Adapted from a St. Petersburg Times story by Brian Landman that ran Nov. 16, 2004.
There is no shortage of ways to measure Bobby Bowden's stellar career as Florida State's coach.
There are more than 300 of his Division I-A wins there, which is why the field is named for him. There are the unprecedented 14 consecutive seasons (1987-2000) of at least 10 wins and top 5 finishes. There are the two national championships.
And then there is this telling number: seven.
That's how many Florida coaches he has matched wits against: Doug Dickey, Charley Pell, Galen Hall, Gary Darnell, Steve Spurrier, Ron Zook and Urban Meyer. That's a testament as much to the volatility of the coaching profession as to Bowden's success.
You don't get to stay around long if you lose too often, especially to your archrival.
"The winner gets to brag," Bowden said. "The loser has to hide the rest of the year."
Here's a look back at Bowden's matchups against the Gators:
Dickey (1976-79): Bowden's Seminoles won the final three years against Dickey's group, which marked the first time FSU had won consecutive games against UF since the series began in 1958. The Gators had won 16 of the previous 19 meetings.
"I think Doug was one of the best coaches in college football, period," Bowden said. "He had great success at Tennessee and he had great success at the University of Florida. '77 was one that kind of turned our fortunes around."
Pell (1980-84): The Seminoles won in 1980, then lost the next three, including 53-14 in 1983. Pell resigned after UF was hit with 59 sanctions.
"If Charley hadn't gotten into trouble with the NCAA, I really felt like Charley was one of the best coaches I've ever been around," Bowden said. "He was a miniature Bear Bryant."
Hall (1984-89): He took over for the last nine games of the 1984 season and promptly won his first three against FSU before losing in 1987 and 1988. His 17-13 win in Tallahassee in 1986 was the last win at Doak by a Gator.
"Galen did a real good job," Bowden said. "They had great material and Galen did what he was supposed to do; he got them ready to play."
Darnell (1989): He took over on an interim basis for Hall with seven games left that season and lost 24-17 to the Seminoles.
"He was a very solid coach, but he was only there about half a year," Bowden said. "It is (strange to face an interim coach), it really is. We won that night. It was a struggle down there, but we won."
Spurrier (1990-2001): He was 5-8-1, but that included a resounding 52-20 win in the 1997 Sugar Bowl that gave the Gators Spurrier's lone national title.
"When Steve came, he turned that program into a national power," Bowden said. "Some of the great (national) games the next 12 years were between Florida State and Florida. Some of the great games."
Spurrier, who dubbed FSU "Free Shoes University" in 1994 after some Seminoles got in trouble for a shopping spree at a Foot Locker, also helped changed the tenor of the rivalry.
Before that Sugar Bowl rematch, Spurrier accused the FSU coaches on national television of teaching their defensive players dirty tactics. He then circulated a video showing what he called late hits on quarterback Danny Wuerffel in the 1996 regular-season finale. Pregame and postgame brawls have marred several games since, something you don't see in the Seminoles' other rivalry game.
"If I were to claim Miami were dirty, if I were to claim Miami roughed the passer, if I claimed stuff like that, you'd have the same thing there," Bowden said. "We don't do that. They don't do it neither. Zook doesn't do it either."
Zook (2002-04): FSU won the first two against Zook's Gators before Zook, coaching his final game at Florida as a lame duck, was carried off the field after a victory.
"I still think Ron would have done a real good job if they would have given him time," Bowden said. "I felt like he should have been given his four or five years. It's always been an unwritten rule in coaching that you need five years. The first year you feel like it's wasted because you didn't get there in time to recruit. Your next recruiting class is your first full-time (effort), so give those kids four years. If you can't win by then, that's a good enough test."
URBAN MEYER (2005-): Bowden had his least success against the latest Gator coach. Meyer won his first five meetings with Bowden, including a 34-7 rout in their first meeting in 2005 and piling up 45 points against the Seminoles in both 2007 and '08.