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      Smack Zone — Florida football

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      It's Great ... To Be ... a Flor-i-da Gator Again

      [caption id="attachment_1140" align="alignright" width="474"]Jim McElwain The Jim McElwain Era at Florida is off to an auspicious start. The Gators are back in the AP top 25 for the first time since 2013, and are poised for a game with Ole Miss that has national title implications. Seems like old times ...[/caption] Β  By Erez Ladetzky, SMACK ZONE contributor After Florida’s wild, last-minute victory against Tennessee Saturday at the Swamp, the Gators have re-entered the AP poll as the No. 25 team for the first time since 2013. Making room for the Gators, Oregon dropped out of the AP for the first time since 2009 after getting whooped at home by Utah. The days of Tim Tebow leading the Gators to double-digit wins are over. Outside of All-America defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III, there are not too many potential first-round NFL picks on this Gators team. This team probably won’t win the national championship any time soon, but returning to relevance is the next step. That step was taken with a crazy victory over the Vols on Saturday. Tennessee did the most Tennessee thing possible, blew ANOTHER double-digit lead to lose a heartbreaking game. This time, the Vols had a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter and STILL managed to lose this game. Florida was set up with fourth and 13 with just under two minutes to go and down by 6. Not only did the Gators convert, they scored a TD on that play to take a 1 point lead. Vols coach Butch Jones is feeling the heat on his seat right about now. Tennessee drove the field to set themselves up for a last second field goal, and came inches away from ending UF’s dominance over them. Jones did a little, very brief, wishful thinking celebration when he thought the field goal was good. That was just kind of sad, actually. Florida heads into October undefeated, and facing a brutal schedule. Who thought Ole Miss-UF would have national championship implications? We sure didn’t. But next Saturday, Florida hosts Ole Miss in a battle of ranked, undefeated SEC teams. Ole Miss goes to Gainesville as the No. 3 team in the nation, and has playoffs on its mind. The Gators can make a huge statement with a victory Saturday. Not only will it help them gain confidence heading into the meat of their conference schedule, but it would be a story book start to the Jim McElwain era. Not too many people counted on Florida to play meaningful games in October this year, but that is what they will do. Another bonus for Florida: FSU dropped a spot in the AP poll to No. 11 after not playing last weekend. Not a bad day to be a Florida Gator. But just as a friendly reminder to the Gators that things can go South quickly in this game, here's a Vine clip of receiver C.J. Worton taking one off the gourd during Saturday's game:


      If it's UF-UT, the Spirit of Spurrier Always Prevails

      Florida hosts the University of Tennessee Saturday. Once upon a time, that meant Steve Spurrier would be in his element. The undisputed king of college football smack cut his teeth at UF on former UT coach Phillip Fulmer's backside: "You can't spell Citrus [Bowl] without U-T." He made mincemeat of Peyton Manning. "I know why Peyton came back for his senior year. He wanted to be a three-time star of the Citrus Bowl." Spurrier's swagger at Florida always seemed calculated to give the Vols an inferiority complex. It worked, you know: Prior to coming to South Carolina, he was 9-4 against Tennessee -- including five in a row in 1993-97. The Ole Ball Coach even turned the non-existent rivalry between South Carolina and the Vols into something. Since taking over the Gamecocks, Spurrier is 5-5 against UT; before he came to Columbia, South Carolina was 2-19-2 all-time against the Vols. But no one outside of Knoxville and Central South Carolina cares about Gamecocks-Volunteers. This is about the Gators and the Vols, and about Spurrier's delicious habit of smacking down his old rivals. Which brings us to this week. Florida-UT no longer carries the luster it once did. The national title is not on the line this weekend. The Gators will turn the Swamp blue tomorrow, but so what? It's just not the same as when Spurrier prowled the sideline, scowling and chucking his visor and generally wearing his arrogance like a comfortable old pair of boots. Let's revisit some of the all-time great moments in Spurrier history, shall we? It'll probably be more entertaining that tomorrow's UF-UT game -- unless you're really into blue. WATERMELON [caption id="attachment_1095" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Steve Spurrier That is a MIGHTY good watermelon.[/caption] NEARLY THREW IT [caption id="attachment_1096" align="aligncenter" width="443"]He wanted to throw it. See? He does have self-control. He wanted to throw it. See? He does have self-control.[/caption] DEAL WITH IT [wpvideo qGkhPqsX] SO ... YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE? [caption id="attachment_1100" align="aligncenter" width="360"]Yes. YES! Yes. YES![/caption] CAPTION THIS [caption id="attachment_1101" align="aligncenter" width="267"]I betcha I could win a Super Bowl in Washington ... I betcha I could win a Super Bowl in Washington ...[/caption] STILL GOT IT [youtube]