UF vs. FSU like old days
Published: Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 8:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 8:17 p.m.
The Florida-Florida State game is always big. But Saturday's game in Tallahassee is bigger than most, and certainly the biggest in the heated rivalry since 2000, the last time these two teams were both in the top 10 when they met.
Who: No. 6 Florida (10-1) at No. 10 Florida State (10-1)
When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850
The 10-1 Gators and the 10-1 Seminoles not only are back in the top 10 together (UF is at No. 6 in the AP poll, FSU at No. 10), but they both still have a possible path to the BCS Championship Game after No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon were upset Saturday night.
“We've had an outstanding year and they've got a good football team,” UF coach Will Muschamp said on his Sunday television show. “It's getting back kind of to the old of the '90s era of two nationally ranked football teams, two top-10 teams. It ought to be a lot of fun.”
It could be real fun — and very rewarding — for the winner, who could eventually end up in the national title game if the new No. 1, Notre Dame, falls at Southern Cal on Saturday.
There's a chance the Gators will go into Saturday's game without starting quarterback Jeff Driskel for the second straight week. He sprained his ankle in the second half of the Louisiana-Lafayette game two weeks ago and Muschamp said it's too early to determine his status.
“We'll see how Jeff moves around Monday and Tuesday and go from there,” Muschamp said.
Overall, Muschamp said the Gators should be close to full strength for the game.
“We feel OK for this time of the year,” he said. “We'll be pretty healthy going into the game.”
True sophomore Jacoby Brissett filled in for Driskel against Jacksonville State on Saturday and helped lead the Gators to a 23-0 victory, completing 14-of-22 passes for 154 yards with no turnovers.
“I thought he played very well,“ Muschamp said. “He made really good decisions with the ball. He had a good throwaway in the red zone there in the first quarter. He's really managed our football team.
“We got very conservative in the second half simply because of the game we've got coming up this week, No. 1. No. 2, the game was in hand. Defensively we had it under control.”
The victory on Senior Day moved the Gators to 10-1 for just the seventh time in school history and, coupled with Saturday night's upsets, has put the Gators in a position to remain a factor in the national championship race.
Muschamp thanked his seniors again Sunday.
“I credit the senior class, and I credit last year's senior class for continuing to fight and understand what we wanted to do,” Muschamp said. “We had outstanding bowl practices last year preparing for the Gator Bowl. You really can see our football team swinging then.
“We recruited well. We had a bunch of freshmen who came in and helped our football team this year in the right way. We had a great spring, a great offseason. I'm real proud of the seniors for how they've helped our football team.”
The Gators now find themselves preparing for probably the biggest game in the brief Muschamp era, one that could lead to something even bigger.
It's kind of like the 1990s all over again, when UF and FSU were elite programs and both teams were in the top 10 in every game in the rivalry between 1990-2000.
“It's a rivalry game,” Muschamp said. “It's an important game for the University of Florida.”
More important than it was just two days ago, before Kansas State and Oregon fell.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or email@example.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.