For fans of American college football there is no lack whatsoever of intense rivalry. But when it comes to three-ways, one trio stands out from the crowd. The top three Florida schools have competed valiantly for bragging rights within their state and on a national scale. They are the University of Florida, a.k.a. “U.F.” or “The Gators” (as in alligators); Florida State University, a.k.a. “F.S.U.” or “The ‘Noles” (as in the Seminole tribe); and The University of Miami, a.k.a. “The U” or “The Canes” (as in Hurricanes).
Since 1983 they have combined for 10 AP National Championships and 6 Heisman Trophy winners. In that same period, Miami has set NCAA records for most consecutive home wins (58) and most consecutive years with a first-round NFL draft pick (14). Florida has won the two most recent AP National Championships (‘06 and ‘08) and the most recent Heisman Trophy (‘07). In 1999, Florida State became the first ever wire-to-wire #1 ranked team in the AP poll and they played in each of the first three BCS Championship games.
The Miami-FSU matchup many people feel is the best out of the three as they currently compete in the same conference and have played some of the closest games, many ending notoriously in missed [would-be] game-winning field goals. The Florida-Miami matchup is the most infrequent of the three, as Florida prefers not to schedule talented teams, although this fact seems to have the effect of making their rare meeting even more intense. (Even though they avoid Miami, UF is required by state legislature to schedule FSU annually). Perhaps the greatest single year in this rivalry came in 1996 when the #2 ranked Seminoles defeated the #1 ranked Gators 24-21 at home in Tallahassee. Florida had it’s revenge soon enough when the two were paired in a Sugar Bowl rematch on January 2, 1997. The Gators won 52-20 and ended the season #1 once more.