Florida vs Florida State is one of the fiercest college football rivalries out there, and both programs have been well nurtured throughout the years by the most legendary coaches. Let's take a look at what can be expected for this upcoming game.
Follow Our Complete Rivalry Week Coverage Here
The Tradition Behind an In-State Rivalry: Florida vs. FSU
The very first game of the Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles series was played in 1958. It may seem like a slow start for their rivalry, but FSU was established as an all-women's college until they changed to a University in 1947. A mere 56 years of playing may not seem like enough to compare the rivalry to others that have been around for over a century, but their rivalry is one of the fiercest in college football starting from their very first meeting. They are one of the only rivalries that can say they have played each other every single year since their first game together.
The Gators killed the series record in the first nineteen games played (17-2) up until the mid-70s. However, since Coach Bobby Bowden arrived on the Florida State scene in 1976, the series has become much more balanced and competitive (20-19-1 in the Seminoles favor since Bowden).
For the past three decades, the rivalry has swung back and forth between these two teams, and is now known as one of the most evenly-matched rivalries to date. What makes them so perfect for one another? Well, both programs have been well nurtured throughout the years and built by some of the most legendary coaches of all time.
Players and fans alike anticipate this game like it’s the only thing that matters from the season, and most of the time, it’s the one game in the season that matters most. These teams combine for fourteen conference championships and three national titles - oh, and that was just from 1990 to 2010.
Since 1976, one if not both teams have usually been very high in the playoff rankings going into their matchup. The rivalry game usually weighs very heavy in the State of Florida since it’s not just about bragging rights, but there are also national championship games at stake almost every single year.
Barry Smith, the starting wide receiver for the Seminoles in 1970-1972, thought back on his experiences on the field: “I remember watching the ball being pitched to me and thinking, when the ball was about halfway, that it was kind of race to see whether [Florida] was going to get to the ball first or me. [Florida] was foaming at the mouth. I still have nightmares from the hit he gave me... “
The Florida Gators currently hold a record of 7-3 in the past 10 games, but the past two years have shown us that the win margin may be making a 180 flip towards the Seminoles.
Last year, the Gators had one of the worst seasons in the history of their program, while FSU went on as the undefeated national champion after stomping the Gators in the rivalry game 37-7.
FSU is heading into their matchup against the Gators in the same position they were in last year, No. 1 in the nation. But with that being said, the Gators are not the same team they were last year - they proved themselves to be true contenders for this showdown in the Sunshine State after killing the Georgia Bulldogs. And in the past two weeks, the Florida running game has been looking solid. The Seminoles have also started to raise some questions. They have barely been skirting by in the winners column to teams they should have killed, and they haven’t been playing like themselves as of late in the season. A lot is uncertain in this game, but one thing is for sure, we are in for an exciting game on Saturday afternoon in sunny Florida.