There's All Different Kinds Of Hell

And Florida football is in one of them.

In developing The Seventh Circle Podcast, we’ve set out a goal that we hope is clear — to discuss the many and varied ways sports fandom puts us in a hell of our own making. Sometimes the fanbases we’ll cover will be obvious ones. (There’s a reason we started with Cleveland). Other times, you might think “wait, what do those jerks have to complain about?”

The University of Florida Gators football team might fall into that latter category, having won three national championships in the last 25 years. If you’re a fan of a team that hasn’t won anything in decades, you might blanch at the idea that Gators fans have suffered. If you’re a Gator fan, though? You might feel very differently.

You see, there’s different kinds of sports hell. There’s the obvious one, of abject failure and heart-ripping defeats — the brand you’d associate with places like Cleveland, Atlanta, Seattle, Buffalo. There’s the hell of apathy and irrelevance — we discussed this on the Tampa episode, where the Rays’ consistent success is met with utter indifference, empty seats, and threats of relocation. There’s the hell of winning so much that anything less feels worthless, as demonstrated by those spoiled monsters in Boston.

And then there’s the hell of achieving great success and wondering if you’ll ever get back there again.

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Florida, irrelevant for decades, became a dominant force under Steve Spurrier in the ‘90s and Urban Meyer in the ‘00s. Was it a global shift, something that could represent a new normal? Or was it a historical aberration, abetted by certain specific circumstances (among them, timely downturns by Alabama and Georgia) that may be hard to ever replicate again? After disastrous tenures by the utterly inept Will Muschamp and the completely forgettable Jim McElwain, Florida fans have to wonder if they’re going to be consigned to the hell of the maybe-they’ll-be-very-good-but-never-great-again, along with Nebraska, Tennessee, and Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan.

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Spencer Hall, Florida grad, host of the Shutdown Fullcast podcast and founder of Every Day Should Be Saturday joins us this week for a discussion of the peril and pain this program finds itself in.

We discuss!

  • How Florida football serves as a proxy for the decline of American empire against impossible standards of success

  • How both Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain were bad coaches, but only one of them was really weird about it

  • How the triple-option offense is the chosen offense of The League of Shadows, arising periodically to destroy civilizations that have become beyond repair

  • How 2012 Florida football was a house that looked great in the online listing and definitely has a mold problem

  • How South Carolina can watch you get sick halfway through dinner and ask if they can finish that if you’re not gonna

Thanks for listening, and we’ve got a great slate of episodes coming up. If you’ve got any sports misery you’d like to share with us, hit our voicemail line at (502) 509-4745. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @CircleSevenPod, and please, carve the link into any school desks or bar bathroom walls you’re near.