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Everybody's target

While Florida holds dual national championships in football and basketball, other schools are inspired to work that much harder to beat them in every other arena.

By ANTONYA ENGLISH
Published January 25, 2007


GAINESVILLE - The slogan goes: "It's great to be a Florida Gator," but lately it could be modified to say it's also great to hate the Gators. Or at least it's great to go after them - hard. It seems that Florida's dual national championships in football and basketball have put a bull's-eye on the backs of the rest of the Gator programs. Everybody wants to beat the Gators. In anything.

By the numbers

The good news for Florida fans is they have two national champions. The bad news? Winning isn't cheap. Just as basketball ticket prices increased this season, so, too, will football.

Actually, according to ticket manager Bill Holloway, the increase has nothing to do with winning it all; the increase was approved by the board in December.

Effective with the 2007 season, the seven-game season tickets will cost $224 each, increased from $196. Season-ticket holders and boosters will pay $32 for each game ticket when purchased as season tickets, a $4 increase. Individual single-game tickets will increase from $35 to $40 each. Student tickets will remain the same: $10 for individual tickets, $70 per season.

"Everyone we've swum (against) the week before they were awful, the week after they were awful," said Gregg Troy, men's swimming and diving coach. "But when they swam against us they were really good. I think that's relevant to football and basketball (being) such high-profile sports, and (UF) winning the All-Sports Trophy, if you're coaching at the University of Florida and you're (competing) in the SEC, you're getting everyone's best shot every time you hit the blocks."

Gymnastics coach Rhonda Faehn has the No. 1 team in the nation, so she knows the stakes are higher each time they compete.

"I think so," she said when asked if the Florida name and ranking make opponents want to beat them more. "I just think that's natural."

Apparently it is now.

2006 ticket-price comparison*
How the Gators' price ($35) compared to other SEC teams:
Alabama $60
Tennessee $50
Auburn $50
LSU $45
South Carolina $40
Vanderbilt $40
Arkansas $35
Mississippi State $35
Georgia $32
Mississippi $30/$40/$45
Kentucky $29

Others of note:
Ohio State $59
Clemson $55
Penn State $55
Michigan $55
Oklahoma $50/$70
Nebraska $48/$65
Florida State $48
Miami $45/$50/$80

* Individual single-game prices last season