took two rejections for UK to jump from mediocrity to glory, but the Magic immediately recovered from a half-decade of waffling below .500 to becoming a consistent .700 plus team and playoff contender once Donovan moved on. Because I have sincerely had enough of watching Rick Pitino’s never-ending downward spiral, I would like to suggest a surefire road to success for the Cards: offer Donovan the job and get turned down. I will guarantee an immediate 10% rise in winning percentage.

So let’s all thank Florida basketball for its history of generosity. Instead of hoarding its athletic program’s success to itself, it loans its own share of winning out to teams Donovan turns down.

Walsh is gay.

Author’s Note: If you ever find yourself looking to write a blog’s worth of hate speech on the Gators, do NOT count on a “but at least we can agree their cheerleaders are smokin’” line to break up the tension. A 10 minute Google safari wasn’t enough to hunt up conclusive evidence that the Florida cheerleaders are as hot as my instincts tell me they should be. In conclusion, UF: overhyped; UCLA and USC: above and beyond expectations. One wonders whether Florida’s reputation for women is based on vacationers rather than residents. But that’s another blog.

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Nathan Gower

Cheer-Up Gators: A (TOP SECRET) Open Letter of Unabashed Encouragement

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Dear Florida Fan,

Let’s cut to the chase: you can tell no one of this letter. If Kentucky fans found out that I was writing a note of encouragement to your fanbase . . . well, let’s just say that the chances of something bad happening to my family would be greater than the surface area of Alex Tyus’ forehead. Do we have an understanding? Good.

To minimize the risk of getting caught, we’ve got to make this quick and dirty — a get-in-get-out type of letter, similar to the Gators’ NCAA tournament appearance last year. So, in anticipation of the 2010-2011 basketball season, here’s a brief list of reasons why you should cheer-up, Florida fan:

1. Nick Calathes’ Senior Season

Now here is something to be excited about. The one that some call “Billy Donovan’s illegitimate Greek son” will surely be the go-to guy in 2010-2011. While you might not have much depth, skill, or hope to speak of otherwise, even a Kentucky fan like myself can’t deny his pure skill at the point guard position.

What’s that? Seriously? He went where? You mean he wasn’t even on the team last season? Huh. My sincerest apologies. It was an honest mistake; I guess with the likes of John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Demarcus Cousins, etc. coming into the league last year, it might have been easy to miss the headline: “Mediocre Point Guard Settles for Greece, Avoids Personal Ruin at Florida”. Okay, so you might not have Calathes, but . . .

2. You Still Have Billy the Kid

And what more could a basketball program ask for? I mean, here’s a guy who was the hottest name in college basketball, and turned down job offers from the likes of the Orlando Magic and the newest NBA D-League team, the Kentucky Wildcats. Unofficially, he even turned down Kentucky TWICE to return to Florida. Now, if you can’t get excited about that, then Joakim Noah can’t get excited about the publication of his new book: “Pencil-Thin: Rocking the New-Age Molester Mustache.” You really dodged a bullet there; I mean, can you imagine the nightmare that would have ensued for your team had Billy D. Jumped ship? You may not have had the luxury of crashing the party with back-to-back NIT appearances, and Kentucky wouldn’t have had to settle for John Calipari, who is obviously having a rough time trying to right the ship for the Cats. And even better, you can look forward to . . .

3. Building on Last Year’s Success

It might be hard to admit for most Kentucky fans, but it was quite impressive to see your program follow-up two difficult years with a 2009-2010 season that was marked by success by any standards: earning a 10 seed in the NCAA tournament and being ousted by the Fighting Mormons of BYU in the round of 65 (sounds much better than “first round”, doesn’t it? I’ve got your back, Florida Fan). But let’s not forget your many triumphs during the season as well. You managed to finish above .500 in the SEC (9-7), which was good enough for a fourth place ribbon in the SEC East. Also, in one of your meetings with Kentucky, you only lost by 8 points, which I think we can both agree is a success for your program given the chasm of talent between the two teams. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention your terrific 8-0 start to the season that had the college hoops world buzzing, which was only slightly shorter than Kentucky’s 19-0 mark to begin the year. Those are some mighty fine accomplishments — but you aren’t resting on your laurels; no, you can now look forward to . . .

4. The Excitement of Your 2010-11 Recruiting Class

With players coming in like (PF) Patric Young and (SF) Casey Prather (Rivals.com’s 27th and 71st ranked prospects respectively), you are probably already having day dreams about your triumphant return to the final four; and why wouldn’t you? While you may not be able to look forward to the return of the ultra-athletic (and ultra white) Dan Werner down low, those incoming freshmen with be able to join the likes of some pretty big names like . . . um . . . okay, don’t tell me . . . you know . . . those two short dudes who take a lot of threes. And don’t forget about the most important piece of your puzzle, your floor general, senior point guard Jai Lucas. Crap. I did it again. My bad. Okay, so you put me on the spot. But seriously, you guys are stacked. And besides, it’s not like any other SEC team has a recruiting class worth talking about, so you’re good. Trust me.

Hmmmmm. After giving a quick proofread over what I’ve just written, it looks like your situation might not be quite as good as I anticipated. But don’t worry. As any true Florida fan will remind you . . .

5. At Least You Have Football

And I don’t know of any true sports fan — Kentucky fans included — who aren’t looking forward to watching Tim Tebow return for yet another year of college football where he can once again attempt to prove to NFL teams that is really is a quarterback.

What? The Broncos? Okay, that’s it. I quit. You’re on your own.

