FSU out to continue several streaks vs. Florida

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Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, who is 6-1 against Florida, said this game still has significance on how a season is judged. [The Associated Press]
TALLAHASSEE — Florida State and Florida usually have a lot more on the line than bragging rights.

Saturday’s meeting is a rarity for the Sunshine State series.

It’s only the second time since the series began in 1958 that both schools have losing records coming into the game. The only other time it happened was 1959, when the Seminoles were 3-5 and the Gators were 3-4-1. Florida went on to win, 18-8.

Both teams are 4-6 after winning on Saturday — Florida State defeated Delaware State 77-6, and Florida stopped a four-game slide with a 36-7 victory over UAB.

The last time the Seminoles had a losing record when they faced the Gators this late in the season was 1973, when they were 0-10. This is the third time since 1979 that Florida has been under .500 heading into the FSU game.

This also marks only the fifth time since 1978 that neither team is ranked.

“Both teams are extremely used to success. Always have been, always will be, and will be in the future,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. “That’s why it’s one of the great rivalries because there’s true meaning in the outcome of the game.”

Florida interim coach Randy Shannon said the game still has significance due to former high school teammates going up against each other.

“They take a lot of pride in what they do at Florida State, just like we do at Florida,” he said. “A lot of these guys on this football team have former teammates at Florida State. So when they go home, who gets the bragging rights? It’s not just one day, it’s the whole entire year.”

The game has more immediate significance for the Seminoles, who are trying to keep a couple streaks alive.

—They have won four straight against the Gators, matching their longest winning streak against Florida (1977-80, 1987-90).

—Florida State needs a win on Saturday and Dec. 2 against Louisiana Monroe to become bowl eligible for the 36th consecutive season. It is trying to avoid its first losing campaign since Bobby Bowden’s first year in 1976.

“We know that our bowl hopes and the streaks are riding on it. This week is important for our season and for us to come out on top,” center Alec Eberle said.

Fisher, who is 6-1 against Florida, said the game still has significance on how a season is judged. He said he learned that first-hand in 2012.

“I remember we were 12-2 and lost to Florida that year and won an Orange Bowl and everyone was mad,” he said. “We won the ACC. And people weren’t happy.”

While Gators fans are focusing on who might be the team’s next coach, Shannon said the message to players this week has been to focus on what they can control.

Shannon said if a new coach is named this week, it won’t be a distraction.

“The only job I worry about is the job I got now,” he said. “That’s the interim head coach. I don’t worry about anything else. If I worry about anything else, I wouldn’t do my job now. I really don’t worry about those types of things, to be honest with you.”

13 COMMENTS

  1. I believe Jimbo starting to sound weary at FSU and if not for 39 million buy out would be ready to leave this year. Our latest coaching search has made realize how fortunate FSU has been at the process 2 coaches 40 years both highly successful. It just makes me hate them even more!

    • Has Fisher really been highly successful? Everyone’s starting to realize he isn’t such a great coach after all, especially at developing players. I mean what has he really done other than win one title with a Qb that any coach would’ve won with? Every season FSU is a playoff favorite and every season they underperform. Hell Mac had as many wins as him his first 2 seasons and he had a far more talented team. FSU wasn’t losing this season because of Francois that’s for sure, as Blackmon played pretty well. That supposed great defense has been atrocious. Is his success based off his record against Miami and UF, which was a direct result of taking over the program as soon as both of those schools were in a downward spiral? I don’t see them beating Miami again for a while and depending on the next Gator coach, that may be the same results here as well. That huge buyout is going to become a nightmare very soon.

      • Joe. Losing Franscois is a huge reason FSU has struggled this year. Blackmon has improved throughout the year, but he has been bad in many of the FSU games this year that I have watched. And the FSU defense has struggled because the FSU offense has struggled. Sound familiar? If Fisher does not leave (not sure how he can with that buyout), he will likely fire many of his assistant coaches (other than the top recruiting assistants) and start over with those guys next year. If Florida can slow the run and put a lot of pressure on Blackmon and make him make multiple mistakes, Florida could win this game. But the Florida offense must be better in the passing game if they want to win this game, and the receivers have to catch the ball when Franks does make good decisions and throws, especially on third down throws. And maybe Nussmeier will not run the ball after every pass and pass the ball after every run this game.

        • The passing game has been so frustrating. The WRs can’t get anything going because the ball is rarely ever there. The QB can’t get into rhythm because when he does throw a decent pass it’s dropped.

          Is it me or have others also felt that the few times we DO get a great connection — a good pass or unlikely reception — it’s never during a big 3rd down situation or at a time when it matters.

    • I keep reading that, but it could be that this is just “one of those seasons” for FSU. Hard to say at this point, really. Heard last night that Texas A&M plans on going full court press for him just as soon as the season ends. One thing is for sure though, FSU has pulled pretty far ahead of us now in terms of “eliteness”, and I for one and getting damned tired of it.

  2. At least some of us are old enough to remember back when U.F. and F.S.U. were in the Top 10, even Top 5 at the same time, when they met after Thanksgiving weekends. The butterflies I got in my stomach, due to the thought that the winner would possibly go on to the National Championship game. No game was better than playing F.S.U. in the Sugar Bowl for ”all the marbles”, for the CRYSTAL FOOTBALL the BCS handed out at the end of the ’96 season.
    Yea, 52-20 may never happen again in this life! But many of us got to see it! Some things are so good, they may never return, as they were ”once in a lifetime”. Therefore, I am so ”thankful” and happy it happened in my lifetime! U.F.’s 1st ever Football National Championship was over F.S.U., 52-20! Go Gators!

    • At least some of us are old enough to remember back before Spurrier & Bowden.
      When nether team had ever won SEC or ACC or any other conference championship.
      Nether team was ever “great”, only occasionally good.
      Nether team could beat ranked teams.
      Unfortunately that was a lot more years ago than the last 25 or so years.

      I am glad you young fellows only remember the recent years because UF & FSU history was mostly bad.

      GO GATORS.

      They will always be MY team win or lose.

    • Sure it can happen again. The disadvantage of playing your season ending rival OOC is that it always keeps your overall schedule strength hard. The advantage is the above possibility — especially since we have conference championships.

      Although I’d rather FSU goes through a few years of abysmal play and coaching hires/firing so I can repeatedly kick them while they are down. I did not take my opportunity to do that last time but I will never make that mistake again.

  3. Every team goes through “the cycle” where you lose some players to the NFL and coupled with injuries and a hot coach being hired somewhere in your league, you miss on a couple of recruits. FSU-Florida will always be big for the fans and the players if not the rest of the country. I don’t quite get why Jimbo would want to leave, especially for the SEC where the pressure to win is more than in the ACC. Perhaps the winning has gotten to FSU fans as it has gotten to us. There shouldn’t be any pressure on the UF players so go out and have fun beating FSU. GO Gators!