Would you consider it a rivalry if the record after 20 games was 16-3-1? Would you consider it a rivalry if the two teams met for 9 consecutive years when each was ranked?
I’ve expressed my passion and respect for The Game. I feel Florida and Florida State is the second-best rivalry of the last 30 years.
The Sunshine State Showdown dates back to 1958 when #12 ranked Florida stomped the unranked Florida State Seminoles 21-7 in Gainesville. It took FSU until 1964 to crack the Gators’ code and earn a victory in this new in-state rivalry.
The Noles did not win their 3rd game against UF until 1977. Florida State could not put together a win streak greater than 1 game before 1977 – the first of 4 straight.
It was not until the 1990s when Florida State experienced their first winning decade in the rivalry – winning 7 of 12 games including a Sugar Bowl title.
The Gators rolled back on top in the 2000s only to be put back under by Jameis Winston and the championship-caliber FSU teams of the 2010s. The Noles won 5 straight Sunshine State Showdowns from 2013-2017.
The Gators stopped the bleeding last season with a commanding 41-14 trouncing on the road in Tallahassee. This game marked the changing of the guard in Florida. New Gator HC Dan Mullen won his first UF-FSU game convincingly – ushering in a new era.
The Gators are leading the all-time series 35-26-2 and are once again the state’s dominant team.
Current Gator Defense
Florida’s calling card in 2019 is a stifling defense that allows an average of 14.2 points per game and 303.5 yards per game to its opponents. These numbers rank very highly among FBS teams.
A dominant defense allows Florida to win with a subpar offense. Backup quarterback Kyle Trask is doing an admirable job moving the ball through SEC defenses, but many of the Gator’s points are a result of good defense.
It is this defense that gives UF the competitive edge against the Seminoles on Saturday night.
I know one thing about this rivalry – Florida takes care of business. SportsReference tells us the Gators are 12-0 when they are ranked and FSU is not.
The Gators have never taken this game lightly in the past. Dan Mullen made it very clear last season that he would continue this tradition.
Here’s the problem – the sportsbooks realized that Florida was a shoo in. The Bovada ML is currently at Florida (-1200). You must lay $1200 to profit $100 on the Florida ML this week.
I normally do not like laying massive odds so I have included an alternate, fun Rivalry Week Parlay for those who would rather try their chance at yielding large profits from a small bet.
This particular 2-team parlay pays just over 7.6 to 1, meaning you could net $150 on a $20 bet.
This parlay is fun because it involves betting two underdogs but seems very doable because each underdog is a top-15 team at home.
9-2 Michigan tangles with 11-0 Ohio State in The Game at 12:00pm ET Saturday. Blue opened as 1-point favorites but are now +9 (-105) at home.
The ML on Michigan is (+260). I like the fact they were favored by Vegas in the opening line. This gives me confidence in the possibility of an upset. This is the first leg of the parlay.
The second is the Iron Bowl – Alabama at Auburn – Saturday at 3:30pm ET. Even on the road Alabama is -3.5 (-105). Auburn won the Iron Bowl the last time they hosted – 2017.
LSU proved that Alabama is mortal. I like the chances of Auburn to deliver another blow to the giant. The Auburn ML is (+140).
The two-team parlay is as follows:
Michigan ML (+260)
Auburn ML (+140)
It pays out +760! This is a fun way to add excitement to your Rivalry Weekend without incurring much risk.
Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy Rivalry Weekend! See you on top!