Sincerely (and Secretly) Yours,

Nathan Gower

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Surprise Challenger:

Will Totten

Kentucky Vanderbilt Basketball

WHY DO WE HATE VANDERBILT?

Residing in Nashville, TN, the Vanderbilt Commodores are the only private University affiliated with the Southeastern Conference. The Commodores have enjoyed moderate success during their history of athletics, despite only fielding 16 athletic teams (6 if you dont count women’s sports). Noone will ever mistake the Commodores for a national power in just about any sport besides baseball, just as their Wikipedia page states, the athletic department “sometimes lacks the national prominence enjoyed by schools such as the University of Florida or the University of Kentucky”. Recently, however, athletics at Vanderbilt has taken a slight turn upward as the football version of the Black and Gold won their first bowl game in 53 years during the 2008-09 football season, bringing rioting nerds into the streets of Nashville. Moreso, the women’s bowling team won the school’s first and only team NCAA Championship in the 2007 season, and even the Men’s Basketball team has enjoyed recent success, annually losing to double-digit seeds in the NCAA Tournament. But is that why we hate Vanderbilt? NO. So I have compiled a Top 5 list of the things we (Kentucky fans) hate about the Vanderbilt Commodores.

1) THEY CONSIDER US RIVALS

This is personally what irks me the most about this pathetic excuse for an athletic program. For the extended history of the SEC, Vanderbilt was the doormat in pracically every single sport that matters, even when Kentucky was awful at football we could always circle the Vandy game as a possible win. So, in the mid-2000’s, when Tubby started recruiting “Big Members” through the hiring of a drunken cowboy to run the program, the Commodores ran off a couple wins against the ‘Cats and the next thing we know, VU apparently becomes our rivals. Ask any Vanderbilt fan (or anyone else who’s forced to watch their athletics) what school they hate the most, and alot of them will say Kentucky. The Commodores are alot like the younger brothers whos always getting beat up by the older brother, until one day, the older brother breaks his leg. Now, the young brother pesters the older brother endlessly, putting Cheetos in his cast and hiding the remote. Then once the brother gets the cast off, he proceeds to beat the hell out of Vanderbilt. You will never be our rivals.

2) MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM

They play basketball in a theatre, yet they still call it a gymnasium. Just because you throw some hardwood down in the middle of Opryland doesnt make the whole situation any less gay. The benchs in the endzones instead of on the sides give an awkward feel to the game as the sides of the court extend into about a mile of empty space. But, if they were going for a gymnasium that captures the social awkwardness of the undergraduate population, they certainly did so.

3) OVERALL DOUCHINESS

Whether its having 57 students arrested for rioting after the football team won their 5th game of the season against a team who didn’t make a bowl game, or pictures like this, or maybe even the football tailgate “Bro”, Vanderbilt students and alumni, like many private schools, have a general feeling of superiority over other fanbases. What they dont realize is that they’re not better, because their teams arent any good. If “douchiness” is in the dictionary, it should be accompanied with a picture of the entire Vanderbilt student section.

4) AJ OGILVY

Embodies everything we hate about Vanderbilt. An unathletic, slightly skilled, metro frat-boy looking, 6-11 Australian, who was considered the best big man in the SEC until Boogie came to town. Fell off the face of the Earth about 5-6 months ago, last reported seen at Sun Tan City.

5) ALUMNI

So, 3 of Vanderbilt’s alumni have won the Nobel Prize? Well, former VP and current crazy person Al Gore, biochemist Stanford Moore, and economist Muhammad Yunus, I do have one question for you. How much was your shoe deal worth?

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The Verditct

Joe – Your piece was a little long, I’m not going to lie.  Overall I enjoyed it, mainly because I love lists, but it could have been a bit more concise at points.  Along with that, more consistency on the length of each point on the list is a good rule of thumb when dealing with blog posts.  With the notable exception of your final point, where the brevity is the joke, of course.

Adam – You made me laugh, you made me cry.  Your piece had a lot of ups, but wasn’t quite able to sustain it throughout the entirety.  My first thought with your analogy at the beginning was ‘Jokes on this guy! Psh, like I had a girlfriend in high school.’  Then I thought, ‘eh, this analogy is going on a bit too long.’  Then when I got to the punchline I though ‘!!’ and had a hearty LOL. You kind of lost me with the Billy Donovan conspiracy theory, but I did like your dig at the Cardinals at the end by suggesting they could improve their fortunes by getting turned down by Billy The Kid.  On the negative side, you need to work on your flow a bit, I had a tendency to get lost reading it.

Nathan – To me, your piece felt the most complete.  While it didn’t hit as hard as some of the others, it didn’t have to.  Its points were concise, while the concept was funny.  I liked the sarcasm angle, as it can be difficult to pick on someone who is already so far down on the rung , so props on that.  Something you did well, and a lot of other contestants could learn from this, is that you created your own jokes instead of just rehashing KSR classics.

Will – I’m sorry, but this piece didn’t really do it for me.  There were far too many grammatical mistakes, and while you dominated some commas (a writing trait I hold in high regard,) it wasn’t enough to make up for it.  On top of that, many of your jokes were a little stale and honestly, a little juvenile.  And yes, I fully realize the hypocrisy of a KSR writer calling someone else’s jokes juvenile.  Mainly though, I just thought there were better ways to go with a Vandy hate piece than the direction you went.  Sorry brosky, just wasn’t feeling it.

GrannyCat – We just wish you wouldn’t ignore us is all.  Hopefully time can heal all wounds.

Final order

1. Nathan Gower

2. Joe Stone

3. Adam Horn

4. Will Totten

5. GrannyCat

Article written by Will Lentz