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Billy Ball the perfect cure for underwhelming football season

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Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 1:15 am | Updated: 5:37 pm, Wed Aug 28, 2013.

Hangovers aren’t fun. At all.

Sure, what precedes the hangover itself is a blast. But the actual hangover is miserable.

Everyone knows the feeling — especially college students. And everyone has their own cure for it.

Some work, some don’t. But people still swear by them regardless of their effectiveness.

Since the beginning of October, this Gators football season has been one big hangover. Injuries, a 1-5 record, a struggling offense, a gassed defense and the same story week in and week out.

It has been tough to watch at times.

But sure enough, there is a cure for this football hangover, and it took the court in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday night.

The mediocrity of Will Muschamp’s first season, which will likely end with the school’s first six-loss campaign since 1987 (well before the majority of the students on campus were even born), will quickly be relieved by what Billy Donovan is putting together just across Gale Lemerand Drive.

Donovan and his No. 7 Gators, despite the 81-74 loss to No. 3 Ohio State on Tuesday, are the polar opposite of Muschamp and his unranked group.

Muschamp is a down-South country boy. He never plans on living west of Texas or north of Tennessee. He is calculated in what he says and what kind of information gets to the public about his program. He is controlling about every aspect of the football team.

Meanwhile, Donovan is a Northerner. His New York accent is just as prominent as Muschamp’s Southern one. He is also calculated, in his own right. But he’s also a lot more open about his team. He’s a salesman, after all.

And he will surely sell this football town on his basketball team this year.

Florida’s football players, while struggling on the field, have also struggled to show a semblance of personality this year.

The basketball team? Well, it’s bubbling with character, none bigger than sophomore Patric Young, who not only held his own against Ohio State’s big man, Jared Sullinger, but also finished Tuesday’s game with 14 points and 12 rebounds — his second career double-double and second in as many games.

But the differences don’t end with just the makeup of the teams; it extends to their styles of play, too.

This Florida football team is a run-based offense. The Gators’ ideal plan is to milk the clock and pound the rock with methodical drives. That hasn’t exactly been the case this season, with the offense limping to a No. 98 national ranking overall (and 66th in rushing).

The hardwood Gators, on the other hand, are going to be far more exciting to watch, win or lose.

They’ll be pushing the ball up the court, pressing the opposing team and bringing back Billy Ball.

Essentially, it will be everything this football season hasn’t been.

While the gridiron Gators’ season will be over after two more regular-season matchups and likely a pre-New Year’s Day bowl game, Donovan’s boys, regardless of what Tuesday’s result against the Buckeyes may indicate, have a chance to advance further than last year’s Elite Eight group did.

So sit back and take in this basketball season.

It will surely wash the bad taste football season has left in your mouth, and undoubtedly cure that hangover.

Contact Tom Green at [email protected].

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