Before I get to my breakdown of the Florida-FSU game to conclude my preseason projections, I believe it’s worth breaking down the rivalry’s deep, rich history first.
Let’s start at the beginning with Florida and Florida State. This game was a rivalry before these two schools even played a single game against each other.
FSU fans have always ragged on Florida’s higher-ups for failing to accept FSU’s request of starting a football rivalry right after the school was changed from Florida State College for Women to the coed school we now know as Free Shoes University. (Oops. Apple computers must know to autocorrect that.)
Anyway, FSU fans everywhere (mostly in Florida, within 25 miles of where they were born, but I digress) have claimed that UF was “scared” to play on the field. I have always ragged on Florida’s higher-ups for the same reason, mostly because I’m pretty confident the Gators would have owned the proto-Seminoles during their years of infancy. And once the state of Florida passed a law ordering these teams to play, that’s exactly what happened. Over time, FSU slowly managed to tilt the rivalry back to almost even, but with the Gators’ win last year on Ron Zook Field (…geez, autocorrect), one can see that this rivalry is all about two things: Florida domination, and FSU frustration.
Through the years, this rivalry has developed a particularly nasty taste. Mocking of the opponents’ team gestures (Florida’s Gator Chomp and FSU’s Tomahawk Chop) has not just been commonplace, it’s become unusual not to see throughout the course of the game. Referees who make bad calls in this game have been known to receive death threats, and are not only eternally forbidden to work future games in that stadium, they’re barred from working another game in that entire conference for the rest of their lives. (That’s what happens when you screw up as badly as the refs in the Swindle in the Swamp did.) Other trademarks of this rivalry include postgame fights in lieu of coaches’ handshakes, wrecking the other team’s season (or trying to) with late hits (mostly by FSU), running up the score (mostly by Florida) and throwing footballs at the other team’s coach (Doug Johnson).
Yes, there’s a reason this game is saved for the end of the season. Lose all your games, but win this one, and your season was a partial success. Winning the title of north central Florida is a big deal in terms of bragging rights and recruiting. Ask any fan who has ever been in a fight at this game about the former, and any coach who ever participated in this game about the latter. With the Miami Hurricanes off the national college football scene for a while, and with the Nevin Shapiro scandal looming over their heads like a Florida storm cloud, the entire Sunshine State is up for grabs for years to come when Florida and FSU meet.
Win this game, and you can forever call yourself a Florida state champion.
The Orange and Blue Dawn: Florida, 5-0-1
This part is pretty straightforward. FSU was not a major college power. Florida was taking the first baby steps to getting there. The scoreboard proved it.
However, this period is noteworthy for the 1961 game the Gators didn’t win. After being pushed to a 3-3 tie, Gators coach Ray Graves fumed that tying this inferior program a couple of hours to the northwest was like “a death in the family.” Surely FSU didn’t take too kindly to this continual degradation, and while the Gators would win the next two games, FSU would have an answer. Sort of.
FSU Breaks Through And Breaks Even: 2-2
Due to FSU’s facilities being too small for the mighty Gators to dare venture onto, the first six games (of which FSU won none) were played in Gainesville. 1964 brought an upgrade to FSU’s stadium, and so the Gators loaded up onto their buses and trekked to Tallahassee, ready to knock off the Seminoles. But the Gators ran into a Seminole ambush instead. Steve Tensi hooked up with Fred Biletnikoff for a TD to jump start the Noles and the Gators never led in the game that would vault the Seminoles into national prominence. That year, FSU went to its first major bowl game, beating Oklahoma in the Gator Bowl.
But the Gators would return to their winning ways the next two years. The 1965 game was like most other games before it; Florida won. The 1966 rematch in Tallahassee was pretty much the same thing, except for one thing: it introduced controversy to the rivalry. Down 22-19, the ‘Noles tried to rally. FSU QB Gary Pajcic threw a fade to Lane Fenner, who got one foot down, appeared to grab the ball with both hands and then fell out of bounds as referee Doug Moseley called it incomplete. FSU would retaliate by winning in Gainesville for the first time in 1967.
And then the real fun began.
The First Stretch of Stompings: Florida, 9-0
After losing twice in four years to FSU, the Gators needed an adjustment of attitude. They now had to take the Seminoles seriously. The Gators went a step further, and made every ensuing moment of this rivalry a swirling torrent of misery for the guys in garnet and gold for nearly a decade.
