FSU football renews their rivalry with the Florida Gators on Saturday – a rivalry that was maybe the best in college football history in the 1990’s.
For the Florida State Seminoles, the word rivalry can be very unique and vary depending on who you talk to. FSU has the “luxury” of being maybe the only program in the country who plays two hated in-state rivals each season: the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida Gators.
While the FSU-Miami rivalry was one of the best in college football from the late 1980’s into the early 1990’s and in the early 2000’s, the annual battle with the Gators was at its best for an 11 season period between 1990 and 2000 that may not be matched by any other rivalry in the history of the sport.
Here’s the top five reasons why the FSU-UF rivalry during that period can not be touched.
No. 1 – Always a Top 10 Battle
Every single time the two teams met during this period (a total of 13 games when you include the two Sugar Bowl meetings), the teams were both ranked in the Top 10 – with six of those games coming with both teams ranked in the top five. The lowest ranked team during the whole span was Florida at No. 10 during their upset win in 1997.
No. 2 – Rankings Usually Didn’t Matter
That 1997 win for the Gators was one of the seven times in this span where the lower ranked team actually won the game. Four of those times, it was the Seminoles who ruined their rival’s day by coming out on top (1990, 1995 Sugar Bowl, 1996 and 1998) – and if you want to include the “Choke at Doak”, that would be five.
Of the 11 regular season meetings over that span, the winner played for the national championship six times. FSU football would go on to the title game with wins in 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 while the Gators advanced on after their win in 1995. Heck, the series was so good that the loser ended up going one time – when the Gators advanced thanks to some help in 1996.
No. 4 – It was a good span for the ‘Noles
In the previous 32 meetings before this span, the Seminoles trailed in the series 21-10-1. When the 13 game period was done, FSU football would add eight more wins to their total against just four losses and another tie. Included in that time period was a 4-1-1 mark to start things off – one of the best spans for the ‘Noles in the series history (aside from two separate 5-1 totals from 1998-2003 and 2010-present).
No. 5 – It’s been all downhill since 2000
Over the last fifteen games in the series, there has been just one game where both teams were ranked in the top 10 (2012) while the Gators went 7-2 to start things off – including a streak of six straight wins. FSU football has won five of the last six with wins by 24, 30 and 25 among them – clearly a sign that the rivalry has taken a step back from what it once was.