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November 27, 2009
Seminoles hope to end Florida dominance
When uttered by Bobby Bowden, even cliches come off like dad-gum words of wisdom.
That was the case earlier this week as the venerable Florida State coach told us all something we already knew. "Nothing lasts forever," Bowden said.
He should know, and not just because "forever" is his age.
Not that long ago, there was a 14-year period when Florida State was a fixture in the top five of the polls. The Seminoles' annual regular-season grudge match with Florida typically was a clash between elite teams. Both were in the top 10 every time they played in the 1990s; four times, both were in the top five.
Times certainly have changed. Well, in Tallahassee anyway.
The Seminoles haven't finished in the top five in nine years. Longtime defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews is retiring after this season. Bowden - who is 80 - has indicated he isn't retiring, but it's a matter of time before offensive coordinator/coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher succeeds him as coach.
And Florida has beaten the Seminoles five years in a row, the longest streak in the series since the Gators won six in a row from 1981-86.
"We're just going to try to keep it going," Florida strong safety Ahmad Black said. "We've won five straight, so we don't want to be the team that loses the streak."
But nothing lasts forever. That's what the Seminoles (6-5) have to keep telling themselves as they venture into the Swamp to face top-ranked Florida on Saturday.
"There were times when we beat them four in a row and they beat us five or six in a row," Bowden said. "It will change."
There is nothing to suggest the change will come this season, though.
Florida State's usually reliable defense is ranked 106th in the nation. Star guard Rodney Hudson is out with an injury. Redshirt freshman quarterback E.J. Manuel, thrust into the starting lineup when Christian Ponder was injured, threw three interceptions last week against Maryland and will be making just his third college start.
The Seminoles can only glean minimum optimism from winning four of their past five games to become bowl eligible for the 28th consecutive season. But three of those wins were over N.C. State, Wake Forest and Maryland, which have combined for 10 victories.
Florida has allowed just 108 points, the fewest of any team in the nation. The Gators are ranked 10th in the nation in scoring offense. And they need to win to remain in national championship contention.
In addition, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has been a major thorn in the Seminoles' side. In two previous games as the Gators' starter, Tebow has passed for six touchdowns and rushed for three against Florida State. The Gators scored 45 points in both games.
At least Florida State can find solace in the fact that Tebow is a senior and the Seminoles won't have to face him again.
See, nothing lasts forever.
Who gets the edge?
Florida rush offense vs. Florida State rush defense:
Florida pass offense vs. Florida State pass defense:
Florida State rush offense vs. Florida rush defense:
Florida State pass offense vs. Florida pass defense:
Florida special teams vs. Florida State special teams:
Florida coaching staff vs. Florida State coaching staff
FLORIDA WILL WIN IF:
FLORIDA STATE WILL WIN IF:
Olin Buchanan is a senior college football writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.