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Terry Bradshaw joins Buddy Martin on Southern Pigskin Radio Network

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Informative New Show Debuts Thursday August 28

As football season arrives, so also does a brand new radio show featuring Terry Bradshaw and a team of seasoned football experts from the Southern Pigskin Radio Network, including longtime broadcaster/columnist Buddy Martin.

The show makes its debut Thursday Aug. 28, 6-7 p.m.  on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network and WOCA in Ocala/Marion County.

In North Central Florida, Martin will host The Southern Pigskin Tonight show weekly 6-7 p.m. Thursdays on 1370AM and 96.3FM. The show can also be heard on WOCA.com.

Teaming up with Martin are Tom Schmitz and Tom James from the daily Buddy Martin Sports Page show. They will go “In The Huddle” with Kevin Thomas, B.J. Bennett and Matt Osborne from the popular show Three And Out, heard weekdays 3-6 on 790AM and 103.7FM  in Brunswick, GA, 1400AM and 104.3 FM in Savannah/Hilton Head and 1350 in Blackshear/Waycross, GA.

Bennett is publisher of Southernpigskin.com and a well-known writer on college football, while Osborne specializes in recruiting and serves as editor of the website.

Bradshaw, the Emmy-winning Fox Studio Analyst and Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback, offers insights and predictions on the NFL and college football every week on the Terry Bradshaw Football Show segment, also hosted by Martin.

Leading media members, athletic directors, coaches, etc. around the South will also be part of the regular lineup.

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This Huskies-Gators Final Four matchup is about settling score, and a lucky bounce at Gampel Pavilion

The last team to beat the Gators before their 30-game winning streak is alive and is now in the way of a national title.  Remember that night in Storrs? How has this Gator transformation taken place since? Billy. Donovan.

Raise your hand if you truly thought, and believed, the Florida Gators would be going to the Final Four after the night of Dec. 2 at Gampel Pavilion when they lost to UConn because of a fluke rebound and subsequent putback by Shabazz Napier. Even Napier knew he was lucky. “I just felt I was fortunate enough to be in the right spot at the right time,” he admitted.

Fate owed one to the Gators and fate may have paved the way after the Huskies beat Michigan State, 60-55, for a trip to the semi finals at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Napier’s buzzer beater against a banged up Florida squad that December night is a bitter memory for Gator fans:

http://www.alligator.org/sports/basketball/article_803a998e-5be1-11e3-908a-001a4bcf887a.html

In fairness, Napier is a stellar guard whose briliance shone again in UConn’s 60-55 win Sunday, as he scored 25 points.

When the Huskies and Gators meet in Texas, the matchup between Shabazz and the SEC Player of the Year, most valuable player in the SEC Tournament and MVP in the South Regional, Scottie Wilbiken, may the one for the ages. In the game at UConn, a banged up Wilbiken had to leave the court with three minutes to go. You think he might be just a little psyched about payback on a neutral court.

Beating the last team to defeat them would be sweet and seemingly prophetic, but winning against anybody would be all Billy Donovan’s team needs to wipe out the memory of The Lucky Bounce in Gampel Pavilion.

Did you see this Gator rejuvention coming after Dec. 2 ?

The odds of it happening were something less than a perfect bracket, but admittedly almost lottery-like.

Show of hands please?

I must admit I didn’t raise mine either.

We should all agree on this, however: No matter if Florida wins over UConn or wins or loses in the national championship game, Billy Donovan has done his best coaching job ever and now deserves a place among the elite in college hoops — maybe right behind his mentor Rick Pitino and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.

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March 30, 2014 · 6:23 pm

Why college football’s future is a bit murky today

Putting another season in mothballs

Down in these parts, our lifestyle often centers around the “Five Fs”: Faith, family, friends, food and football. The latter is such a big part of our culture that it transcends sports.

I’m not sure of what the future holds for the game that some of us love so dearly. But as we wound down January’s college games and the NFL playoffs, pointing to the Feb. 2 Super Bowl in New York/New Jersey, some of us shook off the owies of a painful season (Gators), while others basked in the glow of success (Seminoles, Knights).

The discussion about football today, however, is not so much about complaints or bragging rights, but how the changing landscape imperils the future of the sport. The popularity of the game is massive, but the financial model is much like the bloated stock market: What goes up must come down.

There are some warning signs ahead – impending demands for paying players, a weakened NCAA governing body, diminishing stadium crowds and a division between the haves and have nots.

Recently in a conversation with one of the SEC’s brightest administrators, we talked about the deteriorating stadium experience and he assured me that college football was working on it as we spoke.

I was surprised to learn why many of the students were taking early outs:

“It’s because their cell phones don’t work,” he said. “Their culture revolves around being connected electronically and cell phone service is not very good in most stadiums.  So if you have 25,000 students, half of them will be gone by the half. Can it be fixed? It will be very costly – maybe $2-$3 million.”

Notice all those empty seats? How can you not? Truth is that the ticket buyers don’t impact the financial windfall nearly as much as the TV revenues do. However, colleges are deeply concerned about early-exiting fans and waning attendance as they count their money from the networks. So coaches – even Nick Saban of Alabama – went as far as to challenge fans not to leave games early.

