100 Days of Florida Football: No. 65 The 2009 BCS Championship
As a junior in college, I could not have been more ecstatic about the Gators playing the Oklahoma Sooners in the BCS Championship game in 2008-2009. The school I attended did not have a football team, which was perfect so I could still cheer for the Orange and Blue.
One of my best friends and baseball teammate had a surprise after Florida had clinched a spot in the title game: his parents had won tickets to the game in a raffle for Bull Gator members. His parents gave the tickets to my buddy who then asked if I wanted to go to the game with him. He didn’t even have to finish asking the question, and we were off to Miami to see the game a few weeks later.
There were three parts of the trip that stood out the most. The first happened on the morning of the game. We had stayed in a hotel down south the night before. I’m pretty good visually with directions and remembering how to get places, but I could not remember how to get back to the stadium, which we had passed the previous day driving.
After making a few educated guesses based on which way the sun was coming up and where traffic was heading, I turned down a street I thought was the right way. A few minutes later, all of the billboards and street signs turned from English to Spanish. It was awful because I had not taken Spanish since high school. We turned around and eventually found our way after asking a taxi cab driver parked in a CVS parking lot for help.
The next memorable part of the trip came during the pre-game activities. My buddy and I were tailgating and decided to start walking around after we had finished the food we brought. There must have been a hundred inflatable Gators propped up around the parking lot. We were going to get a picture with every one that we passed, but that ended after the third or fourth one.
A fan fest party was going on that had fans of both teams engaged in all kinds of activities. The bands were playing, booths were set up all over the place, and fans were getting all of their trash talking in before the championship game. Oklahoma fans may think they are tough, but they were completely outnumbered and outmatched for the loud and cocky Gator fans that were EVERYWHERE.
Once we were in the stadium for the game, it was obvious that Florida had the home-field advantage. It was about 75% for the Gators in the stands. I actually fell asleep at halftime because I was so worn out from all of the day’s activities, but I came around for the second half and to see the Gators win the 2009 BCS Championship trophy. I was wearing a hat that was too small for my head, so once the final whistle blew I took it off and threw it as far as I could into the crowd below me. Somebody took off with it because I looked for it afterwards.
The drive home was definitely much nicer after the Florida victory, and I can cross off the BCS Championship on my sports bucket list. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to go to a playoff game here in the next year or two and watch the Gators re-live those glory days. It was only a few years ago but it seems so long in the sports world.