University of Florida

A look at the UF-FSU rivalry’s national implications

Florida State Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden, left, congratulates Florida Gators coach Steve Spurrier after the Gators won 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl at the Superdome in New Orleans Thursday Jan. 2, 1997.
Florida State Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden, left, congratulates Florida Gators coach Steve Spurrier after the Gators won 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl at the Superdome in New Orleans Thursday Jan. 2, 1997. AP

UF cornerback Quincy Wilson and FSU running back Dalvin Cook used to be friends, a duo of South Florida football players committed to the Gators.

But once Cook flipped his commitment to FSU right before he graduated from Miami Central, Wilson, a Fort Lauderdale University School alumnus, said the two have rarely talked.

The rivalry between Florida and Florida State is still as heated as ever between the teams even if it hasn’t made as much of a splash on the national level as it did before the turn of the century.

From 1990-2000, all 13 meetings between the Gators and Seminoles, including a pair of bouts in the Sugar Bowl, came with both teams ranked as top-10 teams. In that stretch, the Seminoles won two national titles (1993, 1999). UF took home its first national championship in 1996 after defeating the Seminoles 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl and avenging a 24-21 regular-season loss.

In the nearly two decades since, only four of the last 16 matchups -- including Saturday’s late kickoff -- came as top-15 matchups.

But that doesn’t mean the rivalry has lost it national implications.

Florida’s wins in 2006 and 2008 were critical to the Gators winning their two national titles under then-head coach Urban Meyer.

FSU’s 37-7 win in 2013 was the final win of its first undefeated regular season under head coach Jimbo Fisher. Two games later, the Seminoles won the final BCS national championship.

And in 2014, Florida State pulled out a 24-19 win at Doak Campbell Stadium that, following a win in the ACC Championship, clinched the Seminoles’ spot in the first College Football Playoff.

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