Dooley’s Dozen: 12 reasons why this isn’t the low point for Florida football

Every time we get to this point in the season, I remind myself that before the season I tried to remember that old Danny O’Keefe song.

“Some gotta win, some gotta lose.

Good time Charlie’s got the blues.”

The reason I bring this up is that every game has a winner and a loser, and the loser is the one with the blues unless it is Florida State.

Unfortunately for the Gator Nation, Florida’s football team lost seven times this season and the blues never really go with orange when they are this kind of bad.

Which brings me to this point – are the Gators scraping their backs against the sand in a limbo contest? You know, how low can you go?

Well, 5-7 is more than just 5-7. There were 22 other Power 5 teams to lose seven games because, well, some gotta lose.

But Florida’s 5-7 is different because it was the first time in the history of the program Florida has lost seven games for three straight years.

Making it a new low.

Yeah, but it’s not the lowest. Too much bad history awaits you in this Dooley’s Dozen, 12 lower points in the history of Florida football.

The boys from Statesboro

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Sorry to bring it up but this isn’t for the faint of heart.

Florida’s 26-20 loss to Georgia Southern included teammates (and future NFL starters) Jonotthan Harrison and Quinton Dunbar blocking each other, the Eagles completing the same number of passes as the group The Eagles completed in the game (zero) in what was generally considered the worst loss in the history of the program.

A 21-month visit from the NCAA

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Like a mother-in-law who stays too long, when the NCAA was finished investigating Charley Pell they found 107 violations (including spying since Cholly was ahead of his time) and 59 were eventually proven. Florida went on double secret probation and while it was the best of times in some ways, UF having to give back its SEC title trophy was a low blow.

The bloody mess

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Hambrick and Anthony Riggins were playing cards on the bus on New Year’s Eve 1994 as they pulled up to the Superdome for a special dinner. An argument turned into a fight in the dining room, and utensils and broken glass were used as weapons.

Players who were there have told me there was blood and bits of glass in their food. It was a bad deal.

The flag game

AP Photo
AP Photo

I don’t want to get political here, but when you think back to Florida playing in the 1962 Gator Bowl, you have to mention that the Gators wore Confederate flags prominently on their helmets. One team was de-segregated and the other team wouldn’t be for eight more years.

The Florida Flop

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Gator fans still try to justify why the team fell to the ground (all except safety John Clifford) to allow Miami to score in the 1971 game. They got the NCAA passing record for John Reaves, but there is a reason why Miami hates Florida so much and this is the big one.

Then again, these guys had been through an awful lot.

The win that really was not

James Gilbert/Getty Images
James Gilbert/Getty Images

You might be expecting some of Florida’s worst losses in here, but the truth is any loss that happens in a bowl game and especially in a national title game cannot be considered a low point. Celebrating a win over Samford when you gave up 42 points to an FCS school in the first half was the beginning of the end for Dan Mullen.

It was humiliating for Gator fans.

You knew this was coming

Brad McClenny/Gainesville Sun
Brad McClenny/Gainesville Sun

Sorry, but any time you are listing embarrassing moments in Florida football history, you have to include the shoe throw by Marco Wilson. That, and the way Mullen pooh-poohed the importance of the LSU game combined for a miserable foggy night in the Swamp.

Take a card, any card

Jim McElwain
AP Photo/John Raoux

Because with Jim McElwain, there were plenty. Whether it was the shark picture or the death threats or the way he was constantly trying to antagonize his bosses AND the fan base took Gator fans to a new place of despair.

Especially when they finally cut him loose and Florida didn’t even try the rest of the season.

A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images
A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The Zooker spoke recently to the Gainesville Quarterback Club and laughed about it. But it was the beginning of a trend starting websites like that one. And it was embarrassing to disparage a new coach whose record was 0-0.

Eventually, the internet won that battle.

That year Florida won zero times

AP Photo/Gene Smith
AP Photo/Gene Smith

It’s not like it had never happened, but certainly not when you had 11 opportunities to win just one game. I remember being on the field when Florida was lining up for the game-winner against Georgia Tech. It was blocked. Hence, the one tie in the 0-10-1 season of 1979.

Makes 5-7 look like a revival.

The not-so-super seniors

Foster Marshall, Jr./Florida Times-Union
Foster Marshall, Jr./Florida Times-Union

When Reaves, Carlos Alvarez and Tommy Durrance were sophomores, Florida went 9-1-1. At that point, it was arguably the best team in Florida history. Then Dickey became the coach and by Year 2 managed to go 4-7 with Reaves running the option and Carlos Alvarez getting suspended for trying to form a player’s union.

It was not a good time to be listening to Otis Boggs.

I think these things happened

Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports
Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

But it’s difficult to find anything about them.

In 1964, Florida apparently wore stickers on their helmets during practice that read “Never, FSU, Never” and then proceeded to lose to the Seminoles for the first time ever. And I remember someone painting “Dump Dickey” on Florida Field and they bleached it off before the 1978 Miami game but you could still see it on the field. And he was dumped.

I’m pretty sure they happened, but either way makes for great stories.

Read more

ESPN’s FPI ranking plus other data after regular season end for Florida

Gators near bottom in The Athletic’s college football stop rate rankings

Three-star defensive lineman recommits to Florida Gators

Four-star DL from Gainesville backs off commitment to Florida

What the AP Poll looks like after conference championship weekend

SEC schools in US LBM Coaches Poll after conference championships

USA TODAY Sports’ college football re-rank after championship weekend

Florida football’s final regular-season ranking per The Athletic

Florida’s sophomore defensive lineman to enter transfer portal

Coveted in-state ATH-DB recruit includes Gators among top schools

Five-star Florida defensive lineman commit talks coaching changes


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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire