What is the Sunshine Showdown? Florida State vs. Florida Rivalry Explained

    The Sunshine Showdown takes place once again Saturday as the Florida State Seminoles and the Florida Gators continue their heated and historical rivalry.

    The in-state rivalry known as “The Sunshine Showdown” between the Florida Gators and the Florida State Seminoles continues annually on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. The 2023 meeting marks the 67th meeting between the two teams.

    Here is a closer look into their rivalry, the history behind it, and who has taken the lead in the series.

    History of the Sunshine Showdown

    Florida and Florida State started their rivalry back in 1958 with Florida picking up the 21-7 win over Florida State. Between 1958 through 1976, the Gators won all three games with two Florida State wins and a tie.

    After 1976, Florida State started to be more competitive winning four straight until 1980 with Florida taking back control with six straight wins through 1986. Florida State asserted their dominance as the Gators only won five games from 1987 through 2003. Since 2010, it continued to be the Seminoles controlling the series with an 8-4 record against the Gators.

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    Every game has been played either at Gainesville or Tallahassee except for two games being played in New Orleans in 1995 and 1997. Those two games were the Sugar Bowl when the two teams collided. Their 1995 matchup resulted in Florida State beating Florida 23-17. As for the 1997 matchup, that was for the national championship with Florida getting revenge with a 52-20 win over the Seminoles.

    Overall, in the series, the Gators have the advantage with an overall record of 37-27-2. The longest winning streak in the series goes to Florida who won nine straight games between 1968 through 1976.

    Florida also has the largest margin of victory with a 49-0 win over the Seminoles in 1973. The Gators have won three of the last four matchups with Florida State winning last year’s matchup 45-38.

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    Florida State heads into Saturday’s showdown undefeated at 11-0 but playing their first full game without starting quarterback Jordan Travis after he suffered a season-ending injury against North Alabama. The Gators are 5-6 entering the game fighting to be bowl eligible with one more win. Their game starts at 7:00 pm EST on ESPN.

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