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Avoiding Long Road Trips: Gators Play It Close to Home For Forty Years

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 2:  University of Florida Gators fans watch the action during the game against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 2, 2006 in Gainesville, Florida.  The Gators defeated the Eagles 34-7.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Pete MisthaufenAnalyst IJune 26, 2016

Every knows that Florida does not like to play regular season games out of the state of Florida.  The Gators like to load up on cupcakes at home and take Florida day trips.

This did not begin with Urban Meyer, though he has weakened even the home schedule.

Florida has avoided playing regular season games outside of the states comprising the SEC for most of its history.

So, come with me and explore just how rarely Florida actually plays a road game out of its conference territory.

Of the six OOC regular season games that Florida has played out of SEC territory in the last forty years, only three were played in states that were not part of the Confederacy. 

In fact, including bowl games, Florida has won only two games in the last forty years outside of the states that made up the Confederacy.



An important year for the Gators, this marks the last time Florida played a regular season road game out of SEC territory.  Since then, every single Florida out-of-conference game has been played in the state of Florida.

Of course, during that period, Florida did play Miami and Florida State, two of the best programs in the country (and usually lost to both).

Florida stopped its annual series with Miami (which started in 1938) after the 1987 season, playing only three regular season games against Miami since then.  Of course, everyone knows why they dropped Miami back when Miami was the best team in college football.

Now, in 1991, Florida played at Syracuse.  Of course, Florida lost the game, 21-38.  Interesting note, Syracuse finished the season with the same record as Florida (10-2), but was ranked four spots below the Gators at No. 11.



Florida, having one of many average seasons in the mid-1980s, played a neutral site game in New Jersey against Rutgers, winning 15-3.  Rutgers went 5-5-1 that season (though Temple later forfeited a win, giving Rutgers historical winning record at 6-4-1).



Florida went on its longest regular season road trip ever, playing at USC.  It was a very bad year for USC under new coach Ted Tollner.  USC went 4-6-1, but the tie was the game against Florida.



Florida travelled to play Southwest Conference power Houston.  Houston finished the season at No. 5 in the AP Poll and had a Cotton Bowl victory over Nebraska.  Its only loss was to top 15 Texas, the only team to put up over 20 points on the Cougars.

Florida lost 14-10, not bad considering how good Houston was at the time.



Florida went again to Houston that year, but not to play the Cougars.  Instead, they played a 1-10 Rice team whose only win was against Idaho.  Gators win, 48-3.





A trip up to North Carolina to face Lou Holtz's Wolfpack turned out poorly for the Gators, as they lost 7-8.  North Carolina State finished the season 7-4-1.




So there we have it.  Six regular season games out of SEC territory in forty years.  Shocking to say the least.  And mighty Florida has a losing record.

Interesting enough, this pronounced failure in games oustide of the South transfers over to bowl games as well.

Florida has played six bowl games out of SEC territory.  Prior to playing Ohio State in Arizona at the BCS title game, the Gators had lost all five bowl games outside of the Old South.

Florida is basically a regional team that does not play inter-sectional games outside of the South.  The Gators do not play in the North (two games in forty years, no less). 

So, come on, lets publicize the truth about the Gators, a team that has avoided road trips and travel for decades, a true fair-weather team.

Too bad for Coach Meyer.  The BCS title game is in California this year.

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