Countdown to Kickoff
This was the scene behind Gainesville bars located on University Avenue. Beer trucks unloading dozens of cases of drinks for tomorrow's game. At the Salty Dog Saloon, bartender Mike Connors remembers the night Gator football took home the title two years ago.
"The whole time like people are running pandemonium out back," said Connors. "People jumping over things. It was fun everybody had a good time even the guys that were working and stuff. We all just went nuts."
Like many bars, the Salty Dog will open its doors at 10 a.m.
"For a National Championship like this it's basically going to be all Gator fans," said Connors. "So I think everybody is in a pretty good mood. Unless we lose, then who knows what's going to happen."
Authorities are also getting ready. This afternoon representatives from various law enforcement and city agencies met to discuss plans for Thursday.
"We're trying to manage the crowds that we know are going to be out there," said GPD Lt.Mike Schibuola. "One for the celebration watching the game at the O'Connell Center and the potential of a celebration of another Gator championship. So our main focus is controlling those crowds and making sure everyone has a safe night."
They also want to avoid another tragedy, like the one in which GPD Lieutenant Corey Dahlem was killed by a drunk driver during a celebration nearly two years ago. GPD headquarters will house an emergency operations center, with all agencies in attendance.
"That way we can coordinate all our activities on that night to make sure we're all on the same page and doing the best we can do," said Lt. Schibuola.
Until game time there will be one thing all fans are planning for, a Gator victory.
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