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Florida fan Janie Stoetzel married rival Bulldog Ben Hagood the night before the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
Andy Staples/SI

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Ben Hagood, Georgia class of 2000, didn't regret marrying a Florida graduate at the Gators team hotel -- the night before the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party -- until the cop asked to see his hands.

Some enterprising Bulldogs fan had pulled the fire alarm late Friday night to disrupt the Gators' slumber, and Ponta Vedra Beach's finest wanted to know if Hagood was the culprit. So as the lawman searched for the telltale powder that would identify the perp, Hagood pointed to the fourth finger on his left hand.

"I said, 'I just got married tonight,'" Hagood said Saturday as he and bride Janie Stoetzel (Florida class of 2001) tailgated alongside the St. John's River. "The cop said, 'So what. I've been married three times.' "

Other than that, the marriage of two members of hated rival alumni groups went off without a hitch. Guests on the groom's side had a tendency to bark at random moments. Meanwhile, the bride made sure she had something old, something new, something borrowed and something orange and blue.

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Ben Hagood's post-marriage T-shirt: "I just married a Gator and I would NEVER beat my wife ... but her football team is an entirely different story. Go Dogs!"
Andy Staples/SI


After the bride's family learned in December that the nuptials would take place in the Gators' team hotel, Janie's sister, Stephanie Lynn, considered asking if Florida quarterback Tim Tebow would officiate. The current Florida student almost wrote a letter, but she feared the wrath of Gators coach Urban Meyer. "It's the night before the game," Lynn said. "Urb wouldn't approve."

Really, the couple had to get married this weekend. Ben proposed the night before last year's Cocktail Party under a harvest moon on the beach at Amelia Island. The next day, the Bulldogs won for only the third time in 18 tries. "He said we should get engaged every year," the new Mrs. Hagood said.

Janie hopes she can get her revenge today. In fact, she even had a T-shirt made to commemorate the event. The front reads, "I married a Georgia Bulldog last night." The back reads, "He didn't cry at the wedding. But he will today."

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