Archives for category: Florida

Two weeks ago head coach Steve Spurrier and South Carolina rang up their third consecutive win over Georgia for the first time in their history. Today, they attempt the same feat against Florida. Next week, it’s Tennessee that will try to avoid a third consecutive loss to the Gamecocks. And Clemson is already there, dropping games in 2009, 2010 and 2011 to South Carolina.

The ol’ ball coach has turned things around on each of South Carolina’s rivals, especially since players like former WR Alshon Jeffrey, current RB Marcus Lattimore and DE Jadeveon Clowney have decided to stay home and play for the Gamecocks.

Lattimore had 212 yards rushing and three touchdowns as a freshman in 2010 against Florida in Gainesville as South Carolina clinched its first SEC East title, defeating the Gators 36-14. A Gatorade shower followed for Spurrier and he was carried off the field that he coined as “The Swamp” as Florida’s head coach on his players’ shoulders.

There goes Marcus. (Courtesy: Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images)

Florida senior safety Josh Evans was quoted this week as saying, “That’s a feeling you’ll never forget. It’s definitely revenge, man.”

Today’s game marks the first time in 33 meetings that both teams are in the top 10, a similar storyline to the South Carolina-Georgia game two weeks ago.

A Gamecock win today would be South Carolina’s biggest road win in its history. In 1981, they beat #3 North Carolina and the dominant Lawrence Taylor in Chapel Hill 31-13. If they beat #2 Florida today, it will be another “first” or “best” for the Gamecocks.

They’re getting used to that in Columbia.

LSU has won its past two games against Florida — 33-29 in 2010 and 41-11 last year — and both featured classic mad hatter style from Les Miles. A fake field goal and run by kicker Josh Jasper in 2010 kept LSU’s game-winning drive alive and a fake punt in 2011 for a touchdown was called back for an unsportsmanlike taunting penalty on LSU’s punter Brad Wing before he scored.

2010:

 

2011:

 

Alabama 52, Arkansas 0

SB Nation: Near-Perfect: Alabama’s Weaknesses Are Few and Far Between

Sports Illustrated: Arkansas Loses More Than a Game in Humiliating Defeat to Alabama

Florida 37, Tennessee 20

Yahoo! Sports: Strong Finishes Lead to Fast Start for Florida

Sports Illustrated: Tenn. Loses Leading Tackler Randolph to Torn ACL


Texas 66, Ole Miss 31

Jackson Clarion-Ledger: Defensive Changes Afoot After Ole Miss’ Blowout Loss to Texas

Tennessee’s long-awaited breakthrough against Florida came in 1998 as the Vols won 20-17 in overtime. Florida kicker Collins Cooper missed a game-tying field goal in overtime. Legendary Tennessee radio announcer John Ward, in his final season with the Vols, delivered one of his classic calls as the kick sailed wide left and Tennessee fans rushed the field.

“So the score, Tennessee 20, Florida 17 and the Gators with a field goal made will tie the game. Snap, the kick this time is…No Sir-ree! No Sir-ree! Final score, Tennessee 20, Florida 17! Pandemonium reigns!”

Unfortunately, the following video cuts off before Ward’s classic line of “pandemonium reigns,” but it captures the relief and joy felt by Vols players, coaches and fans after losing 5 consecutive games to Florida.

 

Tennessee tries to break Florida’s current streak of 7 consecutive wins over the Vols on Saturday night in Knoxville. Florida leads the overall series 22-19, a series once led by Tennessee 10-0.

Expansion came to the SEC in 1992 in the form of two new teams — Arkansas and South Carolina — and a new SEC Championship Game, first played at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., and then moved to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in 1994. While the first SEC Championship Game almost ruined #2 Alabama’s and the SEC’s chances at their first national championships since 1979 and 1980, respectively, the Crimson Tide eventually overcame Florida 28-21 and blasted #1 Miami (Fla.) 34-13 in the 1993 Sugar Bowl to claim it all.

