No team gets me angrier, faster than FSU. Georgia may be Florida’s oldest and most traditional rival, but being born in 1985, I grew up in the 1990s. During that time Georgia was Florida’s whipping boy, and the FSU game had national title implications almost every year. That fact is reflected in the fact that College GameDay has visited the Florida – Florida State game more often than any other.
The rivalry looked like it was going to tail off this decade with the coinciding Jeff Bowden and Ron Zook eras, until the 2003 Swindle in the Swamp reignited it. Again, no game makes me angrier, faster than that one. Let’s just move on.
Then you had FSU QB Wyatt Sexton in 2004, visiting the homecoming game against South Carolina while wearing a Florida sweatshirt.
The following year, Florida won what Gators fans call the Ron Zook Field game, launching a 3 game (and counting) win streak. Let’s count how many ways FSU’s hubris showed in honoring ol’ Bobby at the game against its biggest, most fierce rival:
- Named the field after him
- Unveiled a statue of him
- Unveiled the 5th largest stained glass window in North America with his image
- Announced bronze busts of him would be for sale
Now, not only are items 3 and 4 disturbing on several levels, it also served up more than enough motivation for the Gators that day. It’d be one thing to do all of this for your homecoming game against Duke or something, but you don’t do that against your biggest rival. That is, of course, unless you’re concerned that you’re not going to fill up the whole stadium for any other game, which is entirely possible.
FSU is not known for being smart.
Now, this year has some excitement provided by one Geno Hayes, an FSU linebacker known for physical play. He has said Tim Tebow is “going down,” that “the bigger they are, the harder they fall,” and that he plans on ruining Tebow’s Heisman campaign.
That’s fine; after all, the Semis ruined Matt Ryan’s Heisman campaign a couple weeks ago. However, Ryan is no Tim Tebow. Neither, for that matter, is Mr. Hayes – Geno is listed at 6’2″, 218, while Tebow is listed at 6’3″, 235.
Credit to Hayes for picking a fight with someone bigger than him, but he should be warned that Tebow steamrolled LSU’s prized safety LaRon Landry last year, he of the 6th overall pick in the draft. Tebow said he’s going to remember the words on the field, and if you recall, Tebow grew up a Gator fan in the same era as I did so he’s going to have similar feelings about FSU as I do.
He’s going to have plenty to play for even if he really is not thinking about the Heisman at all.
What’s got two thumbs and players who can’t keep their traps shut? This guy!
FSU comes into the game a minor mess of a team. The much ballyhooed change of coaching staff has yielded almost exactly the same stats as last year’s team. The Weatherford-Lee quarterback carousel has been spinning again, though Lee is now permanently out the rest of the season with severe brain cramps. Only a Weatherford injury will cause him to see time again.
In recent weeks, FSU had an epic 4th quarter collapse against Virginia Tech, and it nearly blew a big lead against Maryland. The best success they’ve had on offense ironically has come from taking a page out of Florida’s playbook – having WR Preston Parker take over at running back. The Semis needed some stability back there after having no less than nine players register a carry against VT.
As for the passing game, the Jeff Bowden jump ball will likely be employed early and often against Florida’s weak and banged up secondary, especially since 6’3″ DeCody Fagg and 6’6″ Greg Carr are going to be the targets under those jump balls. Hopefully, the SEC refs will grab the correct glasses for the game, because Carr commits offensive pass interference on nearly every jump ball thrown to him, but I guess it’s never called because he’s just so big and tall.
I can say without snark that the offensive game plan for Florida will likely play out how it did against FAU. FSU is 15th overall against the run, but 74th against the pass. It’s likely going to be Tebow distributing the ball at will with his arm, and some running every now and then on the side to keep the defense honest. I really don’t see a situation that leads to FSU winning this game if Florida plays up to its potential and continues its hot streak from the past couple games.
Another FSU season spirals down the drain.
FSU has finished conference play tied for 6th (!) in the ACC with Georgia Tech. I don’t know how the ACC tiebreakers work, but the bowl that takes the ACC #6 is the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte on the 29th, and the bowl that takes the ACC #7 is the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco. Right now, GT and FSU have identical records, but if GT beats UGA this weekend (oh Lord, please make it so) and UF beats FSU, then the Semis will probably end up reprising their role as the ACC rep in the Emerald Bowl. Florida, for its part is still hoping to sneak into the Sugar Bowl.
But, back to the game on hand. FSU will move the ball and score some points. Our defense hasn’t shown it can hold anyone but Western Kentucky to under 20. However, I expect Florida to win, and possibly win big. Why?
For one, Urban Meyer has come out with the right game plan each of the last two years. Last year, Florida was just happy to get out Tallahassee with a win, which is fine since UF has had so much trouble winning there over the years. The year before that, though, it was a 34-7 drubbing that could have been worse. Meyer has the team playing some of its best football of the season right now, and Tim Tebow is playing at an unbelievably high level. Saturday, we make it 4 in a row.