Our annoying neighbors to the northwest have decided to do some trolling at our expense, so allow me to arm you with some knowledge with which to fire back.
A couple of weeks ago, FSU came out with “State Champs” rings for each of their players, coaches and anybody else who was even tangentially involved with the Noles’ 2015 football team. The idea was to make everybody feel like they’d actually accomplished something in a year in which they got humiliated by a mid major in a bowl game, failed to reach the ACC Championship Game, and most comically of all, lost to a team that finished the year with a losing record. Now that’s worth remembering- even the 2013 Gators, widely regarded as the single worst team either program has fielded in several decades, managed to avoid that dubious distinction.
But just like the New York Times proved their city’s police department did, FSU chose to ignore all the evidence that they didn’t like. Instead, someone in the FSU athletic offices elected to cherry-pick some data in order make up a title that not only has nobody ever recognized on an official basis before, but simply does not exist.
Florida state champions.
That’s an honor that the FSU athletic department shelled out… get ready for this… $62,010 dollars to get to brag about. You read that right: Florida State’s football program, with thousands of fans ready to yap about how their team is one of the nation’s best at a moment’s notice, wasted more than sixty two thousand dollars to try to claim a distinction that’s reserved for high school teams.
Yes, FSU, you did smash Florida’s teeth in last November, and yes, you managed to escape Miami’s terrifying upset bid a few weeks before that. You have every right to brag about those wins. But if you’re going to proclaim yourselves “State Champs” for beating two schools conveniently located in the same state, maybe you should understand that Florida has accomplished what you did a hell of a lot more times than you did- and without the King Kong chest beating.
Instead of sinking down to the level of FSU’s athletic department with some counter-trolling that would have a far weaker reach and/or effect, I did some research. Here is a list of years in which the Florida Gators have the right to proclaim themselves “State Champs.”
|Year||Coach||FSU score||Miami score||Notes|
|1995||Steve Spurrier||35-24||N/A||FSU def. Miami|
|1996||Steve Spurrier||73-44*||N/A||FSU def. Miami|
|1997||Steve Spurrier||32-29||N/A||FSU def. Miami|
|2005||Urban Meyer||34-7||N/A||FSU def. Miami|
|2006||Urban Meyer||21-14||N/A||FSU def. Miami|
|2007||Urban Meyer||45-12||N/A||Miami def. FSU; UF #13, MIA NR|
|2009||Urban Meyer||37-10||N/A||Miami def. FSU; UF #3, MIA #19|
|2012||Will Muschamp||37-26||N/A||FSU def. Miami|
|Total state championships: 25|
Note: *Florida and FSU played twice in 1996, and split the two match ups. The composite score of those two games was 73-44 for Florida; FSU won the first game 24-21, Florida won the rematch in a game we Gators like to refer to as our first national championship by the significantly more dominant score of 52-20.
To their credit, 2015 wasn’t the first time FSU could call themselves state champs. If you’re curious, here is a list of all the times FSU beat Florida and Miami in the same year: 1964, 1967, 1978, 1979, 1989, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. For all those Nole fans struggling with math: your team has pulled off the feat 13 times. That’s barely half as many times as Florida’s done it, but, you know.
And I get that Florida hasn’t played Miami in several of those years I proclaimed the Gators “state champs.” Believe me, I’m probably one of a very select few Gator fans who takes full responsibility for my team dropping the Hurricanes from the annual schedule. But in each of those years I awarded the Gators “state champs” honors without a head to head win over Miami, Florida either beat an FSU team that beat Miami or finished the year with a higher ranking than the Canes in addition to beating FSU head to head. Pretty hard to argue that the Gators were the state’s best team when either or both of those facts worked in their favor.
I can hear FSU fans right now saying I finagled the data to make my team look good. To which my response is, “you misspelled Seminoles.com in the search bar.”
But anyway: if FSU wants to call themselves state champs, they are effectively winning the first battle in a war they started out of the blue- a war that Florida wins handily. The best part? UF didn’t even have to spend north of $62K in order to win it.