Florida’s HC Steve Spurrier and QB Danny Wuerffel claim the program’s first national championship in the 1997 Sugar Bowl.

While Florida met Alabama in four of the first five SEC championship games (’92, ’93, ’94, ’96), it was the Gators’ new rivalry with the SEC East’s perennial 2nd-place team Tennessee that sparked so much interest nationally for the conference each September throughout the 1990s. Florida strung together four consecutive SEC championships from 1993-1996 that hadn’t been accomplished since Bear Bryant’s Alabama teams as Steve Spurrier brought a different winning style to the SEC through the air. Spurrier capped it off with the 1996 national championship, the first in Florida’s history.

Meanwhile, Philip Fulmer took over for Johnny Majors in east Tennessee in 1992 and promptly positioned the Vols as Florida’s main obstacle to the SEC East crown. His Vols beat Spurrier’s Gators in 1992, but wouldn’t again until 1998 on their way to Tennessee’s first national championship since 1951.

For 6 years, Fulmer dealt with blow after blow from Florida on the field and quip after quip from Spurrier off it.

Perhaps Spurrier’s best recognized shot at Tennessee during those years was his quote about the Volunteers regularly playing in the Citrus Bowl, the bowl season’s home to the SEC’s 2nd-place team.

“You can’t spell Citrus without the U and T,” jabbed Spurrier.

Heightening matters was the fact that Spurrier is originally from east Tennessee before playing his college football at Florida and winning the 1966 Heisman Trophy as a quarterback.

Not even top recruit and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, who directed the Vols at quarterback from 1994-1997, could break through against the Gators. He led Tennessee to the 1997 SEC championship during his senior year, but took his 4th loss to Florida earlier that season.

Tennessee’s HC Philip Fulmer and QB Peyton Manning couldn’t get it done against Florida in four tries together.

Tee Martin took Tennessee’s quarterback reigns in 1998 as the Vols finally knocked off the Gators in overtime in Knoxville — a win, as stated earlier, that eventually led Tennessee to the 1998 national championship.

The Florida-Tennessee rivalry ushered in the SEC’s new expansion era in the 1990s as television coverage exploded across the country. Between highly touted recruits and lofty national rankings, the rivalry was annually pointed to as the biggest September game of the season.

While it’s not #2 versus #4, Florida and Tennessee meet in Knoxville this Saturday night with both ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in many years and ESPN College Gameday in tow. That ’90s feeling is back, if only slightly.

Florida at Tennessee, Knoxville
6 pm EDT, ESPN

Gator Growls:

TC Palm: Gators Ready to Make Run at Vols

ESPN: Style Points Aren’t UF’s Goal

ESPN: Driskel’s Play is What Florida Needs

The Florida Times-Union: Gators Defense Hit with Injuries

Bradenton Herald: Muschamp Says RB Gillislee (Groin) ‘Should Be Fine’

Volunteer Voices:

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Not Like Old Days, But Gators, Vols in Top 25

The Tennessean: Florida’s Dominance of UT Has Been One Big Chomp

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Vols Gun for Gators: UT-Florida Matchup Generating Big Hype

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Vols Must Focus with Extra Hype

CBS Sports: Vols Turn to Walk-on Kicker Brodus Against Florida

Miss. St./Auburn:

Clarion Ledger: Mullen Hopes Miss. St. Can Focus on Job at Hand

Birmingham News: Miss. St. Becomes Chizik’s Signature Defeat

Florida/Tex. A&M:

Orlando Sentinel: Florida’s Defense Was Key to Win at Texas A&M

Houston Chronicle: Texas A&M a Winner, Big 12 a Loser After Another College Football Weekend

LSU/Washington:

The News Star: Washington May Have Misjudged LSU’s Edge Speed

Georgia/Missouri:

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Missouri’s Richardson Makes Amends with Richt After Georgia’s Win

Kansas City Star: This Is Just the Start of the Tigers’ Climb