There are other negatives to the stadium experience – overpriced tickets and fees, traffic and parking, hostile fans, etc. Apathy and disinterest also play a factor. And some of the have-not schools are mired deep in red ink, unable to keep up with the high cost of escalating coaches’ contracts and expenses. Eventually they will fall into second-tier conferences.

All of which portends of a national super-conference, with seven or eight league games and the rest against regional or national competition. A junior NFL.

At the same time, the big payoff for the upcoming four-team playoffs will ensure short-term financial success. But the field for eligible teams will ultimately shrink.

For the super conference, there are other streams of newfound money: Paying intersectional brand-name teams instead of cupcake opponents. Paydays are phenomenal.

Take Florida’s opening game against Michigan in 2017 to be played at Jerry Jones’ house in Dallas. That’s a $6 million payday, with about 10 percent expenses. Unlike a bowl, this is a one-night trip. The remaining $5.4 million doesn’t have to be split among the SEC either.

The NFL, meanwhile, has enjoyed a spectacular run of big payoffs — most-viewed programs on TV, emerging markets, etc. However, it has been bruised by injury lawsuits and the long-term damage looks even worse. That payout to the concussed players thought to have been settled was thrown out by a female judge.

Surveys show that fewer kids are playing youth football, held back by concerned parents. Eventually the talent pool diminishes. Then it’s everybody problem.

So maybe what we have today, at this very moment, is the golden age of football, to be appreciated for what it is now – even if some of our teams fell off the radar screen this season.

Once proud programs like the University of Florida have suffered setbacks and are in danger of having a tarnished brand. Not to mention that the Gators picked a bad time to slip to a losing (4-8) season as their state rival Florida State was enjoying perhaps its greatest year ever. And then there is BCS bowl winner Central Florida, sneaking up from the south to grab a piece of the pie.

Gator fans are waiting to see if new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper from Duke can save the day. So we lament that famous battle cry of “Wait ‘til next year!” There is a flicker of hope. Just remember: A year ago, Auburn didn’t win an SEC game, either.

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This Just In: Memberships now available for ‘Wait ‘Til Next Year’ Gators

Feeling miserable about losing to Georgia?

Depressed about going Oh-for-October?

Having a difficult time admitting that you are inspired by the words “Bowl Eligible” and that they actually imply achievement?

If this agony is too great and all expectations for 2011 are pretty much trashed, then reboot and sign up here for membership in the Florida Gator Wait ‘Til Next Year Club.

New memberships were made available for the first time in more than 30 years Saturday at 8 p.m. when it became evident that any hopes of a winning season in 2011 were about as likely as your 401K returning to its pre-2008 performance level, thanks to the 24-20 loss to the Bulldogs at Everbank Field.

After four losses and an epic four-game skid mark by these Gators big enough to wipe out an entire NASCAR field, it’s time to go back to the drawing board, abacus and calculator.

Six and six? Possible. Seven and five? Unlikely. Eight and four? Not going to happen. And worse yet, this season also has the potential of morphing into UF’s first losing record in 33 seasons.

What to do? Hang Will Muschamp in effigy? Declare Charlie Weis a bust and boo his graduate assistant son Charlie Jr. who whispered the plays in John Brantley’s helmet ear hole after getting them from his dad in the press box?

Or blame Urban Meyer, as one Orlando columnist keeps wanting to do?

Nah settle down — don’t get all lathered up. Remember those faithful words … “in all kinds of weather, we’ll all stick together.”

Come on it to the church of the Orange and Blue downtrodden. Put your arm around a Gator brother or sister and hum a little Kumbaya. Misery loves company and right now you can find plenty of that in the Gator Nation.

Go retro, you’ll find comfort in it.

Say hello to those who were cheering for the Gators B.S.S. (Before Steve Spurrier was coach.) Who know all too well the sting of defeat, and whose idea of a good season was seven or more wins and any kind of post-season anywhere was worth bragging about.

Back when such things as SEC Title and National Championship were mere mirages and not something Gator fans dare fantasize about.

Ask them about NCAA Probation and Fourth And Dumb, and losing 51-0 to Georgia in the rain. Insist they tell you about the days when they walked up Stadium Road barefooted in the snow, backwards, smiling all the way while the Gators of Bob Woodruff or Ray Graves or Doug Dickey were getting smote.

And dream the dreams of tomorrow – next year when your team once again becomes the apple of the Weed whacker Bowl scouts’ eyes.

Anybody can be an Alabama or LSU fan — it takes guts to be a Wait ‘Til Next Year Gator.

And look on the bright side: If it gets any worse, maybe ticket prices will start coming down.

On second thought, that’s a bigger fantasy than Muschamp’s 2012 Gators winning the BCS title.

Listen to Buddy Martin’s “Voice of Ocala” radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on 1370-AM and 96.7-FM WOCA, or WOCA.com

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Five reasons Auburn is the “Not-So-Loveliest Village on The Plains”

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.

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