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Stadiums of the Florida Gators
Check out some interesting and unique information about the stadium/arena of the Florida Gators.
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field is the American football stadium for the University of Florida college team, and is located in Gainesville, Florida. The stadium was built in 1930 as Florida Field. In 1934, the stadium was dedicated to the memory of servicemen who died in the first World War. The stadium was renamed in 1989 in honor of citrus grower and University of Florida benefactor Ben Hill Griffin, Jr. The name of the playing surface remains Florida Field.
The stadium has expanded over the years from a seating of 21,769 to its current seating capacity of more than 90,000, making it the largest stadium in the state of Florida. The playing surface was artificial turf from 1971 through 1989. The artificial turf was removed and natural grass was restored for the 1990 season.
The Florida Gators football team, a member of the Southeastern Conference, plays all its home games at the stadium. Games played against the University of Georgia Bulldogs are played in Jacksonville, Florida at what is informally known as The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, except for 1994 and 1995 when the Gator Bowl was upgraded to NFL standards as the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ben Hill Griffin also hosted the 1994 Gator Bowl between Virginia Tech and Tennessee as well as the 1973 Tangerine Bowl.
The stadium is best known as The Swamp, a nickname given to it by former head coach Steve Spurrier in the early 1990s. He noted that a "...swamp is where Gators live. We feel comfortable there, but we hope our opponents feel tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous. Only Gators get out alive." Befitting the nickname, the original stadium, which consists of the lower half of the current stadium, was built in a ravine placing the stands and playing surface entirely below ground level. Subsequent additions over the years have enclosed the playing area on all sides by high-angled stands that create a closed-in, claustrophobic feel on the field. Game-day temperatures at field level have been known to exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). Every home game has been sold out since 1979, and there is a large and loud student section along the east side of the stadium. The student section is known as the "Swamp Things" after current head coach Urban Meyer held a contest to name the section. These factors create an intimidating environment that can hinder an opposing team's ability to hear playcalls and rattles nerves. The theme is completed by the pre-game video played shortly before the players run out on to the field that shows clips of alligators while playing the theme from Jaws and closes with the quote, "The Swamp...Only Gators get out alive!"
Stephen C. O'Connell Center
The Stephen C. O'Connell Center, popularly nicknamed the "O-Dome", is a 12,000-seat multi-purpose arena at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. The facility is named for Stephen C. O'Connell, a former University of Florida President. It is situated between the west side of football's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and the east side of baseball's McKethan Stadium.
The arena opened in 1980. Renovations in 1998 replaced the inflatable teflon-coated fabric with a permanent, hard shell dome on top of the structure. In 2006, the arena undertook an overhaul of the four scoreboards located above the entrances to Gates 1-4. Instead of displaying information and advertisements, the scoreboards will be used for live instant replays for events inside the arena beginning with the first sporting events in the fall of 2006. The arena, which is the fourth on-campus home of the Gators, replaced the old Florida Gymnasium, nicknamed "Alligator Alley," which was the home of the Gators for the previous 31 seasons and is still located to the east of the football stadium.
It is home to the University of Florida Gators men's and women's basketball, volleyball, swimming and gymnastics teams. ESPN The Magazine nicknamed it the "House of Horrors" in 1999, a name that the sports teams began using promotionally a few years later. The student section of the stadium has been dubbed the "Rowdy Reptiles". ESPN commentator Dick Vitale said, on assignment at the Florida vs. Kentucky game in 2006, that the Rowdy Reptiles make the O-Dome one of the toughest places to play in College Basketball.
Following the men's basketball team's victory in the national title game of the 2006 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, the UF athletic department bought the temporary hardwood floor that had been installed in the Indianapolis RCA Dome for the Final Four. Although the national finals logos will be removed by sanding, the basketball teams will now play on the same lumber on which the Gators won their only basketball National Championship. 
On December 23rd, 2006, a record crowd of 12,621 watched the 5th ranked Gators defeat the 3rd ranked Ohio State Buckeyes 86-60.