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Last time state's 'Big 3' was cracked? 1979



One of our regular commenters here, JupiterBull, posed an interesting question in the comments Monday night -- before USF's 17-7 win at Florida State 10 days ago, when was the last time one of the state's "Big Three" of Florida, Florida State and Miami lost to a state school not among those three schools?

You have to go back to 1979 -- more than twice as far back as USF's football history goes -- to find such a game, when I-AA Florida A&M pulled out a 16-13 upset of Miami in Tallahassee. You can read a story on the game from Sports Illustrated's online archives.

In the three decades since, the Big Three haven't given lesser in-state schools many chances at such an upset -- Miami has played 10 such games, with last year's 20-14 win against Central Florida the only one closer than two touchdowns. Florida has had just four such games -- Central Florida in '99 and '06, FAMU in '03 and Florida Atlantic in '07, all won by at least 30 points. And FSU avoided the rest of the state's programs almost entirely -- before the USF game, a '95 game against UCF was the only game against a Florida school outside the Big Three since 1959.

Before the FAMU loss in '79, Miami lost twice to the University of Tampa in the 1970s, losing 31-14 in 1970 and 7-0 in 1972. To find the last time FSU lost to a Florida school other than Florida or Miami, you have to go clear back to 1952, when Tampa beat the Seminoles 39-6 -- that's four years before USF was founded as a university in 1956.

And Florida? The Gators went 46 years without playing a state school outside from FSU and Miami from 1953 to 1999, and to find the last state loss other than those two, you have to go back to 1938, when Stetson opened the season with a 16-14 win against the Gators.

The only smaller state schools to beat the Gators have since disbanded their programs -- Rollins, which beat Florida in 1906 and 1908, folded in 1944; Stetson, which also beat Florida in 1909, stopped football after the 1956 season, and Florida Southern, which beat the Gators in 1919, didn't survive the Depression, playing its last game in 1933.

Miami actually has two games against in-state opponents in the next two weeks, hosting Florida A&M this weekend and going to UCF on Oct. 17, and then the Hurricanes come to Tampa to face USF on Nov. 28.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 7:19pm]


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