Florida Gators football
|Florida Gators football|
|Athletic director||Jeremy Foley|
|Head coach||Jim McElwain
2nd year, 10–4 (.714)
|Stadium||Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium|
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|Division||SEC Eastern Division|
|Past conferences||Independent (1906–1911)
Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1912–1921)
Southern Conference (1922–1932)
|All-time record||701–404–40 (.630)|
|Bowl record||21–21 (.500)|
|Claimed nat'l titles||3 (1996, 2006, 2008)|
|Consensus All-Americans||32[note 1]|
|Colors||Blue and Orange
|Fight song||"The Orange and Blue"|
|Mascot||Albert and Alberta|
|Marching band||Pride of the Sunshine|
|Primary rivals||Georgia Bulldogs
The Florida Gators football team represents the University of Florida in American football. The Florida Gators compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They play their home games in Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (nicknamed "The Swamp") on the university's Gainesville campus. The Gators have won three national championships and eight SEC titles in the 108-season history of Florida's varsity football program.
- 1 Historical overview
- 2 Uniforms
- 3 Conference affiliations
- 4 Yearly records
- 5 Individual award winners
- 6 Gators in the National Football League
- 7 Coaching staff
- 8 Future opponents
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
The University of Florida (then known as the University of the State of Florida) fielded its first official varsity football team in the fall of 1906, when the newly consolidated institution moved from its temporary location in Lake City to its present campus in Gainesville. The Gators football program has evolved from its humble beginnings and achieved notable successes. They have played in forty bowl games; won three national championships (1996, 2006 and 2008) and eight Southeastern Conference championships (1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2006 and 2008), and produced eighty-nine first-team All-Americans, forty-six National Football League (NFL) first-round draft choices, and three Heisman Trophy winners.
The Gators have had an on-campus home field since the beginning of their football program. Since 1930, their home field has been Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The stadium was known as Florida Field until 1989, when its name was extended to honor alumnus and sports benefactor Ben Hill Griffin. During the 1990s, football coach Steve Spurrier called the stadium "the Swamp"; the nickname quickly became popular, and has been used ever since.
Since 1906 the Gators have had twenty-five head coaches, including three who were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame for their coaching success. Their first head coach was Pee Wee Forsythe in 1906; the 2015 season was the first for their twenty-fifth head coach, Jim McElwain.
During the program's early years, Florida was a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association and then the Southern Conference. In 1932 the University of Florida was a founding member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and it is currently one of fourteen member institutions. The Gators have competed in the SEC Eastern Division since the league began divisional play in 1992.
Florida plays an eight-game SEC schedule, with six games against the other Eastern Division teams: Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt. The schedule is filled out with an annual game against Louisiana State and a rotating SEC Western Division team. Until 2003, the Gators also played Auburn every season.
Key conference rivalries include the annual Florida–Georgia game in Jacksonville, Florida (usually around Halloween), the Florida–Tennessee rivalry (usually mid-September), and the inter-divisional Florida–LSU rivalry with their permanent SEC Western Division foe (in early to mid-October).
The Gators have also played in-state rival Florida State every year since 1958, usually facing off in the last game of the regular season. The two teams' emergence as perennial football powers during the 1980s and 1990s helped build the Florida–Florida State rivalry into a game which often has national-title implications. Before 1988, in-state rival Miami was also an annual opponent; due to expanded conference schedules, the Florida–Miami rivalry has been renewed only three times in the regular season and twice in bowl games since then. The remaining dates on Florida's regular schedule are filled by non-conference opponents which vary from year to year.
Previously known as "the world's largest outdoor cocktail party," it is most commonly called the "Florida–Georgia game" by Gator fans. The game is held at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, usually on the last Saturday in October or the first Saturday in November. The designated "home" team alternates, with ticket distribution split evenly between the schools.
In the rivalry's early years, games rotated among locations in Savannah, Georgia, Tampa, Florida, Jacksonville and, occasionally, Gainesville and Athens. Since 1933 the game has been played in Jacksonville, except for 1994 and 1995 (when the teams played a pair of home-and-home games at their respective stadiums).
