FOUR BITS: Foley, Roper, Tebow, ESPN

1 » In a question-and-answer session with the school’s website, Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley noted Thursday that his team and the Georgia Bulldogs will both wear colored jerseys during the Florida-Georgia game. “It’s just something a little different,” Foley explained. “To be honest, a fan suggested it. He sent me a picture of what they used to do when Coach [Steve] Spurrier was playing. He had a blue jersey on and whoever was tackling him had a red jersey on. It’s a unique rivalry and just a little different something to do. There is no particular reason. Georgia agreed and we agreed. At the end of the day, you’ve still got to win the ballgame no matter what color jersey you have on. I think it’s just a little something that makes the game even more unique.” No specifics were given as to whether this is a one-off decision or has been instituted for the duration of the current contract between the opponents to play in Jacksonville, FL.

Foley also notes that there is a “sense of urgency” in remodeling the Stephen C. O’Connell Center and that a decision on upcoming Southeastern Conference football scheduling (whether to go to nine league games) will come in June, which you can read along with some other less-interesting topics by clicking here.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Foley, Roper, Tebow, ESPN

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FOUR BITS: Spofforth, Harvin, Jenkins, Dickey

1 » Set to compete in the pool for Great Britain in the 2012 London Olympics, former Florida Gators swimmer Gemma Spofforth recently opened up to The Guardian about losing three family members within five years to cancer and how her despair got so deep that she had to pull herself out of it. Spofforth’s forthcoming autobiography Dealing With It: Five Years of Mourning details her journey including the lowest point of her life – one in which she contemplated suicide. “Is the concrete hard enough? I could jump right now. I could escape. I would not have to deal with it, wouldn’t have to think, wouldn’t have to worry,” she writes while remembering thoughts she had when standing on a hotel balcony in Australia. Still living in Florida, Spofforth “has been working as a volunteer on a suicide crisis line in Florida,” according to The Guardian, and has learned how to both deal with grief and “compartmentalize her emotions.” She is currently on course to earn a Master’s degree in mental health counseling, which she will complete after she competes in the women’s 100 meter backstroke at the Olympics in her home country of England. Spofforth is a former world record holder in the 50 meters and current world record holder in the 100 meters; she also won five NCAA titles.

2 » Confirming a statement former Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin made on June 25, in which he said that despite his ongoing issues with the Minnesota Vikings he would appear on time for training camp, a source close to the team told the same thing to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday. Harvin, who was on the field for just 58.4 percent of his team’s offensive plays in 2011, wants to see increased playing time and additional red zone touches. He is also hoping for lucrative contract extension despite the fact that he is under team control for two more seasons and could be franchise tagged in 2014.

3 » Denying that he is currently at odds with the St. Louis Rams about a pre-draft agreement he made to hire a certain financial advisor before signing his rookie contract, cornerback Janoris Jenkins said Saturday that he is ready to begin his first professional season. “I’m excited about playing for Jeff Fisher,” he said in a statement as published by Scout.com. “I have a lot of respect for him and he’s a great guy. He’s a highly respected coach in this league.” A Yahoo! Sports report that surfaced Friday noted that Jenkins was not yet under contract due to not meeting terms of a pre-draft agreement (that is not allowed by the collective bargaining agreement but was supposedly made) between Fisher and Jenkins’s agent Malik Shareef. Fisher asked that Jenkins hire Lou Taylor of Tri Star Sports & Entertainment as his financial adviser despite Jenkins already having Rich DeLuca of Merrill Lynch working for him. Jenkins has not made that switch even though he apparently signed one piece of paperwork that would have begun facilitating the change. “Contract talks are going fine,” Shareef told Scout. “We fully expect to have Janoris’s deal done soon.”

