Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spurrier Never Had Docket like One Zook Faces

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spurrier Never Had Docket like One Zook Faces

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette, Times-Union sports writer

Nobody should feel sorry for Ron Zook being the coach of one of the nation's preeminent football programs. But the first impression he will make against the unavoidable comparisons to Steve Spurrier comes in a season when the Gators face probably the toughest schedule in the school's history.

While having Heisman Trophy runner-up Rex Grossman is a terrific weapon, not many teams feature a schedule with the trifecta of national contenders Miami, Tennessee and Florida State, along with Southeastern Conference champion LSU, Georgia and at Ole Miss. It's probably the most difficult slate any elite SEC team has faced since Tennessee went 9-2-2 in 1990 despite playing four Top 10 teams -- Colorado, Auburn, Florida and Notre Dame. The Volunteers went 1-1-2 in those games.

Point being: Zook could do his absolute best coaching job, even as good as Spurrier might have done it, and the Gators may finish no better than 9-3. . . .

Speaking of Tennessee, enough angry fans bombarded ESPN with phone calls about the College GameDay commercial lampooning the school's hillbilly image to have it removed. The ad featured color analyst Lee Corso at an elevator and when the door opens, it's filled with UT fans. One is an obese woman in a shower cap who yells as a pig runs out the door, "Come here, Rocky Top!" The unflattering portrayal probably crossed the line of good taste. On the other hand, a school that doesn't want to get teased for having a country bumpkin reputation should consider removing mascots that include a blue tick hound and a Davy Crockett character. . . . With no more Blue-Gray game, what are Alabama and Kentucky's senior players supposed to do when football season ends? They might actually have to focus on getting a degree. …

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