The University of Florida is ranked #7 among all public schools in the United States. On top of this, it is home to one of the most well-known college football teams and fan bases in the NCAA Southeastern Conference Football Division. The Gators play at the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in the heart of the UF campus. If you have been to a game, then you know there is nothing quite like the roar of the stadium filled with 88,000 fans all singing “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty. If you have not been to a game, then you have never experienced the adrenaline and pride that flows through your blood as you scream in excitement at every touchdown made or the feeling of unity as you and the Gator Nation scream “Orange” and “Blue” from across the stadium. These experiences are something that every person in Gainesville should feel and see for themselves. Days when the Florida Gators play is not just about the games, but about coming together with friends and family to tailgate before. Whether the tailgate is under a tent, at the bars nearby, or just with a group of friends, there is something about the gathering with other fans as the minutes tick towards kick-off.
From the moment you get settled into your seats and see the first team kick-off, your heart won’t return to a normal pace until after you leave. Every moment of the game is so enticing you won’t be able to take your eyes off of the field. Each pass, play, and run will leave you standing in excitement for the next one. Each player on the Gator team has earned their spot on it and spends every minute of each game proving to you exactly why they earned it. The team, comprised of over 100 players, have taken the National Championship title thrice and the SEC title 8 times over the past 112 seasons in history. Even further beyond the team, Dan Mullen has turned the team around in the past three years to return to the top level in the college football world as head coach. In his first two seasons, he has won two consecutive top-10 rankings for the football team. These statistics only magnify as you watch the team from the stands. Their passion for the sport and unity as a team is reflected in every play on the field. And while half time might be a break for a boring show for other teams, the halftime show at Florida games is performed by the award-winning UF marching band. Their performance will keep you entertained through the music they play and the shapes that their band marches to form into. Whether you are with friends, family, or colleagues, the tailgate and football game experience is something that will live up to every expectation you have been told and live on in your memory until the next home game.
-Written by Skylar Carter