Once upon a time, the college football world marked the annual meeting between the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers as must-see TV. Back in the 1990s in particular, the matchup represented a battle of SEC behemoths that perennially had national championship repercussions.
A long time has passed since those halcyon days and the Orange and Blue have dominated the series since the turn of the century — save for a 2-3 record from 2000-04 plus a loss in 2016. Quite frankly, Florida also had the upper hand prior, putting up a 7-3 record during the Steve Spurrier decade in which the off-the-field action was equally as exciting as on.
While the rivalry is in the doldrums, thanks to a weaker lineup of games in Week 4 the UF-UT game stands out from the others in terms of ticket desirability, according to Sports Illustrated’s Kevin Sweeney. He rated the matchup with an 😍 emoji listed at the top of his list, offering the following for his take.
Is Tennessee football finally back? After a strong first year under Josh Heupel, the Vols are off to a 3–0 start and look the part on both sides of the ball. Beat Florida on Saturday, and the UT hype train will go out of control. Hendon Hooker and the rest of this Tennessee offense are incredibly fun to watch, producing tons of explosive plays. Meanwhile, the Gators have looked shaky since a huge Week 1 win over Utah, struggling to get past South Florida last week as quarterback Anthony Richardson has dealt with accuracy issues.
This is the hottest ticket of Week 4, with the average price, per SI Tickets, at a college-football-high $554.
The bigger question at hand is, “Is the Tennessee-Florida rivalry back?”
After 16 wins in the last 17 seasons for the Gators over the Vols, the lopsided rivalry is getting a bit more attention than in years prior. A mostly moribund rivalry between a pair of original SEC members has a chance to be rekindled this season if the two teams leave everything on the field.
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