Whether it is the handful of Arkansas State supporters wondering if "it was as bad as the score indicates" or the hundreds of Ohio State partisans debating their quarterback quagmire, fans are turning to Internet message boards seemingly more than ever. There, they interact with others 24/7, offering commentary on everything from coaches' job security to players' personal lives to why all Ohio State males look alike, all under anonymous usernames.
This week, online chatter has been at a fever pitch in four college towns: Austin, where fans are basking in their Longhorns' victory over Ohio State; Columbus, Ohio, where supporters want the quarterback situation resolved, like, yesterday; Knoxville, Tenn., where folks are still upset with Steve Spurrier; and Gainesville, Fla., where Gators partisans are priming for Florida-Tennessee by offering one-liners such as, "Did you know the toothbrush was invented in Tennessee? If it was invented elsewhere, it would have been called the teethbrush." If things get unruly, if unsubstantiated rumors start flying, so-called moderators such as MusicCityGator attempt to keep everyone in line.
"I don't read them," Florida wide receiver Chad Jackson said. "I haven't read them since high school. If you got in trouble or weren't doing well in class, they'd make a big deal about it and say you couldn't play in college. I felt bad. It's not everyone's business. How can people say that when they don't know the whole story?"
What's the newest rage? Welcome to the age of the preemptive cyberspace strike. Andy Judah, a 1999 Florida graduate, purchased the domain name www.fireurbanmeyer.com when Urban Meyer became a candidate for the Gators job for the sole purpose of denying it to someone else. Click on the Web site, this message appears: "If you have come to this site to bash Coach Meyer, GO AWAY! Coach Meyer has an impeccable resume."
-- Eric Prisbell