TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The FSU and Florida tailgating tents have long been lined up along Tennessee Street, the students have begun to pack into their seats, and it's a beautiful day here at Doak Campbell Stadium for this revived rivalry game. This is the first time in 12 years that both teams are ranked in the top 10 of the BCS standings, and the atmosphere around the stadium reflects that. If you're looking for a comparison, though, there seemed to be more pregame excitement here for the September game against Clemson, and last year's game against Oklahoma.
This game is big, no doubt, but the truth is, it's bigger for Florida.
More is on the line for Florida, as the Gators still have a legitimate (though outside) shot of sneaking into the national title game. FSU, meanwhile, is playing for in-state bragging rights and to prove the computers wrong once and for all. Even if the Noles win today, though, their loss against NC State will continue to haunt them in the national picture. That's not to say a win today wouldn't be important or meaningful for the program.
If FSU wins today, it would be the first time since 1998-2000 that the program would have won three straight in the series against the Gators. The Noles have won the past two meetings by a margin of victory of 52-14. The last time they played here in Tallahassee, FSU won, 31-7, in Jimbo Fisher's first season. Fisher is 5-0 against both rivals Florida and Miami, but you'd never know it by looking at the current BCS standings.
If nothing else, the Noles have a chance to put the Gators in their place -- behind FSU in the BCS standings. That in itself would be a victory to those within the FSU program and their fans.