Florida has never played Samford before Saturday’s game in the Swamp. Well, they did play against the school when it was named Howard College. So, we do have a little history to explore this week as we take a look back:
Howard College was established in 1841 in Marion, Alabama
… before moving to East Lake and then Homewood, a suburb of Birmingham (does any city in the South have more suburbs than Birmingham?) The name was changed from Howard to Samford in 1965 to honor trustee and insurance executive Frank Park Samford, Sr.
Howard faced the mighty Gators twice in 1921 and ’22.
When we say mighty, we’re not kidding. Those two teams went 13-5-2 under William Kline and – at the time – it seemed as if Florida was on the verge of becoming a power. The Gators brought in several players from Oklahoma, including one of the all-time great Gators Ark Newton.
But the first UF player to be named All-Southern was Carl “Tootie” Perry, a Gainesville High grad who was 25 years old. He had started school in 1916, left and came back and played his last season six years after his first. Florida’s recently demolished baseball field was named Perry Field because his family donated the land to the school.
In the 1921 game, it was a rainy day in Montgomery and the mud was thick.
Florida held Howard to one first down in the game and won 34-0. That team finished 6-3-2, the first Florida team to play 11 games. One of those games was against the Carlstrom Flyers, which won 19-0. That year, Florida had losses to Tennessee, North Carolina and the Carlstrom Flyers. Florida went 4-1-2 in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association… and finished sixth. Tough league.
The following year, Florida played Howard in Gainesville and it was an all-time trap game.
The Gators were set to travel to Boston the following week to play national power Harvard and had a stop scheduled for the White House and President Warren G. Harding on the way up. But Florida was very good and Howard was not and the Gators won 57-0. Florida went 7-2 that season with losses to Furman and, you guessed it, Harvard. Not a bad record considering UF only played two games in Gainesville that season.
And that’s it for the series.
But there is this little tidbit as the Gators prepare for their 10th-ever opponent that starts with the letter “S” …
Florida has played five times in history with a 4-5 record. Saturday will make it No. 6. That is an odd stat that shows that Florida tends to be really good or really bad. The seasons:
1941 – Coach Thomas J. Lieb lost that final game at UCLA to finish 4-6 but stayed on for three more seasons. (There was no internet).
1951 – Bob Woodruff capped off the year with a win against Alabama in Tuscaloosa to finish 5-5 and then …
1955 – Four years later he was 4-5 again before a loss to Miami finished the season 4-6. He was Florida’s coach through 1959.
1978 – This was the end for Doug Dickey, who was on the way out the door at 4-5 and it only got worse with losses to FSU and Miami to end his career with a 4-7 record, his second 4-7 in nine years at UF.
2013 – And who could forget the great season Will Muschamp had? The Gators started 4-1 but didn’t win again. They entered the South Carolina game with a 4-5 record and lost in Columbia (although they kept it much closer than this year’s team), then lost to Georgia Southern (we don’t like talking about it) and finally to FSU to finish 4-8.