The Seminoles are heading into their final game of the season with two things on their minds: Maryland beating NCST and defeating Florida for the first time since 2003.
This series has been heavily dominated by the Gators for the last six seasons. They are looking to reach that lucky No. 7 to end what has been a disappointing season for them.
On the other spectrum, the Seminoles are looking to end the Gators' win streak and start one of their own. Not only is it a rivalry game, but it gives them a chance to have bragging rights until next season and claim what most Floridians call the state championship, since they defeated Miami earlier in the season.
"It would be pretty big for us to get this win, but it's not going to be easy," Christian Ponder said. "That's one of our goals."
Ponder will be looking for a sweet ending to his career at Florida State. And to do it at home would be the icing on the cake.
He has been battling injuries all season and even missed the Clemson game because of one. So having the opportunity to finish out at home and against their hated rivalry is something he will never forget.
“We haven’t lived up to our expectations this year, and I put a lot of the blame on my shoulders,” Ponder said. “This is a great opportunity for us to finish our season strong and hopefully get a shot at the ACC Championship against Virginia Tech. All we can do is take care of our business and hope everything works out the way we want.”
First year head coach Jimbo Fisher understands how much this rivalry means to the fans and the players.
“There is nothing like a good rivalry, and this one tops the charts on ones that I have been involved with,” Fisher said.
One thing I hope the Seminoles don’t do is continue to look up at that scoreboard to see what is going on in the NCST-Maryland game. I understand that, if Maryland wins, then the Seminoles will be heading to the ACC Championship game.
But they shouldn’t lose focus on the game at hand.
Don’t get me wrong: It would be awesome to play in the ACC Championship game. But to me, nothing feels better than beating the Florida Gators—unless we won a National Championship, of course.
They will need to be prepared and focused. Not looking past the Gators by any means because they are still an explosive team and could cause some problems for the Seminoles' defense.
However, if the Seminoles can play consistently for the entire game, I don’t think they can lose this game. We saw what they are capable of when they play a full game when they dismantled Miami on the road.
Anything can happen when a rivalry game takes places. But I fully expect the Seminoles to come out strong and walk away with a win, ending their six-game losing streak to the Gators.