Florida State vs. Florida: the History of a Rivalry

The arguably epic football rivalry between Florida State and near neighboring University of Florida has spanned over five decades.  Although the first game between the two was played in November of 1958, the relationship between the schools can be traced to the first decade of the twentieth-century.

In 1905 the Florida legislature passed the Buckman Act which disbanded Tallahassee’s coeducational Florida State College.  The mandate designated the Tallahassee campus as an all-female school and changed the name to Tallahassee campus to Florida State College for Women while simultaneously establishing an all-male school in Gainesville.  During the next forty years the University of Florida was viewed by many students at F.S.C.W. as their counterpart and many of the students in Tallahassee supported the men’s sports teams in Gainesville.

Newspaper comic from 1966.
Newspaper comic from 1966.

Following the Second World War the Tallahassee campus once again became coeducational in order to accommodate returning G.I.s who were seeking a college education and the newly christened Florida State University immediately established its own football team.  It took nearly a decade of negotiation to finally sanction an annual game between the Florida State Seminoles and the University of Florida Gators.

The first twenty years of competition were dominated by The Gators who achieved a nine-game long winning streak beginning in 1968 and ending in 1976.  One of the most controversial showdowns took place in 1966, when a game-winning Seminole pass from the Gators’ 45-yard-line was ruled incomplete despite photographic evidence suggesting otherwise.  The next day the Florida State Flambeau ran headlines announcing a Seminole win, despite the officials’ ruling.

The rivalry became increasingly heated over the following years as Florida State began to even the balance with a four-year streak from 1977 through 1980 then again from 1987 through 1990.  In November of 1994 the Seminoles made an awe-inspiring comeback to tie the Gators who had led 31-3 in the fourth-quarter.  In 2012 the Seminoles put an end to a six-season Gator streak.  The rivalry continues this month as the 4-7 Gators meet the 11-0 Seminoles in Gainesville on November 30th.

Timeline of FSU-UF Games
Timeline of FSU-UF Games

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