Florida coach Jim McElwain didn’t have anything harsh to say about the LSU football team Tuesday at the 2017 SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala.
This despite the fact that the Gators and Tigers have been the best of enemies in recent months, all dating back to the Hurricane Matthew debacle that ended with the Florida-LSU game last year being postponed, then rescheduled and moved, impacting the team’s scheduled game for two seasons.
Most recently, Florida made news by scheduling its homecoming game against LSU — a move that baffled some as teams tend to schedule homecoming against perceived easier opponents.
But McElwain isn’t caught up in this beef. If anything, he’s avoiding it entirely.
“Well, you’re going to have homecoming, right?” McElwain told the gathered media Tuesday. “So I’m good with whatever game it is. I just know this. I’ve heard about this, obviously, all day long. The first I heard about it was yesterday. And I’m loving the fact that you think it’s news.”
Regardless of McElwain’s apathy to the situation, certain Gators are taking notice. Offensive lineman Martez Ivey went as far as to say that LSU may have surpassed Florida State as Florida’s No. 1 rival.
“Ever since I have been a Florida fan it was all about FSU, and lately it has been all about LSU,” Ivey said. “Just because what happened last year with the Florida game and then the year before that [a game the Tigers won on a fake field goal]. The goal-line stop we had last year putting the icing on the cake. Everyone is looking towards the game coming up. Scheduling it on our homecoming makes it even more interesting for people to blow this game up.”
Of course, McElwain balked at that assertion, too. He brought up that it isn’t just LSU and it isn’t just Florida State. The Gators are also big rivals with Georgia and Tennessee and rivalries are what makes college football great.
But no one wants to hear that. People want to hear about the stakes. So here’s Florida defensive back Duke Dawson setting the record straight:
“We all know that it is the big rivalry,” Dawson said. “We have to go in each week and be prepared for any team we face. Last year, that was the big talk that we were scared to go up there and play them. That was not the situation at all. We just want to handle business.”
In case you aren’t already aware, LSU and Florida play one another on Oct. 7 in Gainesville, Fla. Mark your calendars. Now.