TAMPA — Perhaps sensing what was about to happen, a squadron of vultures took to the skies over Tampa City Hall late Friday morning.
A few minutes later, Mayor Bob Buckhorn emerged from his office, a gold-colored football jersey pulled over his pink dress shirt.
Buckhorn was there to make good on a bet with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer over the War on I-4 football game between the University of South Florida and the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
USF lost 23-20 in the game on Nov. 29.
And true to his word, Buckhorn raised the UCF flag over Old City Hall, where it will stay until 4 p.m.
“Lord, forgive me,” Buckhorn said, casting his eyes skyward.
It was the second time Buckhorn has suffered at the hands of UCF this year. The Knights beat his beloved Nittany Lions of Pennsylvania State University this year while he watched from the stands.
“I’ve had a rough year with UCF this year,” he said.
Adding to the moment, the building’s clock tower chimed just before the flag went up at 11:30 a.m., prompting the handful of assembled UCF fans to joke with Buckhorn about not asking not for whom the bell tolls.
One of those UCF fans was the mayor’s own chief of staff, Dennis Rogero, class of 2001.
“I would have advised him against taking that bet,” Rogero said.