One Kind of Rivalry

There's nothing quite like Florida State-Florida. It's a rivalry many Seminole players grew up watching, from <b>Leon Washington</b> in Jacksonville to <b>David Castillo</b> in Palm Beach to <b>Jerome Carter</b> in Lake City. Each has a story. Of course, other players such as California's <b>Chris Rix</b> was introduced to the showdown for the first time live on game day.

"Being around it and involved in it has been enlightening in seeing how much love and hate is involved in the Florida-Florida State rivalry," Rix said.

"I was looking on the internet and didn't see it even mentioned in the top five rivalries, and I saw USC-UCLA, Army-Navy and I was really surprised you didn't see Florida State-Florida. I think it's one of, if not, the most fierce rivalries in all of college football.

"Being a part of that is an experience and something I'll remember. Hopefully I can be able to tell my kids I won in The Swamp. So that's a focus this week. We beat them last year and now we want to go down thee into their house and hopefully come out with a victory."

FSU has beaten the Gators four of the last five times. Washington was one of the stars in last year's win, rushing for a career-high 134 yards on 26 carries and scoring his only rushing touchdown of the season.

"Obviously being from Jacksonville it means a lot because growing up in Jacksonville you watch the Florida and Georgia game all the time," Washington said.

"Growing up in Jacksonville, I was a Florida fan just because of that -- all I really knew about was Florida football. It (last year's win) meant a lot because I know a lot of guys who go to Florida and I played against them in high school. (It's) not only bragging rights but one of those things we played with each other."

Carter, meanwhile, remains grateful to FSU for sticking by him during his senior season. Carter, a two-time all-state selection, admittedly struggled with his qualifying testing. Carter said he also received a home visit from coach Bobby Bowden, while the Gators opted to recruit elsewhere.

"Lake City is right between (Gainesville and Tallahassee)," Carter said.

"Lake City's got as many Florida State fans as they do Florida fans. This is a big bame because I feel like Florida, to a certain extent, pulled out on me because I hadn't passed by test and stuff. To a certain point, they couldn't wait on me to pass my test.

"Florida State stuck with me the whole time, kept faith in me and I passed the test. Florida was like, ‘We have to drop you and move to somebody else that's already passed. So I don't know what happened. I guess Florida did what it had to do."

Castillo, meanwhile, grew up a fan of the Miami Hurricanes. Still he knows the importance of FSU-UF, especially this latest meeting.

"It's very big," Castillo said.

"When we start a season our first goal is winning a national championship. Second goal is the ACC championship, a there was a big run here of 10-win seasons, top-five finishes, top-10 finishes, whatever, and the last two years we haven't had that.

"It's kind of a slap in the face to guys that have been here before us the stuff that they built, the last two years we kind of didn't reach up to those standards and this year we want to try to get back, start a new dynasty and start a new tradition of 10-win seasons and championship teams."


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