To state the obvious, the Florida State Seminoles (7-4) and Florida Gators (6-5) have both had disappointing football seasons. Both teams have had to deal with their share of injuries -- the Gators lost QB John Brantley for an extended period, and the Seminoles had their defense reduced to tatters -- and neither team is currently ranked in the AP top 25 poll. After starting the season with such lofty hopes and aspirations, this has been a season full of frustration around the state of Florida.
The Seminoles and Gators will have a chance to work out some of that frustration, though, as they face each other this upcoming Saturday (Nov. 26th) in the final game of the season. One team will go home with their poor season mollified, while the other will be given one more reason to curse the football gods.
When given a chance yesterday to speak about their seasons thus far, FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher and Gators coach Will Muschamp had widely varying takes. Fisher and Muschamp are both high profile coaches in their first year with their new teams, and it's interesting to see how they have both responded to the unexpected stress and struggles of this season:
Muschamp: "I don't really look at it from that standpoint,'' Muschamp said when asked if he's pleased with the job Weis has done. "I look at it as the big-picture standpoint - offense, defense, special teams. We're certainly not pleased with the season in any respect. It's totally unacceptable here at Florida, and I realize that. Our goal is to go to Atlanta, so in all areas we need to improve. And we need to improve offensively. Regardless of the circumstances, regardless of youth, injuries, we can go through the laundry list of reasons. At the end of the day, they're excuses and we need to play better.' (St. Petersburg Times)
Fisher: "I don't like the fact that we lost," Fisher continued. "I'm not happy with what happened. We had some (bad) things, but they're very fixable and you can flip it around in a heartbeat. We're very close to that."
"I love the direction we're going." (Orlando Sentinel)
In all fairness, the 'Noles have had a better season than the Gators. They have won more games and played well against some tough opponents, so it's not surprising that Fisher is more upbeat in his comments than Muschamp.
But will he still be smiling after this weekend's game? The Gators lead the total series between the two clubs (33-20-2), but the Seminoles rolled over the Gators last year, 31-7. With so much on the line for both teams, this year's matchup will certainly be interesting to watch.