On Thursday morning, the University of Florida confirmed that it has struck a deal to continue playing in-state rival Florida State in football each season through 2018, according to John Taylor of College Football Talk.
Prior to the deal being struck, the Gators and Seminoles did not have any games scheduled past the 2014 season. Per Taylor:
The Gators confirmed Thursday morning that its series with the Seminoles has been extended through the 2018 season. The 2015 and 2017 games will be played in Gainesville, while the 2016 and 2018 matchups will be contested in Tallahassee.
The most recent contract between the two schools had been set to expire following the 2014 game.
Since their first meeting in 1958, Florida and Florida State have met 58 times, playing at least once every year during that span. The schools met twice in the 1994 and 1996 seasons, both times playing each other in the regular season and in the Sugar Bowl, and Florida holds the all-time edge 34-22-2.
However, Florida State has gained the upper hand recently, winning three of the last four meetings. Florida has been held to seven points in each of those Seminoles victories, losing by an average of 23 points per game.
Florida State's 37-7 win en route to the BCS National Championship in 2013 was the largest margin of victory in the series since Tim Tebow led Florida to an equal-sized win, 45-15, in 2008.
The Gators would also go on to claim a national title after winning the rivalry game by 30 points.
This news comes not as a surprise but as a relief. With rumors that the ACC is planning to expand its conference schedule to nine games, there were paranoid whispers that Florida State might need to cut its nonconference rival.
First-year FSU athletic director Stan Wilcox shot down those whispers in a Feb. 18 interview with David Hale of ESPN.com, more than a week before this announcement.
"Whatever we do in the ACC, we have to work around some of those rivalries [vs. the SEC]," Wilcox said." "Those aren’t going to change, and there’s enough votes in that room to not change those rivalries. We’re not concerned about that."
Florida State will host Florida in the regular-season finale at Doak Campbell Stadium on Nov. 29, 2014.
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT
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