The beautiful weather also made for great tailgating! It was even a little chilly in the shade, but a few minutes in the sun were enough to thaw out. I don't think I had a single bead of sweat the entire day, which probably hasn't happened since March. There was great company, great food and great fun all day. Campus was hopping with a sea of orange and blue with the occasional pop of crimson and black. There were friendly Gator chomps and "Roll Tides" thrown back-and-forth throughout the day.
And honestly, I don't think either side knew who had the upper hand in this game. Yeah, Bama was ranked 2nd in the country but Florida has been on the up-and-up all season. After a surprising and definitive victory over Tennessee, Alabama was the first team that might be able to handle Florida's dominating running game. And Alabama had been consistently strong all-around this season but could they handle the Swamp?
We had pretty good seats this week, about 60 rows up on the 20 yard-line. We were close to the Alabama section but far enough away to safely Gator chomp them. The stadium was filled to capacity, making for a great intimidation factor. That is, for the first quarter anyways.
As the game continued downhill, we turned our attention to a cute guy sitting in the next section over. And by we, I mean the females in our group. And by cute guy, I mean Ryan Lochte. A UF alum, Ryan is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and currently holds several world records. He often trains right here in Gainesville and likes to tweet about his nights out at midtown.
My little, Kristen, swam in high school and is a huge huge huge fan of Ryan. She was giddy with excitement when they announced him during a commercial break and stared at him from the minute he took his seat near us. During the second quarter, she finally made eye contact with him and he blew her a kiss! She motioned for him to meet us under the stands and he obliged!
She was shaking with excitement!
Michelle, Ryan & I. Notice the @ryanlochte shirt!
Being down by just 2 TDs, I had hope going into the 4th quarter that we could still pull out a W. But then Bama scored. And again. And that's when I knew it was over. I stayed for the whole game to show my support but it was a heartbreaker. I was bombarded by dozens of "ROLL TIDES!!!" on the way home, which just added salt to the wound.
Hanging out with friends all day and meeting Ryan definitely made it a great day. But damn, I really wish we had won. Only 3 more home games left in my senior year - I hope we can make the rest of the season count!