And coming in at number seven on my Top Ten College Football Rivalry list is…
#7 Florida State vs. Florida- This rivalry has produce six claimed national championships. Three from Florida State in 1993, 1999, and 2013 and Florida has claimed three in 1996, 2006, and 2008. This rivalry has produced six Heisman Trophy winners. Quarterbacks Steve Spurrier (1966), Danny Wuerfel (1996), and Tim Tebow (2007) all won Heismans for the University of Florida. Quarterbacks Charlie Ward (1993), Chris Weinke (2000), and Jameis Winston (2013) all won Heismans for Florida State University.
The Florida State-Florida rivalry is debatably the best ACC-SEC football rivalry. The origin of this rivalry can be traced back to the courtroom. There was a law being pushed through the Florida Legislature mandating that Florida and Florida State to start an in-state rivalry in sports. The law was never passed, but Florida Governor LeRoy Collins was not done. Governor Collins went to the University of Florida’s president and then both school’s athletic directors took care of the rest. In the beginning of this rivalry, the Gators found much success against the Seminoles. From 1958-1975, Florida had a record of 15-2-1.
But in 1976, Florida State would get a head coach that would win 377 games over in his 34 years at Tallahassee. The Seminoles got former West Virginia head coach Bobby Bowden.
During his 34-year tenure, he made the UF-FSU rivalry something interesting. From 1976-1989, the Seminoles started to find more success against the Gators. They went 7-6 in those 13 years. But in 1990, former Florida quarterback Steve Spurrier came back to coach the Gators. Bowden and Spurrier are the two head coaches who made the rivalry we know today.
The 1990s were the glamour years of this rivalry. The Gators (SEC) and the Seminoles (joined the ACC in 1992) won fourteen combined conference championships and combined to win three national champions.
In 1996, the rivalry hit its peak. Coming into the 1996 matchup, the Gators were undefeated and the number one team in the nation. The Seminoles were also undefeated and were the number two in the nation. It was the first No.1 vs. No.2 matchup in the rivalry’s series. By the end of the day, the Seminoles remained undefeated when they beat the Gators 24-21. Florida and Florida State would go on to win their respective conferences and would meet again in the Sugar Bowl.
And this game featured No.1 Florida State and No.3 Florida and by the end of the game it was not close. At the half, the score was Florida 24- Florida State 17. The Seminoles would only score three more points but the Gators scored 28 more points. The final score was 52-20.
This rivalry is getting closer and closer as the years go on. Florida still has the lead. The record of this series is 34-24-2. The Seminoles are currently on a three-game winning streak in this series.