Florida began its assault with a seemingly innocent 9-3 win, but only two of the next eight games would be decided by fewer than 10 points. The worst one of them all, the mother of all beatings, was the 1973 49-0 Gator rout in Gainesville that ensured the Seminoles would go winless that year. Zip doesn’t come close to describing the Noles’ offensive ineptitude that day. It also made the next most lopsided victory of this era, a 42-13 romp in Tallahassee the year before, seem like a nail-biter.
Two years after, I repeat, the 49-0 game, Florida took down FSU in a somewhat close 34-8 victory. I’m not quoting these scores so much to irritate FSU fans as much as I am… well, getting them to realize that if they want to relive victories from the parts of the past that make them look good (like the Bowden era, which I will get to), Florida fans can play that game too.
And Florida fans win because Florida wins.
But lopsided victories weren’t the only way the Gators stuck it to FSU in this period. They dominated the Noles in the stat book as well. FSU’s copy of the stats from the 1969 game were probably either sunk in the Gulf of Mexico or cremated immediately after the game. Let’s run through the list of the laughable numbers from that game: FSU fumbled eight times (and lost five of them), QB Bill Cappleman threw three picks, and Cappleman was sacked an incredible 11 times. Anybody want to guess FSU’s total net ground offense? How about minus 18 yards for the entire game! It was almost an afterthought that John Reaves and Carlos Alvarez torched the Noles’ defense for two TDs, and that the Gators blocked a field goal in the 21-6 win.
The following year’s game in Tallahassee introduced taunting to the rivalry. No longer content with mauling the ‘Noles on the field, certain Gators felt it was necessary to needle the FSU players and fans. Already way up 38-7 halfway through the fourth quarter, Jack Youngblood took it upon himself to add insult to injury to climb the wall in front of the student section of Doak Campbell Stadium and do a semi-inappropriate dance, blocking off FSU students’ view of a little pseudo-comeback led by third string QB Gary Huff. It mattered not the least that Huff drove FSU for three straight touchdowns, because Florida was napping in the leisure cars by then, and because the third one came with zeroes across the clock. (Alas, there are no GIFs of Jaylen Watkins’ predecessor making a scoreboard gesture.)
Incredibly, FSU fans have christened that day the birth of “Huff the Magic QB”. As if losing by double figures is really something to be proud of. Maybe they should also hail Jimbo Fisher as a genius for calling a consolation TD drive against Florida last year and yell bloody murder over Johnny Manziel winning the 2012 Heisman over EJ Manuel because he engineered it. I’ll give FSU this: It is the best team in college football when the game is over. If you want more examples, see late game scores in 1995, 2005 and 2009.
But now it’s time to throw a little bone to the FSU fans who made it this far. They have beaten Florida more than twice, you know.
Bowden Turns the Tide, Part I: FSU, 4-0
I wish I could skip straight to 1981, because that was when Florida resumed its complete and utter domination over FSU, but that wouldn’t be fair to the ‘Noles (two certain ones from my high school with whom I have had so much fun debating this rivalry in particular) who have stomached what they’ve read up to this point. So here goes…
After losing to the Gators in his maiden voyage as head coach of the Noles, Bobby Bowden quickly got winning figured out. He was a very rude guest in his first trip to Gainesville in 1977, coming away a 37-9 winner, and with a 38-21 victory in Tallahassee the ensuing year, FSU had its first winning streak in the series. Ever.
The 1979 game is kind of pointless to bring up, because Florida’s season results were eerily similar to Walter Mondale’s in the presidential election five years later. They both lost everything they could possibly lose except one tiny, insignificant piece (Florida tied a 4-6 Georgia Tech team, Mondale barely won his home state of Minnesota).
1980 had a different feel to it. After the winless disaster the year before, Charley Pell turned the Gators around by getting them off to a 6-1 start. Even after the “Run Lindsay Run” debacle, the Gators were still looking good as they knocked off Kentucky to right the ship and head into the Miami game at 7-2, and ranked No. 18. But the Hurricanes totally embarrassed the Gators in a 31-7 beatdown that hurt the Gators’ big game bowl chances, but didn’t kill them. At 7-3, and facing the third-ranked Seminoles, Florida had a chance to launch itself into the Sun Bowl (much more prestigious at the time) or maybe even the Cotton Bowl with a big statement win.
