Best Moments in Florida vs. Florida State College Football Rivalry

The Florida Gators vs. Florida State Seminoles rivalry seems to get stronger every year. There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned in-state dislike sprinkled into a rivalry to make it much better.

These teams first played in 1958, and the “Sunshine Showdown” has evolved into the state’s best rivalry. The game is usually played the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s been a back-and-forth rivalry, with Florida dominating the early portions, Florida State taking over in the late ’80s and throughout the ’90s, and the 2000s remaining highly competitive.

In this year’s BetMGM college football odds, the Gators have a win total of 7.5 (+120 Over/-145 Under) while the Seminoles’ is set at 6.5 (-130 Over/+110 Under).

Here’s a look at one of the Sunshine Showdown over the years:

All-time record: Florida leads 37-26-2

Record in the last ten meetings: Florida State leads 6-4

Longest Win Streak: Florida won nine straight

Current Streak: Florida has won three straight

Best game: Florida 32, Florida State 29 (1997)

The Seminoles entered this contest as a dominant force in college football. They held the No. 1 ranking in the country and had been eviscerating opponents, holding an average margin of victory of nearly four touchdowns per game. When they jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first half, it looked like the same song and dance all over again.

Steve Spurrier’s  Gators had other plans, mounting a furious second-half comeback. They trailed the ‘Noles 29-25 in the fourth quarter until running back Fred Taylor barrelled into the end zone for his fourth touchdown to cap a three-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Taylor’s score gave the Gators a 32-29 lead they would not relinquish. 

Biggest upset: Florida 20, Florida State 13 (2004)

The Gators entered this contest as a six-win team with nothing left to play for other than a chance to beat their rivals. Meanwhile, the Seminoles were a top-ten team sporting an 8-2 record.

Ron Zook’s last game as Florida’s head coach proved one of his most memorable, as the Gators pulled off a 20-13 upset win while controlling the clock and holding FSU under 50% passing on the day.

Top performer: RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State

Now starring in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings, it was apparent during his time in college with the Seminoles that Dalvin Cook was a special player. He played three games against the Gators in his career and accumulated 480 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 76 attempts, good for 6.3 yards per carry. 

Is it a coincidence that Florida State won all three of the games in which Cook was on the field? Certainly not! The star running back led his team to a perfect 3-0 record against its rivals while he was on campus.