From 1990 through 2000, college football's best rivalry was Florida State-Florida. Saturday's answer to Cowboys-49ers.
Florida State and Florida played 13 times from 1990 through 2000 — that's right, 13 times in 11 seasons, since they twice rematched in the Sugar Bowl, once for the national title.
In all games, both the Seminoles and Gators entered ranked in the top 10.
Then Florida State began its 21st-century slide, and Florida had its occasional slumps. But Saturday in Tallahassee, the 10th-ranked Seminoles host No. 4 Florida in a game that still carries national title implications.
If Southern Cal can upset Notre Dame on Saturday, Florida could make a case to reach the national title game, even though the Gators won't be in the SEC title game. If Florida State beats Florida, the Seminoles will zoom up the polls and make their case, if there's a Big Bowl opening.
Florida clearly has been the SEC's most impressive team, though it won't get to play for the conference title. While Georgia and Alabama are headed for the SEC championship game, neither played any of the heavyweights from the opposite division.
Bama missed Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Georgia missed Bama, LSU and Texas A&M. Meanwhile, Florida beat both LSU and A&M, while splitting with South Carolina and Georgia.
Florida State's only misstep was a loss at North Carolina State.
“You have great programs, you have great availability of players, both groups have gotten good players and they've got a great staff and I feel we've got a great staff,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said of the rivalry's renewed status.
“Things are never as good as they seem, they're never as bad as they seem. We knew we would be back, and it doesn't surprise me one bit they're back.”