Despite being concerned that the opening line on this game should have been 49 instead of 7, I still got goosebumps when my tickets for Tennessee-Florida arrived from FedEx today.
I've been to more UT games in Neyland Stadium than I can reasonably count. I'd peg a conservative guess at 40, but it's probably more. I've also been to several games in Sanford Stadium, an SEC Championship Game in the Georgia Dome, and I watched UT win its national championship in Tempe.
But I've never been able to go a Tennessee-Florida game.
In the 1990s when my UT education (football and otherwise) began, these contests were epic. People just coming around to SEC football this century watch Steve Spurrier and wonder what all the hype is about, but I'm telling you this: there may never again be a college football program as feared as Steve Spurrier's Florida program was in the 1990s. They didn't just beat you, they humiliated you, whether verbally or by hanging half a hundred on any defense, any time, including some very talented John Chavis defenses.
The lottery for student tickets started while I was in school, and it never went my way for this game. I certainly couldn't afford to buy tickets scalped or through a broker. So I never got to witness one of these historic contests in person.
I'll be attempting to make up for lost time by attending this year's game. And I'm trying to keep my hopes up against all evidence that I should temper my expectations. If the outcome of these games was certain heading into them, they wouldn't have to bother playing them.
So I'll be there, a little drunk and yelling my butt off. If it's possible for you to be there, I recommend you do the same.