TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In Florida State’s 70 years of football, there have been national championships, Heisman Trophy winners and a slew of All-Americans and national award winners.
But no one in the history of the program has accomplished what Florida State’s seniors can on Saturday.
With a win over Florida, Florida State’s four-year seniors would complete a perfect 8-0 sweep over rivals Miami and UF. No other group of Seminoles can say they won four straight against both Miami and Florida.
“I think it means a lot to the seniors’ legacy here, and the foundation that we set,” senior cornerback Marquez White said. “This is my last time playing in this stadium. Last home game. This is the way I want to go out. This is the way I want to be remembered. So, it means a lot to have this opportunity.”
In truth, Florida State is already in the midst of an unprecedented run of dominance against its in-state rivals.
The Seminoles earlier this season beat Miami for a seventh straight year, which is the longest streak by either school in the 61-year history of the series.
And FSU has been almost as good against the Gators, having won of five its last six against UF.
All told, coach Jimbo Fisher is 12-1 against Miami and Florida since taking over in 2010 and is the first coach in school history to beat both UM and UF in three straight seasons.
“It’s important to us,” Fisher said. “It’s part of our goal, we always say that. The state of Florida is a dynamic football state. If you can play with Miami and Florida, you’re usually in the national title hunt.”
With such close proximity between FSU and Florida, players on each roster are bound to feel a personal connection to the rivalry.
Senior defensive end DeMarcus Walker grew up in Jacksonville, a city that leans orange and blue, and said he often felt pressured by friends to head down the road to Gainesville for college.
So much so that when Walker picked the Seminoles, he had to issue an ultimatum to any Gator fans back home:
“I told them straight up,” Walker said, “you’re either with me or you’re against me. You’re in my way.”
White, meanwhile, hails from Dothan, Ala., where the annual “Iron Bowl” between Alabama and Auburn is king.
Even still, White said he always made it a priority to catch the Seminoles and Gators each year.
“I made sure I watched this rivalry every year when I was little,” White said. “So many legends played in it, so many first-round picks, so many Heisman winners played in this game. It’s a great game to play in.”
And, as far as Florida State’s seniors are concerned, it’s a great game to win.
Years in which FSU has beaten both Miami and Florida:
1964: FSU 14, Miami 0; FSU 16, Florida 7
1978: FSU 31, Miami 21; FSU 38, Florida 21
1979: FSU 40, Miami 23; FSU 27, Florida 16
1989: FSU 24, Miami 10; FSU 24, Florida 17
1993: FSU 34, Miami 20; FSU 33, Florida 21
1996: FSU 34, Miami 16; FSU 24, Florida 21
1998: FSU 26, Miami 14; FSU 23, Florida 12
1999: FSU 31, Miami 21; FSU 30, Florida 23
2010: FSU 45, Miami 17; FSU 31, Florida 7
2011: FSU 23, Miami 19; FSU 21, Florida 7
2013: FSU 41, Miami 14; FSU 37, Florida 7
2014: FSU 30, Miami 26; FSU 24, Florida 19
2015: FSU 29, Miami 24; FSU 27, Florida 2