College Football Week 12: Florida Gators go west…to Ron Zook Field

The consistently inconsistent Gators travel two hours west to Ron Zook Field at Doak Campbell Stadium to visit also consistently inconsistent School Out West in their 55th meeting. Florida leads the all-time series 33-19-2, has won the previous six meetings, and is undefeated in this match-up under Urban Meyer. This is a rivalry game, so anything can happen. Typically, the higher ranked team has emerged victorious in this series unless both are ranked pretty closely. Given that piece of information, I would be tempted to give SOW the definite advantage since they will go into the game ranked #22 and UF will again be unranked. One could counter that argument and say that UF is probably ranked #26 out of 25 ranked teams, which is close enough to call their rankings a wash. Maybe. The Gators are out of the SEC East race and are trying to salvage their 6-4, 4-4 season by getting into either the Outback Bowl (Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio State or Penn State), Chick-Fil-A Bowl (FSU, Miami, or NC State) or the Gator Bowl (Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio State or Penn State). A convincing win here could possibly put them in the CFA Bowl against the ACC #2 team and ensure their regular season record would be no worse than a Ron Zook-era record. A loss would not kill Florida, but that would put it teetering on a 0.500 record if they lose their bowl game. It could be worse–the bowl game could be against longtime rival Miami (FL) or a rematch against SOW in the CFA Bowl. As for SOW, they are out of the ACC championship running and are playing for the CFA Bowl or Gator Bowl as well with a win here and some help from another ACC team losing.

The Gators have whipped the ‘Noles badly the past few years, so expect them to exact some revenge on the weakest Gator team they are likely to see in a long time.

Year Team and Rank Score Team and Rank Score Site
2002 11 Florida 14 23 FSU 31 Tallahassee, FL
2003 11 Florida 34 9 FSU 38 Gainesville, FL
2004 NR Florida 20 8 FSU 13 Tallahassee, FL
2005 19 Florida 34 21 FSU 7 Gainesville, FL
2006 4 Florida 21 NR FSU 14 Tallahassee, FL
2007 13 Florida 45 NR FSU 12 Gainesville, FL
2008 4 Florida 45 20 FSU 15 Tallahassee, FL
2009 1 Florida 37 NR FSU 10 Gainesville, FL
2010 NR Florida ?? 24 FSU ?? Tallahassee, FL

The Gators hope to end the regular season with a win over the in-state rivals, but the School Out West can smell blood in the water as the Gators are wounded and vulnerable swimming into shark pool known as Doak Campbell Stadium. Will SOW be able to exploit the Gators while they are having a down season? The Gators have lost three home games and one game against the #1 team in America in that team’s home field. They also are 0-3 against ranked opponents.

Date Opponent# Rank Site Result
September 4, 2010* Miami (OH) #4 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, FL W 34–12
September 11, 2010* South Florida #8 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, FL W 38–14
September 18, 2010 at Tennessee #10 Neyland Stadium • Knoxville, TN 

(Florida-Tennessee rivalry)

W 31–17
September 25, 2010 Kentucky #9 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, FL W 48–14
October 2, 2010 at #1 Alabama #7 Bryant-Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL L 6–31
October 9, 2010 #12 LSU #14 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, FL L 29–33
October 16, 2010† Mississippi State #22 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, FL L 7–10
October 30, 2010 Georgia EverBank Field • Jacksonville, FL 

(Florida vs. Georgia Football Classic)

W 34–31 OT
November 6, 2010 at Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Stadium • Nashville, TN W 55–14
November 13, 2010 #22 South Carolina #24 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, FL L 14–36
November 20, 2010* Appalachian State Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, FL W 48–10
November 27, 2010* at #24 Florida State Doak Campbell Stadium • Tallahassee, FL 

(Florida-Florida State rivalry)

The School Out West already beat a ranked in-state rival, but lost its only other game against a ranked opponent. Also SOW individual numbers are just about as bad as Florida’s numbers, so these teams are very evenly matched. Check out their competition this year. I am only worried about this game, because the Gators are going to be the ones who will have to screw up in order to lose. This is a very winnable game for the Gators. That being said, I do have to repeat that if SOW is going to beat Florida anytime soon, it is going to have to be in this game.

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result
September 4* Samford #20 Doak Campbell Stadium • Tallahassee, FL W 59–6
September 11* at #10 Oklahoma #17 Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium • Norman, OK L 17–47
September 18* BYU Doak Campbell Stadium • Tallahassee, FL W 34–10
September 25 Wake Forest Doak Campbell Stadium • Tallahassee, FL W 31–0
October 2 at Virginia Scott Stadium • Charlottesville, VA (Jefferson–Eppes Trophy) W 34–14
October 9 at #13 Miami (FL) #23 Sun Life Stadium • Miami Gardens, FL (Miami – Florida State rivalry) W 45–17
October 16 Boston College #16 Doak Campbell Stadium • Tallahassee, FL W 24–19
October 28 at North Carolina State #16 Carter–Finley Stadium • Raleigh, NC L 24–28
November 6† North Carolina #24 Doak Campbell Stadium • Tallahassee, FL L 35–37
November 13 Clemson Doak Campbell Stadium • Tallahassee, FL W 16–13
November 20 at Maryland Byrd Stadium • College Park, MD W 30–16
November 27* Florida #22 Doak Campbell Stadium • Tallahassee, FL (Florida – Florida State rivalry)

Florida vs FSU OVERALL FBS RANKINGS a/o 21 Nov

Florida Category Florida St
202.8 yds (70th) PASSING YARDS 212.6 (63rd)
161.4 (48th) RUSHING YARDS 183.4 (33rd)
31.3 (40th) POINTS FOR 31.7 (37th)
20.2 (26th) POINTS AGAINST 18.8 (15th)

Keys to a Gator win:

  • For crying out loud–use the dual-threat QBs to help out Brantley.
  • Stuff the run. SOW does not have a marquee runner, but they have a platoon of decent ones.
  • Don’t let Ponder tear apart the secondary. That would be embarrassing.

Keys to a Criminole win:

  • Hit the QB.
  • Stuff the midget running backs.
  • Dare one of the freshmen on the Gator offense to beat you.
  • Beat Florida in special teams.

I think the Florida Gators can pull off an upset and protect their dominance. I would hope that the Gators consider this their bowl game and play with just as much intensity as they did against Appalachian State. SOW is no Appy State. I can easily see the Criminoles exacting revenge and beating the Gators by a TD, but I call this game 32-27 Gators. The ‘Noles are better than us this year, but not much better. The margin of disparity in talent, team chemistry, and athleticism can be overcome by the Gators.


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