4 » It was announced Friday that former Florida quarterback Doug Dickey and running back John L. Williams will be the next two Gators players inducted into the Florida/Georgia Hall of Fame. The duo will be joined by Bulldogs QB David Greene and wide receiver Charles Whittemore for the induction ceremony on Oct. 26, one day before the latest edition of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

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FOUR BITS: Gator Day, Tebow, Georgia, Murray

1 » With Sunday’s Miami Dolphins vs. Denver Broncos game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, FL also serving as a Gator Day that will honor the 2008 national champion Florida Gators, Dolphins president Mike Dee said Wednesday that his team has sold 10,000 since Tim Tebow was named the Broncos’ starter last week. “The demand and interest in the game clearly has picked up since the announcement was made,” Dee said, according to the Palm Beach Post. In addition to a halftime ceremony honoring the team (which includes a performance by the Pride of the Sunshine University of Florida Fighting Gator Marching Band), there will be a pre-game event featuring Nat Moore, Louis Oliver and potentially other former Florida football players. Up to 20 Gators will be on hand including former head coach Urban Meyer.

2 » On a conference call with the media Wednesday, Tebow spoke about returning to Miami and the festivities surrounding the game. Though he said he appreciates the team being honored, he is not thinking about what is going on at halftime and is only concentrating on getting ready for the game right now. Tebow also said he’s excited that he gets to see Dolphins center Mike Pouncey and will be prepared to face Miami’s defense. “They have a very athletic defense. They have a lot of speed,” he said. “We’re just going to have to take care of the ball, be smart and ultimately execute.”

3 » The Southeastern Conference announced early Wednesday that two Georgia Bulldogs – defensive linemen Kwame Geathers and safety Shawn Williams – will be suspended for the first half of their next game for violations that occurred against Vanderbilt on Saturday. Williams – a starter – committed a flagrant personal foul, while Geathers was involved in a fight during the game. Georgia’s next contest is against Florida in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, FL on Oct. 29.

4 » The Gators are in the heads of at least one member of the Bulldogs, and that is quarterback Aaron Murray who admitted this week that he dwelled on his overtime interception to then-Florida free safety Will Hill. “I think the week after, I watched it five to eight times. Something like that,” he said, according to ESPN. “I watched it a couple of times a day for a while, and then throughout the offseason I watched it in the summer.” Murray attributes his poor performance in 2010’s contest due to excitement but believes that will be behind him this time around. “It’s a big game, so I was probably a little too juiced up,” he said. “Hopefully I got that out of my system last year and can go in there and just relax and play.”

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Top 10 for 2010: On the Field Moments of the Year

For as much as the Florida Gators were in the news off the field in 2010, the Gator Nation was making plenty of headlines on it as well. From game-winning baskets to displays of pure emotion, Florida experienced some unique athletic moments in 2010. Below are OGGOA‘s Top 10 On the Field Moments of the Year.

OGGOA RELATED: Top 10 for 2010: Off the Field Stories of the Year

10 » FLORIDA WINS INAUGURAL LACROSSE GAME (2/20/10)
When Florida decided it wanted to start another women’s athletics program, the University Athletic Association did extensive research and found out that women’s lacrosse would be the perfect fit. In preparation for their first season, the Gators and head coach Amanda O’Leary secured the country’s No. 1 recruiting class (according to Inside Lacrosse Magazine). All the hard work and preparation to get the team ready paid off on Feb. 20 when lacrosse debuted in the brand new Donald R. Dizney Stadium to a boisterous crowd of 2,114 spectators. Florida defeated Jacksonville 16-6 behind four goals and four assists from freshman sensation Ashley Bruns. All-in-all the Gators faced 16 championship-caliber teams and played so well that they reached the 2010 ALC Tournament semifinals. In just their second year of existence, Florida women’s lacrosse is ranked as the No. 17 team in the country going into the 2011 season.