And at first, it looked like that would happen, as Florida dominated the first half. But FSU erased a 13-3 Florida halftime lead as Rick Stockstill connected with Hardis Johnson for a pair of 20-yard touchdown passes to steal a 17-13 win. Florida dropped to the Tangerine Bowl, which is kind of like Florida State dropping to the Champs Sports Bowl or the Music City Bowl, except that the Tangerine Bowl is now the Capital One Bowl, so it’s actually way better.
Don’t worry, Gator fans. It gets fun again.
The Stompings Resume: Florida, 6-0
One misconception younger fans have about Bobby Bowden is that, until a six-year period of his twilight days in Tallahassee, he completely owned the Gators. That would be true, except for this six-year period that was every bit as bad as the aforementioned one. Plus, you know, the 1997 Sugar Bowl and the Greatest Game Ever Played in the Swamp. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. We’ll get to those games in a bit. Let’s just relive these for the moment.
Charley Pell first tasted victory in this rivalry in 1981, and boy, was it sweet. FSU produced just 59 yards through the air, which wouldn’t even have been good for the 1930s, and Florida’s defense picked off three passes in a 35-3 swamping in Gainesville. The following year was even tougher to swallow for FSU fans. Gators backs fumbled four times to stake No. 15 FSU a 10-0 lead, but, in a complete reversal of fortune from the game two years ago, the Gators turned it around in the second half and walked out of Doak Campbell Stadium with a 13-10 upset.
1983 was the second exhibit of shameless score-padding. (The first being, for the third time, the 49-0 game played 10 years earlier.) It started out close, and Florida’s lead was only 10-6 in the second quarter, but then Florida, and specifically Wayne Peace and Neal Anderson, flexed and the overwhelmingly outmatched Seminoles began to wilt. Gators offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan (who was 31 at the time!) showed no mercy, as his offense easily eclipsed 500 yards in a 53-14 bludgeoning. The 53 points still stands as the largest point total by either team in the series’ history, and paved the way for Florida’s first ever top-10 finish.
The next three years went by without much talk: FSU had had its four-year run of glory, it was over now, and Florida was once again beating the Seminoles like it was the norm. And it was. Three wins later, including a 38-14 pasting in Gainesville (OK, I’ll stop doing that), Florida had a six-game winning streak, and Bobby Bowden was just like every other coach before him: Pretty good, but he couldn’t beat Florida.
Unfortunately, with the Gators facing heavy NCAA sanctions and FSU about to rise to the top, that second part would change.
Bowden Turns the Tide, Part II: FSU, 7-1-1
Part of what makes being a Florida fan so fun is that half my family members are Seminoles. That means, more often than not, I get to taunt them every Thanksgiving about how this rivalry is the only place in the world that wearing lots of gold is a sign of poverty (in terms of football prestige, of course). When I do this, however, one of my uncles, who is a great philosopher, always uses this quote from Fudd in his response: “What goes up, must come down.”
Thanks a lot, Fudd.
I’ve quoted all the scores from Gator glory days so far, and I will do so again when I get to future Gator glory days, so in order to keep this piece somewhat unbiased, I have no choice but to do the same when FSU was on top. First, though, it’s important to understand the extent of the Seminoles’ rise to power, and the coinciding Gator fall to disgrace due to NCAA probation.
From 1987 to 1994, FSU never finished lower than fourth in the final rankings. Part of that was due to them always beating Florida, a team that always seemed to ruin their bowl outlook. Now, FSU was good enough to finally exact some revenge.
Boy, did they.
It started with a 28-14 win in the Swamp in 1987, which seemed innocent enough. Florida finished at .500 that year, and, hey FSU has to win sometimes, right? But the 52-17 throttling the following year threw up a red (or garnet) flag. Florida was just as bad in 1988 as it was in 1987, but this time, they weren’t even competitive. The 1989 game was a joke, because the Gators knew they were in big trouble with the NCAA, so give them that one.
1990 was where it started to get really bad. Gators golden boy Steve Spurrier lofted the Gators to new heights right away, defeating every opponent on the schedule, except for Tennessee … and FSU. Florida was only outgained by three yards, but three turnovers proved costly in a 45-30 defeat. Letting Amp Lee scamper for 147 yards probably didn’t help matters.
Now we get to 1991, the only game in this stretch that’s any fun for Gators fans. Florida came into the game ranked fifth, while FSU was third, which the highest average ranking of both teams entering the game up to that point. In an otherwise defensive slugfest, Shane Matthews connected with Harrison Houston for a 74-yard touchdown that proved to be the winning score in a hard fought 14-9 Gator victory.
