On Saturday, the 5-4 Florida Gators will take on SEC Eastern division rival South Carolin in The Swamp. Florida and South Carolina first met in 1911 with a 6-6 tie in Columbia. The Gators first-ever win over the Gamecocks came in 1912 in Gainesville with a 10-6 victory. Florida leads the all-time series 29-10-3 over the Gamecocks. The Gators first-ever loss to Carolina came in 1913 by a score of 13-0 in Columbia to the Gamecocks. Florida's largest margin of victory over Carolina was a 63-7 win at Williams-Brice Stadium as Steve Spurrier's Gators pounded the Gamecocks. Florida won 14 consecutive games over Carolina from 1964-2004 until Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks knocked off Urban Meyer's Gators 30-22 at Williams-Brice Stadium in 2005. South Carolina's first-ever win in The Swamp over the Gators came in 2010 with a 36-14 victory.
The annual November showdown between the Gators and the Gamecocks was a yearly matchup when the Gamecocks joined the SEC in 1992. Florida dominated the Gamecocks as Carolina endured hard times until Lou Holtz took over in 1999 but never beat the Gators. Florida and South Carolina was not considered a rivalry until legendary former Florida head coach Steve Spurrier took over in Columbia in 2005. The Gamecocks have had their share of victories over the Gators recently, while the Gators endured their hard times in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2021.
The Gators and the Gamecocks have played their share of great games in this series. Below I will list my top games between Florida and South Carolina.
1993: Florida traveled to Columbia for the first time since 1939. The Gamecocks outplayed the Gators through most of the game and jumped out to a big lead. Freshman quarterback Danny Wuerffel would lead the Gators to a 37-26 comeback over the Gamecocks.
2000: The Gamecocks jumped out to a 21-3 lead in The Swamp over the Gators. However, the game's momentum was changed after Lito Sheppard returned a punt for a touchdown. Florida pulled away to win 41-21 and would clinch the SEC East over the Gamecocks.
2006: Urban Meyer and the Gators had already clinched the SEC East but still had bigger goals ahead of them. This game was also former Gators head coach Steve Spurrier's first game back to The Swamp as South Carolina's head coach. Carolina controlled most of the game, but the Gators were not going to the lose in The Swamp. The Gamecocks got into field goal range, and Ryan Succop attempted a game-winning field goal, but it was blocked by defensive end, Jarvis Moss. Florida survived a Gamecock upset 17-16.
2018: The Gators were down by 17 late in the third quarter. It would also be Florida's biggest second-half comeback since 1986. After South Carolina got the ball back to try to score a winning touchdown, the ball was incepted by CJ Henderson. Florida came back to beat the Gamecocks 35-31 after Felipe Franks had taken heat from Gator fans on social media.
Florida is looking to become bowl eligible on Saturday against the Gamecocks. South Carolina has looked good at times, as they had a big home win against Texas A&M, but slipped the following week at home against Missouri. The Gators are coming off their biggest road win of the season against Texas A&M, which was a confidence builder. The Gators will look to send the seniors off on a positive note on Saturday against the Gamecocks. A win on Saturday would not only get the Gators bowl eligible but would be another confidence building win, as the Gamecocks have the better record at 6-3. South Carolina is always a dangerous team, but if they had not lost that game to Missouri, I would give them a better chance to win against the Gators.
I am not sure who will be the favorite, but the game is in Gainesville, if the game was in Columbia, Carolina would be favorite. Both schools still have a lot to play for, so don't expect either team to sleep walk through this one. If the Gators win out, then I expect either the Gator Bowl or the ReliaQuest Bowl in Tampa. I expect the same for South Carolina if they win out. I am on the Florida side of things so I am hoping for the best for the Gators.
Feature Photo Credit: FloridaGators.com