9 » NEAR VICTORIES/HEARTBREAKING LOSSES (5/25/10 * 3/18/10 * 10/9/10)

It is rare for teams to go undefeated and even less likely that an entire athletic program can go through a season without its share of close losses and nail biting finishes. Such was the case for the Gators in 2010. On May 25, No. 3 women’s tennis was barely defeated by the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal for the 2010 NCAA National Championship. Stanford won 4-3 after Florida rallied when they were just two individual games away from being defeated. The Gators forced third sets in two singles matches; sophomore Joanna Mather took down her opponent but senior No. 65 Marrit Boonstra was not as lucky. Losing her first set 6-4, Boonstra fought back to even her match with No. 33 Mallory Burdette by taking the second set 6-7 (4). Down 2-0 in the third, she pushed ahead with a valiant effort to take a 5-4 lead but ended up losing her final three games, the match itself and the championship.

Returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons, No. 10-seed Florida got in a bit easier than some might have expected. Matched up against the No. 7-seed Brigham Young Cougars in the event’s opening game, the Gators fought hard but could not stop Cougars star guard Jimmer Fredette. Allowing BYU to jump ahead 59-46 in the second half, UF came back behind freshman G Kenny Boynton and junior forward Chandler Parsons. Florida missed potential game-winners during regulation (Parsons) and the first overtime (Boynton) and eventually fell to Brigham Young 99-92 in a double-overtime heartbreaker with Fredette adding to his game-high 37 points.

Though losing a national championship and NCAA Tournament game are both difficult, Gators fans will probably look back on No. 12/14 Florida’s shocking loss to the No. 9/12 LSU Tigers on Oct. 10 as the worst near-victory of the season. Wearing orange jerseys for the first time since 1989, the Gators came back from a 12-point deficit when freshman wide receiver Andre Debose returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, sophomore running back Mike Gillislee rumbled in for a touchdown and redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley completed a two-point conversion to sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. to cap a 10-play, 80-yard drive. All Florida wanted when its defense came out was a stop, but LSU put together a 62-yard game-winning drive that included numerous third down conversions and a converted fake field goal attempt on fourth down from UF’s 36-yard line with 35 seconds remaining. Back-to-back passes to WR Terrence Toliver (of 28 and 3 yards, respectively) and the Tigers left The Swamp with a 33-29 victory. Players have noted that the loss was a negative turning point in the season, one that may or may not have led to the team dropping their third-straight game one week later at home to Mississippi State.

Continue Reading » Top 10 for 2010: On the Field Moments of the Year

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Georgia’s greatest blunder came from sidelines

Against the Florida Gators in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, FL, on Saturday, Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray threw three interceptions including one in overtime that was a big part of his team losing the game. Georgia also let Florida – with a struggling offense – tear them up for 450 total yards of offense including 231 and four touchdowns on the ground.

However, in an age where actions are brought to light after-the-fact and football players are run through the ringer because someone happened to capture a heat-of-the-moment action on video, we come to you this Tuesday and wonder why coaches are not being held to the same standard.

Exhibit A

The first thing many of you will notice about that video clip is Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt calling a timeout in an attempt to ice and rattle Gators senior punter/kicker Chas Henry. (Hint: It didn’t work, Henry made a 37-yard game-winning field goal just moments later.) But if you look just a bit closer, you will see Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham wringing his hands around his own throat and screaming out to Henry, “You’re gonna f’n choke! You’re gonna choke!”

Grantham was so loud and so violent in his motion that Henry appears to have noticed it while on the field preparing for one of the biggest moments of his life.

Exhibit B

Just one year ago, after a video of former Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes appeared on YouTube showing him clearly jamming his fingers in Bulldogs running back Washaun Ealey‘s facemask but not hurting him in any way during a rough tackle, head coach Urban Meyer addressed the situation and suspended him for a half. The media laughed and ridiculed Meyer for his light punishment leading Spikes to release a statement and then voluntarily sit the entire game on his own accord as not to distract his team.

Remember: In football, if a player makes a great play and celebrates by even motioning his hand under his neck in any manner, it’s a penalty.

Yet more than 48 hours have passed since Grantham, a leader for young men in an amateur sport, gave this clearly obscene gesture and not only has no apology been provided (even simply to his employer – the University of Georgia), the team’s coaches and school administration have failed to address the situation and refused comment.

