Another Game?

Florida State-Florida is always a big deal to coaches, players and fans. Although Saturday's season-ending game with the Gators has less at stake than any game in the series for nearly 20 years, nobody expects it to be any less intense. FSU needs the win to remain in the Top 10, while UF would love nothing more than to give departing coach <b>Ron Zook</b> a nice sendoff he doesn't coach the team in a bowl game.

Florida State quarterback Wyatt Sexton was raised on the Seminoles-Florida Gators rivalry. When asked what he remembers of the rivalry while growing up, Sexton didn't hesitate:

"Casey Weldon hitting Lawrence Dawsey down the sideline, Charlie Ward hitting Warrick Dunn in the Swamp, Chris Weinke playing in what I personally think was the loudest stadium ever that evening and beating them there, I could go on for a while," Sexton said.

Saturday marks another notch in the storied rivalry, and both teams are in need of a victory. The Seminoles need to keep a high ranking in case the Atlantic Coast Conference title comes down to a season-ending tiebreaker.

The Gators would love nothing more than to give coach Ron Zook a happy sendoff if he decides not to coach the team in its bowl game. Zook was fired at midseason after a series of embarrassing defeats. However, he was asked by the UF administration to stay on and he accepted.

UF, of course, is coming off its best performance of the season in last Saturday's whipping of South Carolina at Florida Field.

FSU coach Bobby Bowden has been philosophical about what has happened through 10 games. The Seminoles lost 16-10 in overtime at Miami to open the season, reeled off six consecutive victories before being upset at Maryland 20-17 on Oct. 30.

The Seminoles have since rebounded, beating Duke at home and North Carolina State last week on the road.

``Maybe more success without field goals early in the year, we might be undefeated right now, but we're not,'' Bowden said. ``We're probably like a lot of teams that came real close to get where we are today. We still have a big game ahead of us, but we've been that close.''

Of course, close really doesn't count but the Seminoles must make the best of it. And that means taking care of business against the Gators.

"I watched these games on television," cornerback Antonio Cromartie said.

I didn't start going to Florida State games until they started to recruit me. Playing Florida is one of the biggest games of the season just like Miami. It is a big game between two instate schools. Everybody that you play against in high school is over there, too."

Sexton couldn't contain his enthusiasm.

``I can't describe how fired up I am for this game,'' Sexton said.

``Any true Florida State fan knows the type of hatred that a true Seminole fan has for the Gators, and I share that same passion, so I can't wait to play.''

Of course, Sexton also said he'll try to offset the emotion by treating the game as nothing out of the ordinary. ``I try not to think about the type of pressure situations,'' Sexton said.

``I just try to look at it as another week, and stay in my same rhythm that I've been doing all season - prepare the same and treat the game as any other game.''


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