In honor of the cancellation of the 2020 Florida State vs. Florida football rivalry, let’s take a look back at some of the best games in the series.
There’s no adequate phrase to describe the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on everyday life throughout the world. You can say it has turned the world upside down but somehow that expression just doesn’t feel sufficient.
To provide context for the following list, I’ll tell you the story we already know. The first casualty in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak was sports. In March 2020, all sanctioning bodies of all major sports postponed or cancelled their seasons and competition lay largely dormant for the better part of the next four months.
Over time, the likes of the NHL, NFL, MLB and NASCAR hatched their plans to return to action, and the NCAA followed suit. Various higher-ups within college conferences decided that the best way to handle a return to action was to reduce, if not eliminate, attendance by fans and play conference-only schedules. This meant that non-conference rivalries like Florida vs. Florida State, Clemson vs. South Carolina and Iowa vs. Iowa State would not happen for the first time in years.
For many college football fans, the interruption of these long-time series is a tragedy in the vein of the decade-ago permanent loss of rivalries such as Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia and Texas vs. Texas A&M. Only this time, it’s a terrifying disease, and not money-fueled conference realignment that brings pause to these annual meetings.
So in the spirit of nostalgia, we are taking a look back at some of the greatest games in the histories of these storied matchups, beginning with the battle of the Sunshine State: Florida vs. Florida State.
The in-state rivals have met 64 times, with the Gators owning a 36-26-2 advantage.
The state of Florida is fertile ground for recruiting and in the decade of the 1990s and 2000s, Florida and Florida State, each under arguably the best head coaches in their histories, ruled the college football roost. The 2010s have not seen quite so much of the consistent dominance the two squads were mutually used to. Though FSU won the national title in 2013 and Florida has played in two major bowls during the 2010s, losing seasons occurred with the same frequency as both schools struggled with leadership continuity.
It would be easy to simply rank the matchups that occurred between 1990-2002 and call it a day. However, we take into consideration each era of the series, and you may see some surprises, or vintage names like Ray Graves, Gary Huff and Wayne Peace make their way into the discussion.
Without further ado, here are our picks for Part 1 of the greatest Florida vs. Florida State games in the history of the rivalry.