Where are the columns of outrage from Paul Finebaum, Mike Bianchi, Dennis Dodd and Gregg Doyel? Why haven’t Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon whined about Graham’s actions on Pardon the Interruption?

Hypocritical? Yes. Surprising? No.

Grantham didn’t hurt anyone. He didn’t put his hands on an opposing player or hold up the middle finger or anything of the sort. Nevertheless, he should be held accountable for his actions – an adult in a position of authority should know better no matter how excitable and important the moment.

No one is calling for Grantham to be fired or even suspended. He made a mistake – mistakes happen. People lose their cool. It is understandable. But at least have the decency to stand up like a man and apologize when you’re wrong. If you ask that from a 21-year old college senior, it is the least you can expect from a 44-year-old coach.

UPDATE: A response from Richt…though not nearly what one would expect. “I’ll just say that emotions run high,” Richt said. “People do things they probably wish they didn’t do, so I think that [the choke sign] was what was being communicated. I don’t think he’s necessarily proud of it. We’re just going to learn from it and move on.”

UPDATE II: Tuesday evening, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution caught up with Grantham who appeared to halfheartedly express regret about making the gesture but refused to provide any sort of apology or admission of guilt. “As a competitor, sometimes you get caught up in the heat of the moment,” Grantham said. “I wish the situation hadn’t happened. It was a tough, hard-fought game. They won it, and I’m ready to move forward and finish out the year strong.” Grantham also told the paper he spoke to Richt and athletic director Greg McGarity about the incident. Asked whether or not he owes an apology to Henry, Grantham said: “I’ve kind of basically said what I’m going to say.” Great example to set for your students, Todd.

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Week 9: Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Location: EverBank Field – Jacksonville, FL [Capacity: 84,000]
Weather Forecast: 77°F, partly cloudy
Time: 3:30 p.m. (EST)

TV: CBS/CBSHD
Sirius/XM: 121/141
Online Video: CBSSports.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Mark Richt
Record: 4-3 (2-3) Record: 4-4 (3-3)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Pick ‘em; O/U 49

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Georgia leads the all-time series 46-39-2 against Florida, holding a 40-36-1 advantage in Jacksonville. The Gators have won back-to-back games in the series, defeating the Bulldogs 49-10 in 2008 and 41-17 last season.
» Over the last 20 years, UF holds a 17-3 advantage over UGA. Under Meyer, Florida is 4-1 against Georgia since 2005.
» The Gators are now 22-30 in the red zone in 2010 with 20 touchdowns and two field goals. Earlier this season, Florida had a run of 15 straight scores inside the red zone including 14 touchdowns.
» Florida’s offense has seen 12 different players overall score a touchdown this year – including defense and special teams.
» The Bulldogs are out-scoring opponents 63-31 in the first quarter while the Gators are being outscored 14-26 in the same period.
» Florida is one of two schools in the nation (Nebraska) that has three players with at least three interceptions.
» The Gators have faced the SEC’s (at-the-time) leading rusher three times this season; each time, the player no longer led the SEC after facing UF.
» Florida under Meyer is 40-1 when holding an opponent under 16 points, 29-3 when shutting an opponent out in the fourth quarter, 37-3 when holding an opponent to 35 percent or less on third down, 37-2 when giving up two or less big plays (15-yard run/25-yard pass) and 31-3 when the Gators defense scores or creates three turnovers.
» Florida is tied for the national lead with 13 interceptions on the season. Five have been returned for more than 30 yards – three for touchdowns.
» Georgia has won three straight games (Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky) by a combined score of 128-45. The Bulldogs scored 41 or more points in all three contests. Comparatively, the Gators scored 31 and 48 points against UT and UK, respectively.
» The Bulldogs out-rank the Gators in three of four major statistical averages. Georgia is 55th in passing yards (228.4), 59th in rushing yards (153.8), 39th in points scored (31.5) and 30th in points against (19.1) compared to Florida being 82nd in passing yards (186.9), 75th in rushing yards (142.1), 62nd in points scored (27.6) and 26th in points against (18.7). Both defeated common opponents Tennessee and Kentucky, but UF has faced two top-10 defenses this year in Alabama (No. 2) and LSU (No. 10).
» Saturday’s game is the first time since 1979 that at least one of the two teams is not nationally ranked. In fact, both teams have been in the top 25 on 17 occasions when they have faced each other since that year.
» New Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity previously worked was executive senior associate athletic director of internal affairs under Florida’s Jeremy Foley; he was with the school from 1992-2010.
» Gators redshirt sophomores defensive tackle Omar Hunter and fullback T.J. Pridemore both attended Buford High School, as did a number of Bulldogs including Kolton Houston, Billy Johnson and Dallas Lee.
» Florida is unranked for the first time under Meyer’s. The Gators had been listed in every poll since he took over in 2005 until they lost to Mississippi State two weeks ago.
» Four players were inducted into the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame on Friday including former Gators linebackers Scot Brantley and Wilber Marshall, and former Bulldogs quarterback Zeke Bratkowski and linebacker Knox Culpepper.
» Florida will wear Nike Pro Combat uniforms for the Georgia game. They are one of 10 teams selected to wear a specially designed uniform by the company this season.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