Georgia had early success in the rivalry, winning the first six games and holding a 21–5–1 series lead before 1950. After the 2014 game Florida had won 20 out of the most-recent 26 games, and holds a 37–28–1 advantage in the series since 1950. The Bulldogs lead the series overall, 49–42–2.
Although Florida and Tennessee are charter members of the SEC, irregular conference scheduling resulted in the teams meeting infrequently for many years. Tennessee won the first ten games between 1916 and 1954, when Florida finally defeated the Volunteers. In 1969, Florida hired Tennessee head coach (and former Florida quarterback) Doug Dickey to replace the retiring Ray Graves immediately after their teams met in the Gator Bowl.
The rivalry reached a peak during the 1990s. In 1992, the SEC expanded to twelve schools and split into two divisions. Florida and Tennessee (in the Eastern Division) have met every year since, usually in mid-September for both teams' first conference game of the season. Led by coaches Steve Spurrier and Phil Fulmer and featuring players such as Danny Wuerffel and Peyton Manning, both teams were highly ranked and the game had conference- and national-title implications. Florida and Tennessee combined to win two national championships during the decade.
Since becoming annual opponents, the Gators and Volunteers have combined to represent the Eastern Division in the SEC Championship Game fifteen times in twenty seasons. Florida has an eleven-game winning streak against Tennessee (through 2015) and leads the series, 26–19.
The University of Florida and the Florida State College for Women became co-educational in 1947. The new Florida State Seminoles football team began playing small colleges, moving up to the major-college ranks in 1955. Almost immediately, Florida State students and supporters called for the teams of Florida's two largest universities to play each other annually.
Contrary to popular belief, Florida's state legislature did not decree that Florida and Florida State should meet on the field; a bill mandating the game was rejected by the Florida Senate. Prodding by Florida governor LeRoy Collins facilitated an agreement between the two universities to begin an annual series in 1958. Due to Florida State's smaller stadium, the first six games were played at Florida Field. The series has alternated between the campuses since 1964, when Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee was expanded. Florida dominated the early series with a 16–2–1 record through 1976. Both teams have produced significant winning streaks, and the series is nearly tied over the past four decades; Florida State holds a 21–18–1 advantage. Florida leads the all-time series, 34–24–2.
The Florida–Florida State game has had national-championship implications since 1990, and both teams have entered the game with top-10 rankings thirteen times. Among these was the Sugar Bowl rematch at the end of the 1996 season, when Florida avenged its only regular-season loss and won its first national championship 52–20.
Louisiana State and Florida first met on the football field in 1937, and have been annual opponents since 1971. Since 1992, LSU has been Florida's permanent inter-divisional rival from the SEC Western Division. The winner of the Florida–LSU game went on to win the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) national championship game in the 2006, 2007, and 2008 seasons. This rivalry has been known recently for close games, with both teams highly ranked. Florida leads the all-time series, 31–28–3.
Although Alabama and Florida are charter members of the SEC, they have never been annual opponents. They have met many times over the years, especially since the SEC Championship Game began in 1992. The Gators and the Crimson Tide have met seven times for the SEC championship. On four occasions, the winner of a Florida-Alabama SEC title game has gone on to win a national championship. In 2008 and 2009, the teams were ranked first and second coming into the game. The second-ranked team won both times (Florida in 2008 and Alabama in 2009), with both conference champions going on to win the BCS National Championship Game. The Gators are tied with Alabama 4–4 in SEC championship games, and Alabama leads the overall series 25–14.
Auburn and Florida played annually from 1945 to 2002. In the overall series won-lost record, Auburn is Florida's most evenly-matched SEC opponent. Beginning in the 1980s, one team was usually highly ranked coming into the game and it had conference- and national-title implications.
The series has had several notable upsets. Auburn defeated previously-unbeaten Florida teams in 1993, 1994, 2001, 2006 and 2007, although the Gators won SEC championships in 1993 and 1994.
