What Happened to Gator Nation By Rich Herrera @RbirichBy Rich Herrera

It’s been a tough few years for the Florida Gators at the swamp. The once proud Gator Nation has seen it’s dynasty crumble to rubble. Losses to lesser schools, booing the home team in the swamp, it’s been a mess for the Blue and Orange. The best recruits are driving by Gainesville on their way to Tallahassee. All of this have become unacceptable to Gator Nation. After losing to the Former Ball Coach, enough was enough and Florida had to part ways with Will Muschamp. Whether he quit or was fired is irrelevant, because the Gators are now irrelevant.

I know there are Gator fans ready to scream and question my parents marital status. Hold on before you go there. The Gators are one of the greatest football programs in the nation. Heisman Trophy winners have graced the turf at the swamp. They play in the most dominant conference in the country. Walk campus you will fall in love the place. You don’t have to look too hard to see the trophy cases loaded with so march hardware your head will spin. They have one the most loyal and fiercest fans in the country. But all of that means nothing to the next head coach in Gainesville.

I was talking with a friend about the state of college football in the state of Florida. The Canes are years behind their rivals up north in terms of facilities and recruits. The kids that stayed home to play for the U did so twenty years ago. I went to the Rose Bowl to watch the Canes beat down the Cornhuskers in 2002. If you are a blue chip athlete that is a sophomore or junior in high school right now you were 4 or 5 years old at the time. Not many 4 or 5 year olds remember things like that.

When the Gators were on top of the world and won two national championships in 2007 and 2009 those same blue chippers were 10 or 12 respectively. Do they vividly remember the great Tim Tebow or is he some guy you see on TV. Do they remember Chris Leak like you do, probably not. Think about what you were like when you were twelve. Did you like the same stuff you did at age 17 when you were ready for college.

In the world of college football recruiting the key to getting kids to your school is connecting with them and seeing what is cool to the high schooler. Why did Notre Dame leave Adidas to go to Under Armour? Why did FSU change its uniforms coming off a national championship? Why did the Canes wear their smoke colored jersey with orange helmets last weekend? Why do kids wear Oregon Duck gear when they couldn’t find Eugene on a map? Because they are cool to 14 and 15 years olds. Have you noticed the trend in college uniforms in the past few years. Every time an alumni says “what the heck are they wearing, I hate that uniform” Nike and Under Armour did just what the coaches wanted. They appealed to teenage boys. Who has the worst fashion sense on the planet? High School kids. If you doubt me go look at your high school year book, you dressed like you picked your clothes in the dark, but man did you think you were the man back then. So if you are a member of Gator Nation ask yourself this question, are you really cool to a 15 and 16 year old? What do you think? You have not won in 5 years and that is a lifetime to the average 15 year old. If you are honest you have to admit the answer is no.

So my advice to Gator Nation, get iPads for all the lockers for the football team. Change your uniforms to something outlandish. Then maybe some of the kids who keep driving by Gainesville will stop and give Gator Nation a second look.

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