Times staff writers Izzy Gould and Joey Knight, who agree on the best locales for a pregame meal but little else, argue which is the better North Suncoast matchup tonight — Gulf-Ridgewood or Nature Coast-Pasco (and you thought Biden-Palin was a significant debate).
The way I see it, Gould, you've maxed out the throttle on your hype machine a week early. Pasco-Zephyrhills, now that's a game to promote. Heck, the rivalry's nearly as old as John McCain, and will be rife with mutual animosity and district implications.
But Nature Coast-Pasco? My Google account is older than that series.
So both teams are undefeated. Big whoop. In the first week of October, that means little. On the North Suncoast, home to zero playoff wins the past two seasons, it means even less (and as a Pasco County resident reared and educated here, that's tough to acknowledge).
You see, hype man, if you wish to build up a nondistrict game, you've got to have a historic angle or compelling personal story line. Fortunately, Gulf-Ridgewood has both.
That's why I'll be at Rams Booster Stadium tonight.
I want to stand on the sidelines and hear the cross words that emanate from the crosstown rivals, who have been playing each other since 1985 (Gulf leads the series 16-7). I want to see if Ridgewood can stifle history; Gulf is seeking its first 5-0 start since 1941.
I want to see the reception shifty Bucs tailback — and former Ram — Bubba Golden gets from his old teammates, from whom he bolted only a couple months back. I want to see if the buddies he still has on the Rams roster suspend that friendship from, say, 7:30-10 p.m.
I want to see Golden and Rams counterpart Sterling Ross — the area's top two rushers — with my own eyes and see which has more long-term upside. I want to see what both quarterbacks will do if both defenses decide to load the box.
I want to see the glare of Rams coach Chris Taylor, and the scowl of longtime Gulf assistant Jerry Young. I want to hear the Louisville twang in Bucs coach Jay Fulmer's hoarse yells.
Most of all, Izzy, I want to see Nature Coast-Pasco top that.