Florida Still Owns the East, Flops Against the West // SEC 2011

Can Florida keep its streak of dominance over the SEC East going?

Something I've taken care to point out each of the last two season preview series is the degree to which Florida has excelled against the SEC East in football. It's time to do it again.

Despite a 7-5 regular season in 2010, Florida picked up only one loss against its division (to South Carolina). That does ruin the stat from last year that UF had as many division losses since the introduction of divisions in 1992 as it had division titles (nine each), but it doesn't change the fact that Florida has lorded over its division in a way no other team in no other conference has:

Opponent UF Record
Georgia 16-3
Kentucky 19-0
South Carolina 17-2
Tennessee 14-5
Vanderbilt 19-0
Overall 86-10 (.896)

 

It is fitting that Steve Spurrier owns both South Carolina wins over the Gators, given that he's responsible for the majority of the wins cataloged here. What is incredible to think about is that the Gamecocks' win count against the Gators is now only one below that of Georgia. If it comes to pass again that Florida beats UGA but loses to South Carolina, they'll be tied. It's not often you find ways in which those two programs are equals, but here's your chance for one this fall.

It's also worth another mention that Florida has only lost to division opponents twice in the same season once: in 2004 when Ron Zook got fired. The second loss was to Georgia the very week Zook was fired, and the Gators still only lost by one score. It takes a lot for them to lose twice to the East in one year.

The trade off is that Florida has not been anywhere near as dominant against the SEC West. That division ate the Gators' lunch in 2010, going a perfect 3-0 against UF. Here how Florida's record against that division stands:

Opponent UF Record
Alabama 2-3
Arkansas 6-0
Auburn 8-5
LSU 13-6
Ole Miss
3-3
Mississippi St.
4-4
Overall 36-21 (.632)

 

Alabama's win last fall made it the only SEC team to have a winning record against Florida since conference expansion, but as you can see, that's only across five regular season games. Spurrier's 11-1 record at Florida over Georgia always outshined his 11-1 record against LSU. That streak accounts for much of UF's success against LSU, as the Tigers are 5-4 since (remember that two of Spurrier's wins came in 1990-91). Auburn is another team that has turned it around recently, taking three of the last four games between the schools. Of course, the defensive coordinator for the last two wins is now the boss in Gainesville.

I will always be amazed that the Gators can't beat the Mississippi schools with any kind of regularity. Last year's loss to MSU doesn't fit in with that sentiment, as the Bulldogs were the better team. Same goes for Ole Miss's 2003 win in the Swamp. Most if not all of the rest of the losses, though, featured favored Florida teams getting upset. UF never seems to be able to get excited about playing those two squads, and they're more than happy to take advantage of that fact.

Given the host of issues Florida is facing, now would be an excellent time to try to make the numbers in that first table less favorable to the Gators. South Carolina and Georgia are well-equipped to do that. Tennessee is still rebuilding though, and Kentucky and Vandy are still Kentucky and Vandy.

Can Will Muschamp keep the dominance over the division going? There's not a better way to make sure you go to Atlanta with regularity.

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