With apologies to my Auburn friends Frank Watson and Jim Black, but your so-called “Loveliest Village on the Plains” isn’t all though lovely.
That’s why I don’t like the chances of Will Muschamp’s team tonight, even though, mysteriously, Florida is a two-point favorite.
As far as Gator football history is concerned, it’s “The Ugliest Village on the Plains.”
Five reasons why the Boys In Vegas got this one wrong:
1. Jordan-Hare (formerly Cliff Hare) Stadium is a virtual graveyard for Florida, with tombstones of such famous quarterbacks as Steve Spurrier, John Reaves, Wayne Peace, Rex Grossman and Chris Leak. There’s a reason the Gators didn’t win a game at Auburn until 1973 — also haven’t won there since 1999 — and have beaten the Tigers on their home ground only seven times. The series in Cliff/Jordan Hare is 27-7-1, Auburn’s favor, since they started playing there 72 years ago.
2. No place is tougher to win for the Gators than Auburn. Think of it this way: They call Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge “Death Valley,” but Florida has won in Red Stick twice as many times and is 15-15 in one of the unfriendliest confines in America.
3. Nobody had a more spectacular flop at Auburn than SuperSoph JohnReaves, the NCAA passing leader, when he set a national record with nine interceptions thrown in 1969. The 38-12 loss was the lone defeat for Ray Graves’ team that year. Reaves followed the pattern of Spurrier, who in 1965 was picked off twice by linebacker Bill Cody from Orlando in a 28-17 loss.
4. And now, they are asking true freshman quarterback Jacoby Brissett to pull off a minor miracle tonight?
5. These games are always close — most have been decided in the last minute lately, and none in Florida’s favor. There’s a reason the Gators are 1-3 in their last four overall. And even though Florida fans will always have fond home memories of Steve Spurrier’s winning field goal in 1966, lest they forget that two of Spurrier’s No. 1 ranked team as a coach were knocked off by Auburn on Florida Field.
Loveliest Village? I think not. About as pretty to Gator fans as Little Big Horn was to George Custer.