The annual series ended in 2002, when the SEC adjusted its football schedules so each team played one permanent and two rotating opponents from the opposite SEC division every year (instead of one rotating and two permanent teams). When Texas A&M and Missouri joined the conference in 2012, the schedule was changed again; each team played one permanent and one rotating opponent from the opposite division every year. LSU was designated as Florida's annual SEC Western Division opponent, and Florida and Auburn play two regular-season games every twelve years. Auburn leads the series, 43–38–2.
Florida and Miami formerly played each other for the Seminole War Canoe Trophy, but they canceled after the 1987 season when Florida's annual SEC schedule expanded to eight games. The teams did not play each other again until the 2001 Sugar Bowl. Florida and Miami played a home-and-home series in 2002 and 2003, and met again in the 2004 Peach Bowl. The Gators won the first leg of a home-and-home series in 2008, ending a six-game losing streak against the Hurricanes. Their 2008 victory against Miami was Florida's only victory against them in the last 30 years. The last scheduled regular-season meeting of the Gators and the Hurricanes was in Miami in 2013, where the Hurricanes won 21–16. They have scheduled the next game to be somewhere in the year of 2019. Miami has a 29–26 lead in the all-time series.
Florida has worn blue jerseys (usually a variation of royal blue) with white pants at home for most of the program's history. The exception was a decade-long period, beginning with the last home game of the 1979 season, when the Gators switched to orange home jerseys. In 1989, interim head coach Gary Darnell brought back blue jerseys (with orange pants) for the season finale against Florida State. This color combination was not used again until the 1999 season, when the Gators hosted Florida State in the regular-season finale, and in the 2013 Sugar Bowl against Louisville.
Steve Spurrier restored blue jerseys full-time when he was named coach in 1990. Since then the Gators have worn blue jerseys with white pants at home, with blue pants an option for high-profile games. Florida wore white jerseys with blue pants at home once in the 1998 season and twice in 2000. On the road, the team wears traditional white jerseys with blue, white, or orange pants. In 2005, Florida wore blue Nike Revolution football jerseys with an orange left shoulder.
Since 2011, the Gators have primarily worn white jerseys and white pants on the road. They have worn orange pants for one road game per year, and blue pants once in 2013. They wore orange jerseys with white pants for one home game per year from 2010 to 2012, for the 2015 Birmingham Bowl against East Carolina and in 2015 against Vanderbilt, and in 2015 wore orange jerseys and orange pants for home games against East Carolina and Mississippi.
Florida has had a number of helmet designs during the program's history. Colors have alternated between orange and white and (occasionally) blue, and logos have included an interlocking "UF", a simple "F", and the player number.
Since 1979 Florida has worn orange helmets with a script "Gators" logo; the only exceptions were three "throwback" games. In 2006, for the 100th-anniversary game against Alabama, Florida wore 1960s throwback uniforms which included white helmets with a simple "F" logo. In 2009 the Gators participated in Nike's Pro Combat uniform campaign, wearing specially-designed blue uniforms and white helmets with a slant-F logo. These uniforms were worn for the last regular-season game against Florida State, and the white helmets were worn again the following week against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game with white jerseys and pants.
- 1906–1911: Independent
- 1912–1921: Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA)
- 1922–1932: Southern Conference (SoCon)
- 1933–present: Southeastern Conference (SEC)
Florida has won a total of eight SEC championships. The Gators won their first championship with a conference record of 5–0–1 in 1984, but the title was vacated several months after the season ended by the SEC university presidents because of NCAA infractions by the Florida coaching staff under Charley Pell. The 1985 and 1990 teams also finished atop the standings with conference records of 5–1 and 6–1, respectively, but Florida was ineligible for the championship due to its NCAA probation for rule violations by previous coaching staffs. The Gators won their first official SEC football championship in 1991.
Conference division championships
With the addition of Arkansas and South Carolina to the Southeastern Conference in 1992, the conference split into eastern and western divisions and a game between the division winners determined the SEC champion. Florida has made eleven appearances in the SEC Championship Game (the most by any SEC school), its most recent in 2015. The Gators have won seven of the eleven SEC Championship Games in which they have appeared.
