The top 20 Gator football teams of all time: Nos. 11-15

Florida quarterback Rex Grossman, left, and Reche Caldwell celebrate a touchdown for Caldwell from Grossman against Auburn in the first half at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga. on Saturday December 2, 2000. (THE GAINESVILLE SUN/Alan Campbell)

No. 15

Year: 1969.

Record: 9-1-1.

Coach: Ray Graves.

Rings and trophies: Gator Bowl championship.

Signature win: Florida opened the season against a Houston team that had scored 100 points in a game the year before and was ranked No. 1 by Playboy magazine. The Gators weren’t given much of a chance, but hit a 70-yard bomb from John Reaves to Carlos Alvarez on the game’s third play and never looked back. UF won that game 59-34 to announce the arrival of the “Super Sophs”.

Why this team is No. 15: Florida had one bad game that year when Reaves threw nine interceptions against Auburn and a tie against Georgia. But that ’69 team was one of the most fun to watch and set a scoring record that stood until Steve Spurrier became the Florida coach. The Gators finished the season with a win over Tennessee in the Gator Bowl against the man who would become their next coach, Doug Dickey.

No. 14

Year: 2000.

Record: 9-3.

Coach: Steve Spurrier.

Rings and trophies: SEC East champions, SEC champions.

Signature win: Florida beat five ranked teams that year, but the biggest win came in Atlanta when the Gators handled Auburn 28-6 to win the last of Spurrier’s six SEC championships. The late Reche Caldwell scored Florida’s first two touchdowns of the game and the Gators cruised to the SEC title.

Why this team is No. 14: It had been four years since Florida had won the SEC and a loss to Mississippi State (one that was avenged brutally the following year) almost got in the way of making it to the title game. But Spurrier made it work using both Jesse Palmer and Rex Grossman as his quarterbacks. The closing loss in the Sugar Bowl to Miami put a slight damper on it.

No. 13

Year: 1966.

Record: 9-2

Coach: Ray Graves.

Rings and trophies: Orange Bowl championship.

Signature win: We all know the story about Steve Spurrier kicking a 40-yard field goal to beat Auburn 30-27 in a game that was downright crazy with all of its twists and turns. It was Homecoming and Auburn was not ranked, but the kick still won Spurrier the Heisman Trophy and put Florida on the college football map. 

Why this team is No. 13: This was one of the most important seasons for Florida football even though there was no SEC title. And obviously it was important in Spurrier’s career. If Georgia hadn’t handled the Gators that season, who knows if Spurrier would have gone 11-1 against the Bulldogs as a coach. This was also Florida’s first major bowl win, 27-12 over Georgia Tech.

No. 12

Year: 1928.

Record: 8-1.

Coach: Charles Bachman.

Rings and trophies: None.

Signature win: Florida had lost six straight to Georgia when the two teams met at Municipal Stadium in Savannah, Ga. By the time this game was over, Florida fans rushed the field and tore down the goalposts. Clyde Crabdtree broke a 6-6 tie with a TD, Dale Van Sickel caught a touchdown pass and Rainey Cawthon finished off the ‘Dogs with a winding 40-yard touchdown run 26-6.

Why this team is No. 12: We know this team was before your time, but Florida had a shot at going to the Orange Bowl before losing a controversial game at Tennessee 13-12. So these Gators were a point away from going undefeated. They also led the nation in scoring and only allowed 44 points all season.

No. 11

Year: 1985.

Record: 9-1-1.

Coach: Galen Hall.

Rings and trophies: First in the SEC.

Signature win: Florida won in a place where it had a history of losing and the reward was that the Gators were ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history. The 14-10 win at Auburn included two touchdown passes from Kerwin Bell to Ray McDonald and a defense that stifled Bo Jackson, eventually knocking him out of the game with a thigh bruise.  

Why this team is No. 11: Florida was ineligible for the SEC title or a bowl game because of NCAA sanctions, but the Gators were 5-1 in the SEC and tied with Tennessee, a team that UF defeated. That’s why this team is considered an SEC champ. There was the strange tie with Rutgers when Hall decided to sit his starters with a lead and the loss to Georgia, but this team was special on both offense and defense.



  1. PS the game was way before most of our times just as were the post cards depicting Gator Bait folk lore which nobody remembers except for a school President and maybe a professor of oral history. Gator Bait Forever!