Is Florida over?
The Wall Street Journal deigned to ask and answer this absurd question this week.
Over? No way. OK, so two major moving truck companies tallied more move-outs than move-ins last year. And school enrollment declined. And conversions from out-of-state drivers' licenses dropped.
In fact, Florida's atrocious real estate bubble, during which everyone with a mortgage broker bought an extra condo to flip, has skyrocketed housing costs by almost 2/3 in the past five years, and has also done a number on property taxes. And forget about getting affordable insurance against hurricanes. $3,000 condo fees are not unheard of.
But... over? How could such a magical land ever be "over"?
For example: Say hello to the University of South Florida. Their Bulls, who just started playing D1-A football in 2001, are currently the #6 ranked team in the country following their spirited victory over West Virginia. That's right, the Sunshine State has two teams in the top ten, and neither of them are Miami or Florida State.
Here's another crazy fact -- the University of South Florida is not located in the region known as South Florida. USF is in Tampa, up on the state's west coast. It would be as if you started a University of Northern California and plopped it in Anaheim.
So, how did USF become a football powerhouse so fast? (Click below for the filthy answer.)
Well, Florida breeds blue-chip football recruits the way Saudi Arabia breeds suicide bombers. The problem is that college football requires the players to enroll in college. And while the state doesn't have a Harvard of the South (except maybe for USF's odd midget nephew New College), even Florida State has standards.
Quoteth the greatest college football resource on the Innernets, The Wizard of Odds:
Melick quotes Alabama's Nick Saban, who says, "I think there are six guys starting on South Florida's defense who probably could have gone to Florida or Florida State but Florida and Florida State couldn't take them."
There are different admission policies from school to school, writes Melick, making it easier for some athletes to gain entrance into certain schools.
There you have it. The secret to college football success: Recruit in Florida. Make reading optional.
And if you're a pigskin fan in Florida, you better like college ball. Because the Dolphins suck buffalo nuts, the result of a decade of bad drafts and merry-go-round coaching. But apparently Dolphins tickets still hold some value in Miami. For example, they're worth sex with a fictional 11-year-old.
Police said Barron chatted on the Internet with an undercover detective who was posing as a father willing to let Barron have sex with his 11-year-old daughter as well as sleep nude with her in exchange for tickets to the Miami Dolphins football game Sunday.
And this was for the Raiders game, 2007's Mexican Super Bowl, which promised to be slightly less entertaining than a Cavemen dress rehearsal. The perp didn't think there was anything fishy about this?
"I want to destroy your 11-year-old daughter's whole universe. What do you say?"
"Hmm, tempting. Well, what's in it for me?"
"How about tickets to the worst football game in the NFL this year?"
Is Florida over? Never.