For some reason, the luster of Ben Hill Griffith Stadium just isn’t the same without the man with the visor being on the Florida sideline. Still, even without Steve Spurrier, “The Swamp” remains the hardest place for a visiting team to win. In time, though, all good things must come to an end, and Florida’s dominance of the SEC East may be one of those things. Now, don’t get the wrong idea! The Gators still are a force to be reckoned with. However, gone are two of the “thorns in the side” that irritated many a Vols fan, quarterback Rex Grossman (leaving early to pursue a career with the NFL Chicago Bears), and HB Ernest Graham. When was the last time Florida began a season without a good idea of who the starting quarterback will be? Most fans can not remember.
After an 8-5 record in 2002, head coach Ron Zook is already on the hot seat - in only his second season in Gainesville. Things are negative enough that the coach had to set up his very own web site as a retort to the popular Fire Zook site which, ironically, is based out of Florida.
The last time Tennessee played at Gainesville, Clausen and Company came home happy, with a 34-22 win in 2001. Of course, the game was moved to December of that season due to rescheduling made necessary by the 9/11 attacks, and Gator fans are quick to tell you of every prominent player who was injured by then and could not play. This time, it’s the third game of the season. While the San Jose State Spartans fall into the line of “marshmallow” games Florida usually plays before facing the Vols, the other opponents, the Miami Hurricanes, may take enough out of the team that Smokey leaves The Swamp with a set of alligator luggage!
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