I was a freshman in the fall of 2003. My five falls in Athens (yes, it was carefully planned that way from the very beginning) were from 2003-2007. I saw a lot of great football games. I had some great memories, and few bitter pills. My first true road game was the Tennessee game in 2005 where buypropertyucheedawg and I decided at 8:30 the night before on the raquetball courts in Ramsey to drive to Knoxville, not having tickets be damned. We got free tickets from Granite’s dad eventually, and I only missed two away games the rest of my collegiate career (Kentucky 2006 and Vandy 2007).
I loved going to Jacksonville for the Florida game. In 2003, we stayed 18 deep in a crappy hotel in South Jacksonville. 20o4 and 20o5, I stayed with my girlfriend (future wife) who was in Valdosta. 2006 and 2007, we stayed in Jekyll. In 2008, I was gainfully employed, and had taken a few days off to go the LSU game the week before. I had made the tough decision that financially, I would live it up in Baton Rouge and make a fun trip to Death Valley. Since that trip is every 5 years and Jacksonville is every year, I decided that we should be responsible and not go to both in back to back weekends. Well, we handidly beat LSU and were in the Top 10 going to face Florida. I called 2008 pivotal-we just whipped the Gators the year before. We had one (ugly) loss, and so did the Gators. If we had beaten Florida, we would have wrapped up the East. Two top 10 teams meeting on the banks of St. John’s River was too much for me to overcome, so on the Thursday before the Cocktail Party, I bought some extremely too exspensive tickets and had a friend pick them up for me in Athens. I don’t want to tell how much I spent per ticket, but let’s just say it was over $100. I didn’t care; it was worth it by God.
We know what happened in 2008.
I was so pissed off that in 2009, I flat refused to go to Jacksonville. I held strong. I caught hell from others in our group for not going, and still do to this day. It has been my only missed game, but I guess since I didn’t go and everyone else did, I won’t ever live it down. But I was tired. I was tired of going down there, getting excited, having a fun tailgate, spending all this money, just to be miserable on the northbound drive home on Sunday.
I stayed at home on that Halloween and watched a team dressed like Grambling let turnovers do them in. I was disgusted. I did decide last year I would go.
Every year, I think we are going to win. In 2005, we were going to have Shockley, and then I thought JT III would be a special “Rudy” story. In 2006, I thought Stafford would pull an upset. In 2008, we had momentum, star power, and something to prove after getting embarrassed by Alabama. Last year, we both sucked so why not. As a matter of fact, the only years I thought we didn’t stand a chance to win in Jacksonville was in 2007-I thought we were going to get killed (maybe I should be down like that every time…).
I think we can beat Muschamp and Wies. But I am not excited about that game becuase more often than not, I am let down.
I am sure I am not the only who feels this way now, BUT to get some excitement about the 2011 Cocktail Party, I read this post by Bernie. Then I re-read it, and read it again. All he needs to do is throw some “Wooos” in there, and the Nature Boy would be proud. It got me pumped up for 100 days from now, and right now I am ready to get down there and gives those damn Gators the business.