Ordinarily, Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan would be downplaying tonight's showdown with No. 13 Kansas as just another game. And considering it's a long season, he would be correct.
But Monday even Donovan had to acknowledge that having a perennial power like the Jayhawks visit the O'Dome in early December is a pretty big deal.
"For our school and our fans, it's great," Donovan said. "I really feel like coming out of the Wisconsin game, on the road the second game of the year, made our team better. I think the UConn game, going through that experience made our team better. I'm sure this game will be the same way. Here it is Dec. 10 and we've played several teams that will be ranked in the top 10, so you get a really good feeling of where you're at as a team. ...
No. 19 Florida vs. No. 13 Kansas
When/where: 7; Stephen C. O'Connell Center, Gainesville
TV/radio: ESPN; 620-AM
Records: Kansas 6-2, Florida 6-2
Notable: The Gators and Jayhawks meet in the marquee matchup of the inaugural Big 12-SEC Challenge. The Big 12 leads 6-2. … Gators F Casey Prather is averaging a team-leading 19.1 points. … Kansas is in the midst of a six-game road trip. … The Gators will be putting their 20-game home winning streak on the line, but C Patric Young said it's not something the Gators are overly concerned with. "All streaks are going to come to an end at some point," Young said. "If it ends tomorrow, the season's still going and you can't do anything about it. If it keeps going, it keeps going. We are only in control of what we can control."...
Florida State played in the first three Bowl Championship Series title games that began 16 years ago. Now the Seminoles will play in the final one.
FSU (13-0) and Auburn (12-1) finished the season ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the final BCS standings released Sunday night, and will play for the national championship on Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif.
FSU is the only unbeaten Division I-A team in the nation....
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Heading into Saturday night, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said he wouldn't allow his players to focus on anything other than the ACC title game against No. 20 Duke.
No Heisman Trophy talk for quarterback Jameis Winston. No national championship talk at all for the rest of the Seminoles.
Today, everything has changed. The Seminoles are free to discuss both subjects openly....
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Florida State's Jimbo Fisher has agreed to a new contract that will boost him into the 10 highest-paid coaches in the country, the Palm Beach Post reported Saturday.
The deal, expected to be announced this week, would pay Fisher an average of about $4.1 million and last five to seven years, the Post reported.
FSU spokesman Elliott Finebloom said the school could not confirm the report. ...
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When Duke coach David Cutcliffe walked off the field after the Belk Bowl on Dec. 27, he had no idea how important that double-digit loss to Cincinnati would turn out to be.
In the immediate aftermath, his team was devastated and demoralized — which turned into serious motivation for improvement.
Nearly one year later, No. 20 Duke returns to that same field, Bank of America Stadium, to play No. 1 Florida State in tonight's ACC title game. ...
Will Grier, the senior North Carolina QB who has orally committed to Florida, has been named the Gatorade North Carolina Player of the Year.
It is the second consecutive year Grier has earned the honor.
Grier led Davidson Day School to a 12-1 record and a third consecutive North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association state championship this season. Grier, who is 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, threw for 4,989 yards and 77 touchdowns....
A few days prior to the Gators' season finale against FSU, senior RG Jon Halapio said he hadn't received any inviations to participate in an postseason events, but if and when some came, he'd gladly except.
His first came today.
Halapio said via Twitter that he has been invited to participate in the 2014 Senior Bowl. He will join teammate and CB Jaylen Watkins, who has also accepted an invitation....
Florida senior guard Scottie Wilbekin suffered a high ankle sprain on his right foot in Monday night's game at UConn and is out indefinitely.
He is the Gators' second point guard to be stricken with an injury in the past two weeks. Freshman Kasey Hill suffered a high ankle sprain on Nov. 18 and has not played since.
It is a huge setback for the Gators and Wilbekin, who missed the first five games due to a suspension for violation of team rules....
In its game against Florida State this past weekend, Florida couldn't muster up but one touchdown and capped off its 4-8 season struggling on offense as it had all season.
Yet that didn't seem to deter WR recruit Ryan Sousa.
According to multiple reports, the 3-star WR out of Ornaldowho had been committed to FSU, decided he instead wants to attend Florida.
UPDATED WITH STATEMENT FROM DELTA AIRLINES
If you've ever flown on Delta Airlines, you know there's an excellent chance you won't make it through the trip without some kind of drama.
But the airline took that to a new level on Sunday, when it cancelled an Atlanta-bound commercial flight from Gainesville Regional Airport to accommodate the University of Florida men's basketball team....
GAINESVILLE — Loucheiz Purifoy made it official Monday that he will be the Gators' first defection to the NFL.
With a mother battling multiple illnesses including serious heart and kidney trouble, the CB announced he will bypass his senior season and enter the NFL draft. The Pensacola native played in 35 games in his career, with 19 starts and 102 tackles.
"I have had a great three years at the University of Florida, but at this time I think it's best for me and my family to pursue a career in the NFL," Purifoy said. "Coach (Will) Muschamp and Coach (Travaris) Robinson have put me in a position to take the next step. I know there is still a lot of work for me ahead, but I appreciate what everyone at Florida did to get me to this point."...
As expected, Florida junior CB Loucheiz Purifoy has announced he will bypass his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.
Purifoy told ESPN following Saturday's 37-7 loss to Florida State that he would not return, but the Gators made the official announcement today.
“I have had a great three years at the University of Florida, but at this time I think it's best for me and my family to pursue a career in the NFL,’’ Purifoy said. “Coach (Will) Muschamp and Coach (Travaris) Robinson have put me in a position to take the next step. I know there is still a lot of work for me ahead, but I appreciate what everyone at Florida did to get me to this point.
At 6-0, 183 pounds, Purifoy has been projected by several NFL analysts as a first-round pick. ESPN Draft analyst Todd McShay lists Purifoy as the No. 5 DB available in the draft.
In his final game as a Gator, Purifoy intercepted FSU QB Jameis Winston in the first half of the game. He completed the season with 24 tackles and two interceptions.
"There are a lot of factors that go into making these individual and personal decisions and I’m 100 percent supportive of Loucheiz’s choice to enter into the NFL Draft,’’ Muschamp said. “Loucheiz has come a long way from when I sat in his living room with his family during the recruiting process and he also knows his work is not done."...
Florida senior F Casey Prather was named Co-SEC Player of the Week today for his performances last week against Jacksonville and Florida State. He shares the weekly honor with Mississippi State’s Craig Sword.
Prather averaged 23 points and 4.5 rebounds in leading the Gators to wins over the Dolphins and Seminoles.
He made 73.9 percent (17-of-13) of his field goals for the week, including going 11-of-13 against JU....
GAINESVILLE — Less than 24 hours after Florida coach Will Muschamp and athletic director Jeremy Foley said fundamental offensive changes were necessary after a 4-8 season, Muschamp fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis on Sunday morning.
Florida, which finished No. 112 out of 123 Division I-A teams in total offense, seeks its fifth offensive coordinator since 2008 and third in four years under Muschamp....