† In 1992, the Gators finished the season tied with Georgia for the SEC East; however, Florida had defeated Georgia and won the tie-breaker to represent the division in the 1992 SEC Championship Game. In 2003 Florida ended the regular season in a three-way tie for the SEC East title with Georgia and Tennessee, and in 2012 the Gators were tied with Georgia. According to the SEC's tie-breaking procedure, Georgia was selected to represent the division in the 2003 SEC Championship Game and 2012 SEC Championship Game.
Florida's season records are from the record books of the university's athletic association. Through 2013,[needs update] the Gators compiled an overall record of 684 wins, 395 losses, and 40 ties (including post-season bowl games).
All-time record against SEC teams
|Mississippi State||33||19||2||.630||Lost 1||1923||2010|
|Ole Miss||11||12||1||.479||Won 1||1926||2015|
|South Carolina||25||8||3||.736||Won 1||1911||2015|
|Texas A&M||2||1||0||.667||Won 2||1962||2012|
Against in-state rivals
|Florida State||34||24||2||.583||Lost 3||1958||2015|
The Gators have appeared in 42 NCAA-sanctioned bowl games, winning 21 and losing 21. This includes a streak of 22 consecutive bowl-game appearances from 1991 through 2012, the fifth-longest in college football history.
|1996||Steve Spurrier||AP, Coaches||12–1||Sugar Bowl (Bowl Alliance National Championship Game)||Florida State||W 52–20|
|2006||Urban Meyer||BCS, AP||13–1||BCS National Championship Game||Ohio State||W 41–14|
|2008||Urban Meyer||BCS, AP||13–1||BCS National Championship Game||Oklahoma||W 24–14|
The 1996, 2006 and 2008 Gators were ranked number one in the final AP and Coaches Polls, and were recognized as consensus national champions after winning postseason national-championship games. Although the 1984 Gators finished third in the final AP Poll and seventh in the final UPI Coaches Poll, they were recognized as national champions by The Sporting News, The New York Times and the Billingsley, DeVold, Dunkel, FACT, Matthews, and Jeff Sagarin rankings. The 1984 Brigham Young Cougars, ranked number one in the final AP and UPI Coaches Polls, were recognized as consensus national champions. Florida, ranked fifth in the final 1985 AP Poll, was recognized as national champion by a minor selector.
Individual award winners
College Football Hall of Fame members
Twelve people associated with the Gators have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, including three former head coaches and nine former players:
|Carlos Alvarez||Wide receiver||1969–71||2011|
|Wes Chandler||Wide receiver||1974–77||2015|
|Emmitt Smith||Running back||1987–89||2006|
|Dale Van Sickel||End||1927–29||1975|
|Jack Youngblood||Defensive end||1967–70||1992|
Doug Dickey, the Gators' quarterback in 1951 and 1952, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003 for his record as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers from 1964 to 1969 and the Gators from 1970 to 1978. Steve Spurrier was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986 for his record as the Gators' Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from 1964 to 1966. Marcelino Huerta, a standout Gator lineman from 1947 to 1949, was inducted in 2002 for his record as head coach of the Tampa Spartans, Wichita State Shockers and Parson Wildcats.
Since the Gators' first season in 1906, eighty-nine players have received one or more selections as first-team All-Americans. This includes thirty-one consensus All-Americans, of which six were unanimous. The first Florida first-team All-American was end Dale Van Sickel, a member of the 1928 team. Florida's first consensus All-American was quarterback Steve Spurrier, the winner of the Heisman Trophy for the 1966 Gators.
Since 1994, the Southeastern Conference has annually designated one former football player from each SEC member school as an "SEC Legend." Through 2012, the following twenty Gators have been SEC Legends:
Fergie Ferguson Award
The Fergie Ferguson Award is given in memory of one of the University of Florida's finest athletes, Forest K. Ferguson. Ferguson was an All-SEC end for the Gators in 1941 and state boxing champion in 1942. Subsequently a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, he led an infantry platoon during the D-Day landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944. Ferguson helped clear the way for his troops to advance on the Axis position, and was severely wounded leading his men in the assault. A recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions, he died from war-related injuries in 1954. The award, a trophy, is given to the senior football player who most displays "leadership, character, and courage."
