*The Sideline Report is a weekly blog I write for GatorBait.net.
If you happened to watch a touchdown or two of the Vanderbilt game this past weekend, you probably didn’t watch much of the game. It was more than a stomping for the Gators - it was a joke. Not only to the team, but to the media covering the game.
Not only were the sidelines crowded with dozens of dancers/cheerleaders, but the stadium looked like a high school - making for terrible pictures and a boring afternoon.
By the second quarter, instead of intently focusing on game-changing plays, photographers were eating cotton candy in the end zone waiting for the pain to cease.
To be fair, Vanderbilt is not a school with a stadium of SEC caliber. When compared to The Swamp, Death Vally or Bryant-Denny Stadium, Vanderbilt Stadium looks like something you would take your 6-year old son to play peewee football.
Urban Meyer said in the post-game press conference that the coaching staff was already preparing for the South Carolina game by halftime. The photographers on the sidelines were preparing for the USC game before the first play of the game.
Walking onto a field before a game should be thrilling; it should take your breath away and instill fear in the opposing team. No other stadium has done this like Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium, and no other stadium did this so poorly as Vanderbilt. The Swamp comes in the top 5 of stadiums in the SEC that have this affect on visitors emotions, but nothing compares to the dream-crushing power that the Crimson Tide has on an opposing team.
In Vanderbilt’s case, there were more Gator fans than Vanderbilt fans. The exact opposite atmosphere of a Death Vally or Swamp happened. In fact, by the end of the game, Florida fans were cheering for Vanderbilt to score so they could get 14 points on the board for a free taco giveaway.
Looking ahead to this week’s game in The Swamp, Florida fans should have taken notes in Tuscaloosa, because it will take every ounce of effort by the team and fans to get a win against Steve Spurrier.
Gone are the 100+ degree days of September noon games in The Swamp. The advantage for Florida will have to be the atmosphere, which is something The Swamp hasn’t seen since Spurrier was coaching on the other side of Florida Field.
See you on the sidelines,
*You can follow more of my photos and blog entries on my website stevejohnsonmedia.com or on Twitter @sjohnsonmedia.