IF YOU’RE A FLORIDA FAN, SKIP TO THE NEXT SECTION.
After FSU won the following year’s game 45-24, the teams came back to Gainesville in 1993. If you’re a Florida fan, stop reading right here and skip to the next section, because reliving this game and the two games after will probably make you want to punch something. I’m trying to save your property from being smashed, so please heed my advice.
Anyways, FSU was ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time, while seventh-ranked Florida was looking to boost its own slim national championship hopes alive by knocking off the Seminoles. FSU opened up a 27-7 lead after three quarters, but as soon as Steve Spurrier replaced the ineffective Danny Wuerffel with Terry Dean, the Gators roared back with two straight touchdown passes from Dean to Willie and Jack Jackson to slice the lead to 27-21. The Gators defense then forced the Seminoles offense to a third and 10. Florida was just one play away from getting the ball back with a chance to win the game.
Instead, Charlie Ward (who, I am not afraid to point out, ended up sitting on the New York Knicks’ bench, so don’t you FSU fans give us Florida fans grief about Tim Tebow never doing anything after leaving UF) dumped it off in the flat to Warrick Dunn, who raced untouched for the game-clinching touchdown.
If you thought that was bad… well, 1994 happened. Let’s just say there was a game and the Gators were crushing the Seminoles, and there wasn’t a lot of time left, and this guy named Danny Kanell might have led the biggest comeback in college football history, and even though this comeback was only good enough to force a tie, it is still called the greatest win in FSU history by a number of Seminoles fans. Then, thanks to the Sugar Bowl pitting these two teams together, the game continued a few weeks later in New Orleans and FSU may, just may have won the rematch thanks to Dunn burning the Gators again, this time with his first-ever collegiate touchdown pass, officially completing the most disgraceful collapse in sports history (coming from a Gator fan).
But never let it be said that Steve Spurrier never had his turn to have some fun against the Seminoles.
Spurrier’s Sweet Revenge: Florida, 3-1
The 1995 game finally provided some relief for Gators fans who may have started to worry that Spurrier would never beat his Thanksgiving weekend rival. Scott Bentley kicked an early field goal to spot the ‘Noles a 3-0 lead, but then the Gators unleashed three years and four games worth of frustration on FSU, exploding for 28 points in a 20-minute span that knocked the Seminoles down for the count.
Down 28-6 in the third quarter, FSU tried to rally. Dunn punched his way in to cut the lead to 28-14 with the ensuing two point conversion. But Danny Wuerffel landed the knockout punch with a 74-yard strike to Ike Hilliard on the very next play. The Gators, who ended up with a whopping 537 yards on the day (443 through the air from Wuerffel), did allow FSU to score the final 10 points, but unlike the year before, their defense slammed the door shut before it got too close by picking off Kanell on his last two possessions to secure a 35-24 win.
Then there was the 1996 game between No. 1 Florida and No. 2 FSU. No matter how much Florida fans want to disparage FSU’s ability to teach reading, writing, counting and critical thinking, there’s one thing they can never take away from the FSU players: They’re damned good listeners.
Bobby Bowden took full advantage of this and ordered them to “hit til the echo of the whistle” (read: deliver late hits to anybody wearing a Gator jersey). To quote Thom Brennaman, that’s probably the first thing he’s ever done wrong in his life. (Other than let his players run up an arrest record even worse than Urban Meyer’s, that is.) But while that certainly didn’t help the Gators’ chances in this game, the loss probably had more to do with spotting the Seminoles a 17-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, Danny Wuerffel throwing three picks, and allowing Thad Busby to hit Peter Warrick for a 30-yard gain on third and six late in the game.
But 1996 also set up a rematch for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl.
FSU did hang with Florida for a while, I’ll give them that. It was 24-20 midway through the third quarter. And then the Gators must have decided that they were simply tired of losing to Florida State, and ready to win a national title. Florida’s offense erupted for 28 unanswered and when the toothless ‘Noles finally staggered into the locker room, they had surrendered the most points in Sugar Bowl history — a mark that still stands and has only been challenged once … by Florida, in 2009 — and suffered the worst beating in Sugar Bowl history. Oh, and along the way, Ike Hilliard torched FSU with the Stop and Pop, perhaps the nastiest juke move in football history.
Just thought I’d throw that out there.
Anyway, when it was all over, Florida had its first national championship, Danny Wuerffel went out in the best way possible, and to just to repeat, Florida beat FSU 52-20, ending any question as to who was the better team in 1996.
