Nov. 17, 1999
By RICHARD ROSENBLATT
AP Football Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Unlike some of Saturday’s rivalry games, Florida-Florida State needs no
gimmick. It’s not The Game or the Big Game or the Apple Cup. There are no
barrels, baskets or buckets on the line, either.
When the top-ranked Seminoles (10-0) and third-ranked Gators (9-1) meet in
The Swamp, they’ll play for one prize – a ticket to the national championship
In four of the past six seasons, the Florida-Florida State winner has played
for the national title. The teams even met for the title in the Sugar Bowl
after the Seminoles beat the Gators in the ’96 regular season.
Florida State won its only national title in 1993, while Florida won its
championship in ’96.
“We are looking forward to the game, a typical game,” Gators coach Steve
Spurrier said. “FSU is usually 10-0 or 9-1, we are usually 9-1. We have been
10-0 a couple times coming into it. Each team has an opportunity to keep on
going in the national picture.”
If the Seminoles win, they are a virtual lock to finish first in the final
BCS standings, which determine the teams in its national title game (the Sugar
Bowl on Jan. 4). If the Gators win, they would then need to win the SEC title
game on Dec. 4 to put themselves in a strong position to play for another
OK, OK. The winner get the Governor’s Cup, but so do lots of other games
between state rivals.
The Seminoles seem to have the edge, at least at quarterback. Chris Weinke
has thrown for 2,840 yards and 24 touchdowns, including six last week against
Maryland. He lines up against the Gators for the first time.
“Hands down, it’s the biggest game of my career,” said Weinke, who missed
the final few games of last season with a neck injury.
The Gators counter with Doug Johnson – and Jesse Palmer. A cranky Spurrier
indicated this week Johnson will start, but Palmer will play, too. The two may
even alternate every play, just like Johnson and Noah Brindise did when the
Gators beat the ‘Noles 32-29 in ’97.
Johnson has thrown for 2,360 yards and 19 TDs, but has just three TD passes
– and five interceptions – in the Gators’ last five games. In last week’s 20-3
win over South Carolina, Johnson sat and Palmer played the whole game.
While the Seminoles are counting on an offense featuring wide receiver Peter
Warrick, the Gators are hoping their defense will come through. The Gators give
up 17.1 points a game and the rushing defense is fourth nationally at 71.6
yards a game.