Florida Takes on FSU; Possible National Title Shot on the Line for the Gators


It’s that time of year. The holidays are upon us. A new year is right around the corner. The college football season is coming to an end. And




. With both teams beating


earlier this year, the mythical state championship is up for grabs.

Hate is a strong word, but one that’s almost comforting to use. It describes an absolute loathing. If you don’t care for something or simply dislike something, no real hate is involved. Your soul doesn’t burn with the thought of it. The things you hate awake you in the middle of the night. When you think about them you go from content to rage in the time it takes the time machine to get to 88 miles per hour. Basically it makes you want to punch old people. And more specifically, Bobby Bowden. To clarify for all of you that are still a little woozy from yesterday’s indulgings, I hate FSU and most of it centers on Bobby Bowden.

Let me start by saying, I have a number of friends that either attended FSU or are Seminole fans. I have no problem with that. I’m not one of those ignorant college football fans that hates a person just because of the team they cheer for. Each person has reasons for attending the school they went to or for cheering for the team they like. Good for them. They’re allowed to. What I hate, however, is the rival. I hate FSU as a football team. And aren’t I supposed to? I mean, I grew up a Gator fan. What type of Florida fan would I be if I didn’t hate the Noles? Just like a FSU fan hating the Gators, it’s natural.

Now as for Bowden, well again, it’s natural. And Bobby doesn’t make it hard not to like him. My blinders aren’t thick enough that I believe any coach is a saint. Coaches do what they can to win and sometimes that means bringing in players who don’t always turn out to be model citizens. But over the years, Bowden has mastered the art of not caring. His quotes have been comical if you’re not a Nole fan and probably frustrating if you are. I also had the displeasure of hearing Bowden speak in person once. It was for graduation at my high school the year after I left. Let’s just say, Bobby was just about as inspiring as he was in that pregame video that’s circulating around the internet.

Anyway, some people are looking at this game and seeing it as a possible road block in Florida’s way to the national title. I have to say I disagree. Then again, what do I know? I will give the Seminoles their due, if only for a second. FSU’s offense in year two under Jimbo Fisher is starting to show some improvement. They have shown some flashes and look like they could be on their way to returning to national prominence in the next few years. But take a look back at what the Gators have done over the last two months. The loss to Ole Miss ignited something within every single player that no coach or motivational speech could. Going into the season, Florida truly thought they could win the national title, but began the season not playing nearly as well as they could. That loss exposed the Gators to themselves and pushed Florida into another gear. Since then, you don’t want to be on their schedule.

Take, for instance, when Florida faced Bowden disciple Mark Richt and Georgia. The Bulldogs were ranked sixth and had only lost to the current #1 – Alabama. Many thought if Florida could get past Georgia, they would have a good chance to run the table and get back into the national title picture. The Gators got past the Bulldogs to the tune of 49-10. Do you really think they won’t be clicking on all cylinders when they face FSU? We’re seeing Florida play as well as they’ve ever played and while FSU has looked good at times this season, they’ve also looked like the Noles of the past few years at times. FSU will put up a fight, but in the end their focus might be miles away. Maryland travels to Boston College and kickoff is also at 3:30. If the Terrapins can get the win, the Noles will head to the ACC title game. For them, the Florida game is for pride and nothing more. For the Gators, you can add the possibility of a national title shot to that pride. And that counts for a lot. Go Gators!