Ring of Honor
Unlike other college and professional sports teams, the Gators do not currently have any retired jersey numbers. Although Steve Spurrier's (11) and Scot Brantley's (55) numbers were once retired, Spurrier reissued them as head coach.
The Gator Football Ring of Honor, Florida's alternative to retiring a player's number, pays homage to former players and coaches. The University of Florida Athletic Association created the Ring of Honor in 2006 to commemorate 100 years of Florida football. Jerseys with numbers worn by Wilber Marshall, Emmitt Smith, Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel, and Jack Youngblood are displayed on the facade of the north end zone of Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium; their numbers are used by current players.
|Emmitt Smith||Running back||22||1987–89||2006|
|Steve Spurrier||Quarterback||11||1964–66, 1990–2001||2006|
|Jack Youngblood||Defensive end||74||1967–70||2006|
To be considered for induction into the Ring of Honor, a former player or coach must be absent from the university for five seasons, be in good standing, and meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Heisman Trophy winner (Spurrier, Wuerffel)
- Former All-Americans inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as players (Smith, Youngblood)
- Former All-Americans who are NFL career category leaders (Smith)
- College-career category leaders
- Coaches with one or more national championship (Spurrier)
- Coaches with three or more SEC championships (Spurrier)
- Players with two or more consensus All-America honors who were also named national offensive or defensive player of the year (Marshall)
A University of Florida All-Time Team was compiled by the Florida Alumnus, the official publication of the Florida alumni, in 1927.
First Team Offense
First Team Defense
Second Team Offense
Second Team Defense
First Team Offense
Second Team Offense
The 100th-Anniversary Gator Team was selected in 2006 to celebrate a century of Florida football. Fans voted by mail and online.
Gators in the National Football League
A number of former Florida Gators have played in the National Football League (NFL), beginning in the 1920s. They include defensive lineman Jack Youngblood and running back Emmitt Smith, both of whom were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The current head coach of the Gators is Jim McElwain, and the 2015 season was his first with the team. McElwain replaced Will Muschamp after the 2014 regular season and bowl game. McElwain's coordinators and assistant coaches are:
|Jim McElwain||Head coach||2015|
|Doug Nussmeier||Offensive coordinator, quarterbacks||2015|
|Geoff Collins||Defensive coordinator||2015|
|Greg Nord||Special teams, tight ends||2015|
|Kerry Dixon II||Wide receivers||2015|
|Randy Shannon||Associate head coach, linebackers||2015|
|Mike Summers||Offensive line||2014|
|Torrian Gray||Defensive backs||2016|
|Tim Skipper||Running backs||2015|
|Chris Rumph||Defensive line||2015|
|Mike Kent||Strength and conditioning coach||2015|
Florida plays Louisiana State (LSU) (a non-division opponent) annually; with the other six SEC Western Division teams rotated on a six-year cycle, Florida plays every Western Division team once every six years (twice every twelve years) with alternating home and away games.
|vs LSU||at LSU||vs LSU||at LSU||vs LSU||at LSU||vs LSU||at LSU||vs LSU||at LSU|
|at Arkansas||vs Texas A&M||at MSU||vs Auburn||at Ole Miss||vs Alabama||at Texas A&M||vs Arkansas||at Auburn||vs MSU|
Announced schedules as of October 7, 2015
at Arlington, TX
|vs Colorado State
|vs Miami (FL)
at Orlando, FL
|at Florida State
|vs North Texas
|at Florida State
|vs Florida State
|vs Florida State
|at Florida State
- Florida Gators
- History of the University of Florida
- List of University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame members
- University Athletic Association
- The NCAA records for "consensus" All-Americans do not reflect the total number of All-American honors received by Gators football players, only those players who received a majority of the various first-team All-American selections at their position in any given season. The Gators' first consensus All-American was quarterback Steve Spurrier in 1966; the thirty-second and most recent was cornerback Vernon Hargreaves in 2015.
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