After a bit of a break to celebrate hitting the halfway point we're back to counting down our very own college sports bucket list and what better way to get back into it than a little SEC football rivalry, or at least a game that was once the can't miss game on the SEC calendar - it's the Third Saturday in September, a.k.a. Florida vs. Tennessee.
No. 49 - Florida vs. Tennessee (FBS Football):
When you think about this game you can't help but think of Spurrier vs. Fulmer - it's really where this rivarly got going. The two teams began playing in 1916, but it really wasn't until the 1992 season that this one really got going, that's when they began playing each other on an annual basis with the SEC splitting into divisions and allowing them to be in the same division.
Overall the series sits at 22-19 in favor of the Gators and some could argue that right now this isn't as hot a rivalry as it once was with where Tennessee and Florida have gone in recent seasons. But there's no denying just how important this game once was and could be going forward.
But at first this was a series that wasn't much to write home about as they played just 10 times in 37 seasons (1916-1953) with the Vols winning all 10 matchups.
1992 was the turning point in this rivalry as Tennessee were huge underdogs at home against the defending SEC champions and #1 ranked Gators. It was also Phillip Fulmer's very fist game as head coach of Tennessee as he took over for Johnny Majors after his heart attack and would never look back. The Vols won the game 31-14 and would set off a major rivalry between the two.
Flordia would win the next five games, proving to be the thorn in the side of Tennessee's many national title hopes, including a 31-0 smackdown in the 1994 season that was the debut of one Peyton Manning.
Throughout the reigns of Spurrier and Fulmer the schools arguably had as fierce a rivalry off the field as on it, with Spurrier and Fulmer always exchanging jokes and barbs about each other. Perhaps the most famous of them all was Spurrier's 1997 joke "You can't spell Citrus without UT," referring to the fact that the SEC's 2nd best team would usually play in the Citrus Bowl (now the Capital One Bowl) and throughout much of the 90's that would've been Tennessee.
Today this game has lost some of it's overall importance as we've said before and it doesn't help that Florida has won the last 7 games in the series. However, with current coaches Will Muschamp (Florida) and Derek Dooley (Tennessee) firmly on the hot seat a win here could help save the job for one or the other.
Seeing a game at either school is a must do for college sports fans and what better way than to see it on the Third Saturday in September?