Looking at how well each team knows the conference's newest members
|Florida History vs. New SEC Teams|
|First Meeting||Last Meeting||Record vs.|
Florida has a unique role in the SEC this year. Not only will the Gators serve as the SEC opener for Texas A&M in its inaugural season in the conference, but Florida will also be the one of the two traditional SEC teams to face both Texas A&M and Missouri. (Alabama is the other.)
As long as it's not the bowl season.
Florida blew out Texas A&M in the two teams' only regular-season game, a 42-6 laugher in Gainesville in 1962. But Florida lost both of its two postseason games against the newcomers -- one against Missouri in the Sugar Bowl and the other against the Aggies in the Sun Bowl -- one in heartbreaking fashion.
The most interesting of those games might be the 1966 Sugar Bowl against Missouri. The guy throwing the football was none other than Steve Spurrier. And did Spurrier throw the football. Spurrier was 27-of-46 for 352 yards and two touchdowns passing; he also ran for a score. But the three fourth-quarter touchdowns weren't enough, and the Gators lost 20-18 because they decided to go for two after each and every touchdown -- and fell short each time.
"We figured," Spurrier recalled of Florida's late strategy, "we could only score three times in the last quarter. What we had to do was keep Missouri from getting a touchdown. But they might have gotten close enough for (another) field goal, which would have given them 23 points. So, to win, we would need 24 points."
It was a novel strategy, and the final outcome of the game showed why it was novel. But Florida's problems started long before the fourth quarter; they would end up with minus-2 yards rushing. And when you're down 20-0 after the third quarter, there's only so much you can expect to do. Which was probably little comfort to the Florida coaches, players and fans who almost mounted an improbable comeback.
The Sun Bowl against Texas A&M was equally lopsided. (There were actually two Sun Bowls in 1977 -- one in January and one in December.) The 37-14 win included five turnovers by Florida, an interception and four lost fumbles. The Gators dropped the football a total of six times. Not that A&M had a clean game -- they lost all three of their fumbles. Tony Franklin, meanwhile, set an NCAA bowl record with a 62-yard field goal -- the kind of thing that makes you think it's just not your day.