FLORIDA
» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley…who had thrown 156 consecutive passes without an interception dating back to 2009, now has a 6-5 TD/INT ratio this season after throwing another pick last week. He has completed 125-of-208 passes (62.0 percent) for 1,266 yards and has a passer rating of 117.9.
» Junior running back Jeff Demps…who is averaging 6.5 yards per carry and still leads the Gators in rushing (482 yards) after missing a full game and being limited in three others. He was Florida’s leading rusher in its first five games of the season.
» Redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson…who has seen a dip in his average yards per game this season down to 50.4. He remains the Gators’ leading receiver with 25 catches for 353 yards with a majority of his receptions earning UF first downs.
» Redshirt senior WR Carl Moore…who continues to be clutch for the Gators each week. Twelve of Moore’s last 15 catches have been for first downs including two against Tennessee, four against Kentucky, two against Alabama, three against LSU and one against Mississippi State.
» Freshman QB Trey Burton…who set a school record and SEC freshman record by scoring six touchdowns in a single game against Kentucky. He has nine scores on the season, has played five positions and may see more time behind center with the team wanting to run the ball better out of the option.
» Senior punter Chas Henry…who is the end-all be-all of Florida’s kicking game now that he has taken over for junior Caleb Sturgis (back) as the team’s field goal kicker. Henry has missed his last four field goal attempts (one negated by penalty) after nailing his first two against Alabama.
» Florida’s secondary…which has intercepted eight balls this season but has been held without a pick over the last three games. Senior safety Ahmad Black (three), redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown (three) and junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins (two) and are leading the way for the unit. Brown returned one for a touchdown two games ago, and Black is tops on the team with 50 tackles on the year while also being the conference’s active leader in interceptions (11) and interception return yards (233).
» Black…who has led Florida in tackles four times this season: vs. LSU (13), Miami (10), Mississippi State (10) and USF (8). He is tops on the team overall with 60 tackles, including three for loss.

GEORGIA
» WR A.J. Green…who leads the Bulldogs in receptions (22) even though he missed the first four games of the season. Since returning, he has amassed 365 yards and four touchdowns, catching six or more balls three times for 86 or more yards.
» QB Aaron Murray…who has completed 121-of-193 passes this season for 1,766 yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions, earning him a 157.0 passer rating. Murray has passed for seven TDs and one INT in the last four games (Georgia is 3-1).
» RB Washaun Ealey…who is averaging five yards per carry on 105 touches. With seven touchdowns on the season, he has accounted for more than any other player on the team and also leads Georgia with 526 rushing yards.
» Linebacker Justin Houston…who leads the SEC with nine sacks after registering 5.5 over the last three games. He is also second in the conference in tackles for loss (14.5).

