BCS Championship: The View from Gator Country
DONNA GREEN-TOWNSEND: I'm Donna Green-Townsend in Gainesville, Florida, where Gator fans have a message for Ohio.
Unidentified Man #1: If you ain't a Gator, you must be a Gator fan. If you ain't a Gator, you must be a Gator fan.
Unidentified Group: Gator fan, Gator fan.
GREEN-TOWNSEND: The Florida Gators may not be favored to beat the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes tonight. Gator fans who've been to a championship before are hoping for an upset. At the Swamp, one of the favorite watering holes near campus, Gator fans can't wait for the game to start.
Mr. GAYLAND HALE(ph) (Manager): My name is Gayland Hale, the manager.
GREEN-TOWNSEND: What are your expectations for game night?
Mr. HALE: Mayhem. Win or lose, it's going to be crazy. I've been telling everybody to try and get here early so they can get a table, but it will definitely be standing room only. Emmitt Smith won “Dancing with the Stars.” We won the basketball championship last year. This is the year of the Gator, so go Gators.
Mr. AARON LINEGUARD(ph): My name is Aaron Lineguard.
Mr. DUSTIN ROBINSON(ph): My name is Dustin Robinson.
Mr. RYAN MOSELY(ph): Ryan Mosely.
GREEN-TOWNSEND: What does Monday mean to you?
Mr. ROBINSON: It means everything. It's life. It is pride and it is joy.
Mr. MOSELY: We go to every single game, we get crazy, and this is the culmination of our season. And we're seniors, so it's a culmination of our college career.
Mr. LINEGUARD: I think that this town is going to erupt when we win on Monday night.
Mr. CESAR STUART(ph): My name is Cesar Stuart. I'm a Gator fan, proud to be one.
Ms. KATHY BERFIELD(ph): Kathy Berfield.
Mr. STUART: It's going to be a good game. It's not going to be blowout by far.
Ms. BERFIELD: And we'll be close, but we got them.
GREEN-TOWNSEND: Even though Florida's new governor, Charlie Crist, was just sworn in last week, he's already bleeding in orange and blue. Governor Crist says he bet Ohio's new governor, Ted Strickland, on the game.
Governor CHARLIE CRIST (Democrat, Florida): We wagered Florida's citrus and he wagered several things: some chocolate Buckeyes, some skyline chili.
GREEN-TOWNSEND: Florida Gator fans are already making plans to storm the streets around the University of Florida campus tonight in what they hope is a celebration reminiscent of last April when their men's Gator basketball team brought home the national trophy.
For NPR News, I'm Donna Green-Townsend in Gainesville, Florida.
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