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Sport LSU football: Why Florida football team is Tigers' biggest SEC rival

15:50  09 october  2019
15:50  09 october  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

AP Top 25: Ohio State, Georgia tied at No. 3; Florida to 7th

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The LSU Tigers football program, also known as the Fighting Tigers , represents Louisiana State University in the sport of American football .

The Florida – LSU football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Florida Gators football team of the University of Florida and LSU Tigers football team of Louisiana State

BATON ROUGE, La. — What makes a rivalry exactly?

Les Miles et al. in uniform: LSU coach Les Miles, center, celebrates with players including safety Rickey Jefferson (29) and defensive back Tre'Davious White (16) after Saturday’s thrilling win Saturday.© Associated Press LSU coach Les Miles, center, celebrates with players including safety Rickey Jefferson (29) and defensive back Tre'Davious White (16) after Saturday’s thrilling win Saturday.

1. HATE: This is very important. But it has to come from both sides, not just from an inferiority complex on one side.

2. PROXIMITY: The closer the better. Fans will mix throughout the year — not just on game day — adding spice to the pot. Check Alabama versus Auburn. There are exceptions like Dallas-Washington in the NFL and USC-Notre Dame, but usually familiarity of geography breeds contempt and great recruiting battles, which only heat the stove more.

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The 2006 LSU Tigers football team represented Louisiana State University in the college football season of 2006–2007. The team was coached by Les Miles.

The 2007 LSU Tigers football team represented Louisiana State University during the 2007 NCAA Division I FBS football season. It won the Southeastern Conference ( SEC )

3. BALANCE: Each team needs to win somewhat frequently, or else the dominant winner doesn't see the other as a rival. Check LSU-Alabama.

4. HISTORY. Sometimes, a series is scorching hot, but only for a few years. That happened with LSU-Auburn. LSU-Texas A&M may be the hottest rivalry for both schools right now, but that is mainly because of the fight after the game last season. LSU had won six in a row before that, including four by an average of three touchdowns. We'll see if that one lasts.

5. NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE: Not always necessary, but it helps with the hate.

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The 1958 LSU Tigers football team represented Louisiana State University ( LSU ) in American football during the 1958 NCAA University Division football season.

The 1959 LSU Tigers football team represented Louisiana State University in the 1959 NCAA University Division football season.

LSU's best rivalry at the moment is with Florida. The No. 6 Tigers (5-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) host No. 7 Florida (6-0, 3-0 SEC) at 7 p.m. Saturday in Tiger Stadium on ESPN, which will also be in town for its College GameDay show.

Let's see how the rivalry measures up, according to the above criteria:

1. Hurricane spawned the hate. The Tigers and Gators haven't always hated one another, but since the Hurricane Matthew fiasco in 2016 when the storm postponed and moved the game from Gainesville, Florida, to Baton Rouge, the hate squalls remain. There was some pushing and shoving before the game that season. And every year, both sides of players and fans are chirping before, during and after the game.

2. Fans close enough to mix it up. The LSU campus is 590 miles from the Florida campus in Gainesville, Florida. But both schools are state schools, and the Louisiana state line is less than 200 miles from the Florida state line on Interstate 10 East. Florida is also the closest SEC East school to LSU. And Louisianans flock to the Florida beaches in Pensacola, Fort Walton and Destin every spring, summer, and sometimes fall. So, rival fans mix together over sand. A drive from New Orleans to Pensacola, for example, is only three hours.

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The 2005 LSU Tigers football team represented Louisiana State University in the 2005 NCAA Division I-A football season. Coached by Les Miles in his first season at LSU

The 1993 LSU Tigers football team represented Louisiana State University in the college football season of 1993. The Tigers played their home games at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. LSU suffered its worst loss in program history

3. As balanced as it gets. Florida leads the series by only four games, 33-29-3. In this century, LSU leads,11-10. LSU won three in a row from 2013-15, but that's the longest period of "domination" since Florida won nine consecutive and 13 of 14 from 1988 through 2001.

