The Florida Gators have turned into the answer to a trivia question.
The Florida State Seminoles have won an astonishing 27 consecutive games in a row dating back to 2012. Who was the last team to beat them? The Florida Gators.
The Gators endured an emotional week after the firing of Will Muschamp last Sunday. By Muschamp’s own admission the team was unfocused on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this past week but they handled business on Saturday with a 52-3 win over Eastern Kentucky.
“It’ll hit me when the season is over,” Muschamp said of the finality of his time in Gainesville fast approaching. “I’ve already switched gears to next week, that’s just what we do.”
Next week brings a tall task. The Seminoles have had some close games this season, including a three point win on the back of a last second field goal to beat Tyler Murphy and Boston College on Saturday. The Noles are enjoying their quest for a repeat as national champions as much as the Gators did in 2009. Every game is seemingly more arduous; one part satisfaction three parts relief.
The players are astutely aware of the success their cross-state rival is experiencing, even more so than you might imagine.
“It was to us,” senior linebacker Mike Taylor answered when asked if he knew who the last loss was for the Noles. “We wore the white tops, orange bottoms. I was there; I was a little sick, under the weather. I dressed out but, yeah, I remember the last time they lost a game, it was to us. Let’s go start that up again.”
Unlike last year, Florida’s season won’t end with the FSU game. The Gators 52-3 win on Saturday made them bowl eligible. It will, however, be the last game that the Gators play with Will Muschamp.
Muschamp will coach the Gators in Tallahassee — his swan song. Following the win on Saturday the players lifted Muschamp up in the locker room, dancing singing and yelling. They love their coach and want nothing more than to send him out a winner.
The Seminoles won’t make things easy for Florida. Florida State is playing for a chance to make the College Football Playoff and a loss next week would almost certainly knock them out of contention for that.
On paper, Florida will likely be a double-digit underdog on the road. That doesn’t matter to them. They are riding high off of a win. They’re playing for a coach that they love and it’s rivalry week in Gainesville.
Asked if he knew how many games FSU had won in a row, defensive lineman Alex McCalister shrugged before being informed of the total.
“Yeah, we’re going to end that,” he said. “Don’t worry about that.”