INJURIES and INACTIVES
Injuries
Active – Junior RB Jeff Demps (foot), sophomore RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring), redshirt senior RB Emmanuel Moody (thigh), redshirt freshman right guard Jon Halapio (finger)
Probable – Redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose, redshirt junior DT Jaye Howard

Inactives
Redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan (broken wrist), junior K Caleb Sturgis (back), sophomore LB Dee Finley (fractured collarbone), freshmen RB Mack Brown, WRs Quinton Dunbar and Chris Dunkley (hamstrings)

FLORIDA ON ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

The Gators and Bulldogs will be featured during ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast beginning at 9 a.m. on ESPNU (hosted by Erin Andrews) and continuing from 10 a.m. until noon on ESPN. Reporter Joe Schad will have an exclusive interview with Meyer and the show’s three hosts – Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit – will be picking the game in the show’s final segment.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » Week 9: Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs

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Florida Gators’ 2010 Nike Pro Combat uniforms

Click above to enlarge.

For the second straight year, the No. 3/4 Florida Gators have been chosen by Nike as one of 10 schools which will wear special uniforms for at least one game during the 2010-11 season. Just like in 2009, Florida will be outfitted in the Nike Pro Combat System of Dress, uniforms “engineered to provide superior protection and durability, while utilizing advanced fabrics and tooling to reduce weight.”

Florida’s version, which features an “alligator-skin motif used in the jersey numbers, pant, gloves and footwear inspired by [the] menacing Gator mascot,” will be worn on Oct. 30 against Georgia at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, FL, (and perhaps on other occasions if the team so chooses). The theme of the 2010 design is “PRIDE,” which is stitched on the inside collar of the jersey and located on the gloves.

Click each picture below to see a larger, more detailed version.

Alabama (11/13), Boise State (9/6), Miami (FL) (11/20), Ohio State (11/27), Oregon State (12/4), Pittsburgh (11/26), Texas Christian (9/4), Virginia Tech (9/6) and West Virginia (11/26) are the other nine schools who will be participating in Nike’s campaign.

Florida was represented Wednesday by former running back Errict Rhett, who led the Gators in rushing for four-straight seasons and played seven years in the NFL.

DETAILED HQ IMAGES: Standing | Helmet | Jersey | Pants | Gloves | Cleats

WALLPAPERS: Nike Desktop | Nike iPhone | OGGOA Desktop | OGGOA iPhone

OGGOA RELATED: Early details emerge about Florida Gators’ 2010 Nike Pro Combat uniforms

Photo Credits: Nike

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Early details emerge about Florida Gators’ 2010 Nike Pro Combat uniforms

OGGOA UPDATED: Florida Gators’ 2010 Nike Pro Combat uniforms

For the second straight year, the Florida Gators have been chosen by Nike as one of 10 schools which will wear special uniforms for at least one game during the 2010-11 season. Just like in 2009, Florida will be outfitted in the Nike Pro Combat System of Dress, which are uniforms “engineered to provide superior protection and durability, while utilizing advanced fabrics and tooling to reduce weight.”

The Gators’ 2009 uniforms were centered around the theme “Finish the Mission” and included Nike Vapor Trail 2.0 gloves with a Gator Head logo, a white helmet with a blue F, and a special blue jersey with unique graphics. Though the 2010 version will not officially be released until Wednesday at 10 a.m., OGGOA has uncovered some details about the uniform.

Florida’s jersey will feature an “alligator-skin motif used in the jersey numbers, pant, gloves and footwear inspired by [the] menacing Gator mascot.” It will be worn on Oct. 30 against Georgia at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, FL, and perhaps on other occasions if the team so chooses.

Alabama (11/13), Boise State (9/6), Miami (FL) (11/20), Ohio State (11/27), Oregon State (12/4), Pittsburgh (11/26), Texas Christian (9/4), Virginia Tech (9/6) and West Virginia (11/26) are the other nine schools who will be participating in Nike’s campaign.

Florida will be represented Wednesday by former running back Errict Rhett, who led the Gators in rushing for four-straight seasons and played seven years in the NFL.

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