Jacksonville — It was raining when I boarded the plane at Hartsfield-Jackson at 7:45 a.m. It is not raining here, unless you count sweat beads. Here it’s hot. Here it’s hot even by Florida standards. And, speaking of sweat …
Your genius correspondent managed to leave his glasses in Tim Tucker’s rental car at the stadium, necessitating another walk to/from distant Lot P. This marks the second time in 13 months I’ve left my glasses in a rental car, and the first was in Tempe, Ariz., where it was only 97 degrees and we were parked even farther away.
But enough about this perspiring writer. Let’s talk about other writers. The Florida Times-Union asked 32 writers, some of whom might actually have seen Georgia play in the past five years, for a prediction. (None of the 32 were from the AJC, you should know.) Thirty picked the Gators. The two exceptions: Matt Hayes of Sporting News and Scott Michaux of the Augusta Chronicle.
By tradition the Georgia-Florida crowd is split down the middle, but there seem many, many more Gators here this time. Perhaps Georgia fans are keeping a lower profile. Perhaps they sold their ducats. Perhaps they’re using the proceeds from that windfall to buy out Willie Martinez.
And I have to tell you, it has been a long time since I arrived at a stadium (with or without glasses) feeling as I do. I don’t see a way Georgia can win. I suppose Florida could fumble 10 times, but I can’t really see Florida doing that. And I can’t see the team with the better offense and better defense not winning.
But I have, as we know, been wrong before. I covered the Super Bowl between the Rams and the Patriots, in which St. Louis entered with the better offense and defense. I picked the Patriots to lose 42-3. They won 20-17. So I guess stranger things have happened. But not many, I submit.
With that, the floor is open for your comments and observations and contributions to the Free Willie Fund. I’ll be here all day, unless I feel the need to walk back across the parking lot and sweat through my shirt again.