This weekend’s Florida–Florida State matchup is as big as any in college football. In the 90s, the game was a clash of the titans, with both teams ranked in the top 10 consistently at every meeting. Each team was in the national spotlight every year, and there was a great deal of drama in the rivalry.
The 90s Bobby Bowden era at Florida State was the golden age for the ‘Noles, with two national titles in just six years (1993 and 1999). From 1987 to 2000, the Seminoles finished every season with at least 10 wins and were ranked in the top five of the AP Polls. Indeed, Bowden still holds the record as one of the top-five winningest coaches of all time.
Steve Spurrier took the Gators from a scandal-plagued, bastard stepchild of the SEC to a well-oiled machine. He led the Gators to the best record in the SEC in his first year. The following year, Spurrier captured the Gators’ first SEC title in 1991. Under Spurrier, the Gators won the SEC title in four of the next five years. In 1997, the Gators trounced FSU 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl to claim their first national title.
Bowden was charming and lovable, while Spurrier seemed to relish the villainous role in which he had been cast. Spurrier’s finesse and Bowden’s no-holds-barred, reckless style gave the rivalry plenty of drama and made the competition mesmerizing to watch. This rivalry was the stuff of college football legend, and this weekend’s game promises to hearken back to that era. I say, huzzah!
This weekend, No. 12 Florida hosts No. 13 Florida State in a matchup that promises to mimic the legendary games of the past. The stakes are insanely high this weekend. If Florida wins, they may have a shot at the College Football Playoff; if the Seminoles win, in-state bragging rights and recruiting momentum are on the line. Both teams look to be back on track to their 90s-era luster, so look for this game to get better every year. This game will be about the national title again soon. Either way, it’s a giant welcome back to the big time for the state of Florida. It’s good to be the king.