My purpose in this series was to remind folks just how good Gator Nation has it right now. You can not truly appreciate where this program is unless you completely understand where it's been. The Florida athletic program is now among the elite programs in all of college sports, but that has not always been the case. And, even in some good times the Gators have shown there can be major meltdowns. So here you go Gator Nation, the four most dubious marks of all in the Gator record books.
#4, minus-78 yards rushing, Football 2000 ----- There have been other bad days in Starkville, Miss. over the years, but nothing like this one. The Gators entered the game 4-0 and ranked third in the nation. Florida was averaging 45.2 points a game and seemed poised to completely overwhelm the Bulldogs. Instead, the Gators fell behind as State ran all over the Florida defense for 351 yards on the ground. In addition, the blitzing Dogs defense dominated the Florida offensive front sacking three different Gator quarterbacks. By the time the day was over, Florida had lost more than a hundred yards in sacks and "netted" a minus-78. Steve Spurrier got so frustrated he intentionally took a safety that put the Gators down two scores. MSU ended up with a 47-35 win and they went wild on Scott Field.
#3, 18 straight losses to Kentucky, Basketball 1942-64 ----- Gator fans have been awfully cocky about Florida's dominance over Big Blue in the last few years, but here's a reality check. The Gators beat Kentucky in 1934. They beat the Wildcats again in 1965. The only reason the losing streak was just 18 was that they didn't play in many of those 31 years. To put it in perspective the Gators beat Kentucky during FDR's first term and beat them again with LBJ in the White House. That's three and a half FDR terms, Truman, Eisenhower and JFK. You gotta think that'll never happen again.
#2, 13 straight winless games, Football 1945-47 & 1978-79 ----- The first such stretch began with the last game of '45, continued through the 0-9 1946 season and stretched into the first three games of '47. As bad as that was, the second stretch was worse. The last two games of the Doug Dickey era saw the Gators lose consecutive in-state games to FSU (38-21) and Miami (22-21). The first eleven games under Charley Pell in '79 were no better as Florida managed just a 7-7 tie with Georgia Tech to go with ten losses. The '79 Gators averaged less than ten points a game and only two of the losses were by less than ten points.
#1, John Reaves' nine interceptions, Auburn 1969 ----- I have long considered this the most remarkable, unbreakable record in Gator history and as each year goes by it seems even more so. The '69 Gators went to Jordan-Hare Stadium as one of the great stories in college football that year. Florida was off to a 6-0 start and was ranked seventh in the nation. The "Super Sophs" led by Reaves and receiver Carlos Alvarez had scored over forty points in four of the six contests in an era were that was a huge amount of offense. However when they got to Auburn the Gators fell apart. Reaves threw 66 passes that day, completing 33 for 369 yards all school records at the time (the 66 attempts still is). However nine of his throws found Auburn defenders. The reason this record is unbreakable should be clear; no coach would ever let a guy stay in that long again. Florida did throw seven interceptions to Kentucky in 1993, but they were split between Danny Wuerffel (four) and Terry Dean (three).
So that's my ranking of the records the Gators don't want surpassed no matter what. Again, it was meant to be part history listen, part trip down memory lane and part perspective to appreciate how Florida has come from a program that was always waiting till next year to one that is envied throughout intercollegiate athletics.