What could be better than all that? Nothing.
But the 1997 game was the next best thing.
FSU came into the 1997 game in Gainesville with national championship hopes once again, sitting pretty with an undefeated 11-0 record and ranked No. 1. On the other hand, Florida, without Danny Wuerffel and a slew of other starters gone from the 1996 championship team, came into the game at 9-2, ranked No. 10 — not exactly chopped liver, but nowhere even close to sniffing a national title. FSU had everything to play for, and Florida had nothing to play for, so it should have been a walk in the park for FSU, right?
Wrong. There’s a reason this game is known as the Greatest Game Ever Played in the Swamp.
Florida totally crushed those national championship dreams by stunning the top-ranked Noles 32-29, striking for an 80-yard TD drive in three plays down four with a minute to go. The first of those plays, a 63 yard bomb from Doug Johnson to Jacquez Green, came right after Sebastian Janikowski decided to troll Florida fans with a mock Gator Chomp following a field goal push FSU up 29-25. Not the brightest move I’ve ever seen. Then Fred Taylor ran for 16 yards and then punched it in on the next play.
A few plays later, Dwayne Thomas picked off Thad Busby, and the upset was complete. Florida got the Sunshine State crown, although the Sugar Bowl berth went to the Seminoles, so, you know, each team got some parting gifts, and there were no hard feelings.
Bowden’s Last Hurrah: FSU, 5-1
Bobby Bowden wasted no time getting his Seminoles back on top in this rivalry following the earth-shattering 52-20 beatdown in the 1997 Sugar Bowl and the 32-29 aftershock less than a year later in Gainesville. I re-quote those scores in the hopes that they may tide you over until we get to 2004: Aside from a 37-13 Gator stomping of the ‘Noles in Gainesville, this segment of history is not that much fun.
Let’s start with 1998. Doug Johnson hit Travis McGriff for a 50-yard touchdown to start the game. Then the Gators went to sleep on both sides of the ball. Travis Minor accounted for well over half as many yards on the ground all by himself (127) as the entire Florida offense (204), and FSU won 23-12.
The 1999 game hurt far worse, though. The Gators appeared to be in great shape when Bennie Alexander picked off Chris Weinke and took it 43 yards to the house to make it 16-13 midway in the third … and then they totally collapsed as FSU ran off 17 unanswered to take an insurmountable 30-16 lead. After the Seminoles won 30-23, they headed to the Gator F at midfield for a postgame dance. As for 2000, well, we won’t even go into that one. FSU ran roughshod over the Gators, taking advantage of several bad punts (six punts on the day, traveling an average of … 31 yards) to set up short fields and easy scores in a 30-7 victory (I owe FSU fans that one).
Florida was the overwhelming favorite in the 2001 game, and it showed. Florida nearly doubled FSU’s total offensive productivity and Steve Spurrier showed no mercy in one of the few times he was ever in a position to actually do so against the Seminoles, ordering a harmless chip shot field goal to push the lead to 37-13 with two and a half minutes to go. This game was not without consequences, though. Once again, FSU players took the advice from their coach to bang up several key Gator players, including star tailback Ernest Graham, who wound up missing the next week’s de facto SEC East Championship game against Tennessee… which Florida lost, 34-32.
But 2001 turned out to be nothing more than an orange and blue oasis, and Spurrier’s fantastic farewell to the rivalry. In 2002 and 2003 … well, I mean, it was Ron Zook, known by the general population as a bumbling moron, against Bobby Bowden, easily one of the game’s top ten and probably top five coaches of all time. What would you expect to happen? FSU won both times, 31-14 and 38-34.
The second one was more interesting because of some truly horrendous calls (not the first time this rivalry had seen it) — but let’s remember that Florida’s defense also allowed Chris Rix to convert a fourth and 14 and then heave a 52-yard TD to P.K. Sam (who is definitely not hanging onto that moment or anything, given his Twitter name) on the very next play. That’s not bad officiating, that’s just bad defense, and it wasn’t like that was the first time Zook’s defense got burned like that. Of course, the victory led FSU players to start dancing on Florida’s F again, leading to yet another fight, this one a legitimate bench-clearing brawl.
