FOUR BITS: Rivalry Week has begun at UF

By Adam Silverstein
November 23, 2009

1 » Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer did not spend much time praising his team after its 62-3 blowout victory over the Florida International Golden Panthers on Saturday. Instead, he turned his attention to the Florida State Seminoles, declaring, “It’s rivalry week. We’ve been here before. So, let’s get started.” Meyer does not hide his affection for taking down the so-called “School Out West.” “It’s the world,” he said. “It’s what makes this job the best in college football. It’s what makes this stadium the best in college football. This is going to be a special week. It’s started already.”

2 » If Meyer sounded pumped up for Florida State, his team appeared ready to take them on right after FIU left the field. “It’s a lot of hatred,” junior safety Ahmad Black said. “It started even before us. It goes way back to the earlier days. We’ve won five straight. We don’t want to be the team that loses the streak.” Junior guard Mike Pouncey didn’t even question the result of the game. “It’s five [in a row]? So, it will be six,” he said. “They’re always good and it’s a rivalry game, so everybody’s going to play a little harder. Linebacker Ryan Stamper, one of the seniors who will play their last game in The Swamp on Saturday, believes his class has a mission to accomplish. “I grew up watching the Florida-Florida State rivalry since I was little. Going out with them not beating us once would be a great thing.”

3 » While taking down the Seminoles is just another “mission” for the Gators, it could be a season-defining victory for Florida State. FSU did extend its bowl streak to 28 years with a victory over the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday, but head coach Bobby Bowden said taking a win from Florida this week would be among the most memorable victories of his career. “It probably would,” he said. “In other words, this thing has got to turn around. And I would say if you [beat the Gators], it’s around. You’re betting good if you can beat them, I’ll tell you what. What a task. What a task.” Whether or not Bowden can pull of a victory may not even matter, because if the Seminoles’ boosters get there way, this season could be his last in garnet and gold.

4 » Limping off the field with an injured medial-collateral ligament on Saturday, redshirt junior starting linebacker A.J. Jones needed to be replaced. Meyer immediately sent junior Brandon Hicks into the game, and the team did not lose a step. Why? Because Hicks started the final five games of the 2008 season – including the BCS National Championship game against the Oklahoma Sooners – when Jones went down with his previous knee injury. “Here we go,” Meyer told him before he stepped on the field. “You’ve been here before.” Hicks’ performance last year earned him a reputation as one of the best defenders on the team, though an ankle injury kept him from starting in 2009. On a side note, Meyer said Jones’ injury is “nonsurgical,” meaning there is a possibility he could be ready for the team’s bowl game.

2 Comments

  1. Thomas says:

    FYI, it’s “Team Out West” or TOW. Not school.

  2. I have actually seen and heard it as both.

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