4. Lots of history. These two schools played every season from 1953 through 1967 and from 1971 through 1991 before the SEC expanded from 10 to 12 teams and went to the SEC West and East divisions. So it was only natural geography and habit with historical precedence that the SEC would make LSU and Florida remain permanent opponents across division lines from 1992 and onward, just like Auburn and Georgia and Alabama and Tennessee. Those were also the six schools designated as the historical "haves" by the SEC going into expansion in 1992 with Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and newbies South Carolina and Arkansas as the "have nots."

One of LSU's most treasured victories happened on Oct. 11, 1997, when the No. 14 Tigers upset No. 1 Florida, 28-21 in Tiger Stadium, and the goal posts came down like twigs within minutes of horn. Another one of LSU's most memorable wins came 10 years later on Oct. 6 when No. 1 LSU beat No. 9 Florida, 28-24, in Tiger Stadium on its way to the national championship. Tailback Jacob Hester converted two fourth-and-one runs on the Tigers' winning TD drive.

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The 1908 LSU Tigers football team represented the LSU Tigers of Louisiana State University during the 1908 college football season. The Tigers were coached by Edgar Wingard and posted a perfect

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5. No. 6 vs. No. 7. This game often means a lot nationally and it has usually been the most significant West vs. East SEC game over the years. This will be the fourth top 10 pairing since 2009 and the 16th ranked pairing this century. The two schools shared four national championships evenly between 2003 and 2008.

"Everyone says that LSU has a lot of different rivals," LSU quarterback Joe Burrow said Monday. "We have a trophy with Arkansas. Ole Miss is supposedly a rival (and that game also has a trophy). Alabama, but ..."

Alabama has won eight in a row, including the last four by an average of 17 points with two shutouts.

"I think this is the biggest one," said Burrow, who threw two interceptions, including a pick-6 for Florida's final points with 1:45 to go in a 27-19 loss at Florida last season. "I don't like them very much. I know they don't like us very much."

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks completed just 12-of-27 passes for 161 yards in that game, but his celebration after the game has stuck with LSU defensive end Breiden Fehoko.

"I forgot that quarterback's name — their starting quarterback," he said. "Whatever, I don't know his name. But he was running around celebrating on the field like he won the Super Bowl."

LSU-Florida does not need to be marketed with a trophy the way LSU-Arkansas and LSU-Ole Miss have been -- to little avail. Partly because it has a natural hate going strong.

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The 2017 LSU Tigers football team represented Louisiana State University in the 2017 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Tigers played their home games at Tiger Stadium in Baton

The 1990 LSU Tigers football team represented Louisiana State University in the 1990 NCAA Division I-A football season. The Tigers played their home games at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

"We don't like them. We don't," LSU outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson said of Florida. "I'm not even going to sugarcoat it. It's just something that goes with the history of the programs. Obviously, two great teams. It's just bad blood colliding. Very passionate programs. A lot of emotions. A lot of unsportsmanlike conduct in the game. Physical punches thrown after the play. We've got to hold our composure. Not get out of hand. No unsportsmanlike conduct penalties."

LSU players and coaches are acutely knowledgeable of the history of LSU-Florida.

"Go back to 2007 and Jacob Hester," said LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry, who was 9 year old at the time. "A lot of history. It's just a great atmosphere every time we play."

And there is recent history.

"It still sticks with me," Cushenberry said of the 27-19 loss last season at Florida. "I remember we gave up 11 tackles for loss, five sacks, eight quarterback hurries."

His numbers were right on.

"So, I'll be reminding my group for the rest of this week," he said. "We have to play better. We've been talking about this game forever. Not really circling this game, but we knew this game was coming."

Sounds like he has circled it. Sounds like a rivalry.

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: LSU football: Why Florida football team is Tigers' biggest SEC rival

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