In 2004, Ron Zook’s Gators were off to another inglorious start, with losses to Mississippi State and Georgia — depriving him of his one saving grace &mdahs; and Zook was fired, but allowed to finish out the season. By coincidence, FSU picked its season finale against Florida to christen their field in the name of Bobby Bowden himself, who had been such a pain for Florida to deal with throughout his career. It was only fitting that FSU would deal Florida its worst defeat in the series history, give the better coach one more night to remember and the worse coach one more nightmare to remember.
Ron Zook Field and Urban Renewal: Florida, 6-0
No matter how well you plan things, they just don’t always go the way you anticipated. FSU learned this lesson in a rather heartbreaking fashion in 2004, when a 6-4 Florida team limped into Doak Campbell Stadium and claimed Bobby Bowden night for themselves. Just like they’d done in 1997, Florida totally spoiled what was supposed to be a special night for the Seminoles, ruining not only the moment of renaming of their turf to Bobby Bowden Field, but costing them a BCS Bowl berth as well.
What made this game so amazing was that FSU never led, and never even got it tied. Chris Leak established from the get-go that this would be Florida’s night, and even though the defense once again got burned by Chris Rix, they stood tall when they were needed the most. Jarvis Herring picked off Rix with 10 seconds to go and the party was on, complete with Tomahawk Chops, midfield dancing, and Zook’s victory ride around Doak Campbell Stadium.
The 2005 game, Urban Meyer’s first taste this rivalry, was nothing more than a three-and-a-half-hour-long party for Gators fans. The Gators actually didn’t score in the first quarter, but scored on the first play of the second and the rout was on. By the time the smoke cleared, it all added up to five sacks, four turnovers, a blocked field goal for a touchdown and a 34-7 dismantling of the Noles. At least the 2006 game was close. Florida built a 14-0 halftime lead, but let it slip away as Drew Weatherford engineered two touchdown drives in seven minutes. Unfazed, Chris Leak hit Dallas Baker for a 25 yard touchdown and the defense stuffed three straight FSU fourth down attempts to hang on for a 21-14 win.
The next three years were nothing but misery for Florida State. There was nothing exciting about them, except to watch Florida’s spread offense use FSU’s “defense” as tackling dummies. When it was all said and done, Florida had amassed a composite score of 127-37 from 2007-2009, and Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, Jeffrey Demps and Chris Rainey had amassed several hours (I’m not even exaggerating by that much, that’s the funny thing) of highlights, including Tebow getting garnet colored paint from FSU’s end zone all over his white jersey. One more time, let’s play the score quoting game: (in order) 45-12, 45-15 and 37-10. Geno Hayes picked the wrong person to talk trash to, let me tell you that.
The Return of the Rivalry: FSU, 3-1
2010 and 2011 were pretty much the inverse. FSU was good, Florida was not, and the Noles won those two games by a total of 52-14. No big deal, and no joking around here, because Florida was in the middle of a coaching crisis. Aside from a few mock Gator Chomps, the whole thing was actually pretty civilized and the players were mostly well behaved. No fights, very little taunting and minimal dancing after the 2011 game on Florida’s F.
Now comes 2012… the year that Florida made its statement. It’s still fresh in our minds, we all know what happened. Florida dominated the first half, and the fourth quarter. FSU dominated the third quarter. That doesn’t add up right. The truth is, it could have been so much worse, and FSU fans know it. Florida wasted several chances deep in FSU territory, including Trey Burton missing his wide open brother on a fake field goal, and EJ Manuel scored perhaps the most useless TD in the series’ history. Well, right up with the ones in 1995, 2005 and 2009, anyway. The point is, Florida sent a message to FSU: 37-26. It was no mistake.
And then there was last year’s game in Gainesville. Um, yeah. That was bad. Since I’ve quoted all the scores I like, I owe FSU fans this one, so here it is: 37-7. Happy?
Florida has owned FSU since the beginning of time. 34-22-2 is the overall series score, which pretty much means that every eight times the teams play, Florida wins five and FSU wins three. That’s not a good percentage for FSU. While the rivalry has had its share of streaks and runs for both teams, FSU appears to be on the current run of dominance.
The 2014 game is where it all starts. If FSU wins, they’ve won four out of five in the rivalry, but if the Gators can pull it out in Tallahassee, suddenly they’ve won eight out of the past eleven. In a nutshell, the winner can really claim to be the more dominant team of late.
And in a rivalry like this, that’s of primary importance to the teams and their fans.
(Note: this was originally written a year ago when I worked for Alligator Army. It has been slightly modified to include last year’s game and the current state of the rivalry.)