Jim McElwain. (AP)
What on earth are the Florida Gators thinking? They recently released a video promoting their new $17 million indoor practice facility. That’s fine and all, but at the 1-minute mark, they casually throw in the following sentence while going through their spiel:
“The playing surface will be synthetic field turf, the same turf the Gators will be competing on in the SEC Championship game.”
Say what? The Gators are coming off a disastrous 2014 campaign that saw them relegated to the Birmingham Bowl. Their coach was also fired.
So yes, the Gators will be playing on synthetic field turf. And yes, the SEC Championship game’s host site, the Georgia Dome, also uses synthetic field turf. And yes, whichever two teams make it to the conference title game will be playing on that turf. But in conclusion, it might not be the Gators any time soon.
Now granted, they don’t say which year they’ll play in the title game, so maybe this is some kind of blanket statement that applies to any given season. After all, the purpose of the video is to promote the new facility, not to declare immediate success in the Jim McElwain Era.
Indoor facilities have become all the rage for college football programs as of late. It seems every major school has been adding one. In the game of recruiting, it comes down to selling prospects on what they can offer. They can’t offer money, but they can offer shiny new toys like a practice facility or a weight room. At this point, if you don’t have an indoor facility to sell to a top recruit, you might as well hold practice in the parking lot as far as the recruit is concerned.
The Gators will have that shiny new toy with the practice facility. And it will help them in the recruiting game to land the prospects that could get them to an SEC title game.
It just wont help them in 2015.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com