TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Rivalry week has arrived and the Florida State football team returned to work Monday afternoon on the practice field for Saturday’s Sunshine Showdown game against Florida at Doak Campbell Stadium. The nationally televised game (ABC, 3:30 p.m.) will mark the first time the Seminoles and Gators, who have matching 10-1 records, have squared off as top 10 opponents since the 2000 season.
The Seminoles are ranked No. 10 in the AP Poll, No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll and No. 10 in this week’s BCS Rankings. The Gators come into the contest ranked No. 6 in both the AP and USA Today polls and No. 4 in the BCS Rankings.
This year’s match-up harkens back to the stretch between 1990 and 2000, when the two teams squared off 13 consecutive times while ranked in the top 10.
FSU coach Jimbo Fisher praised his team’s focus and effort in Saturday’s 41-14 win at Maryland, which clinched the Seminoles’ second ACC Atlantic Division title in three years and a spot in the Dec. 1 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship game in Charlotte, N.C. The ACC office announced Monday that the ‘Noles will face Georgia Tech, after Miami announced it was self-imposing a postseason bowl ban.
Fisher, however, is more concerned about the immediate task at hand.
“We’re playing a great Florida team,” Fisher said at his Monday press conference. “It’s going to be a great challenge. They’re one of the top defensive teams in the country. … They’re very dominant with pass and run defense, great on special teams and they’ve got playmakers on offense. They’re a well-coached football team. Just two teams that are 10-1 -that’s why you come here to Florida State to play and compete in these games.
“It will be a great atmosphere and environment and it will be a great opportunity for our team to grow and have a great season.”
FSU’s 27 seniors will be honored in a pre-game ceremony on the field.
Florida State officials announced a sellout of the game nearly a month ago.