23The only thing consistent is change and when it comes to the Florida State-Florida rivalry there has been a lot of change during the past 20 years since the Bobby Bowden-Steve Spurrier series of games ended with Spurrier’s departure after the 2001 season.

Since then 4 Florida State coaches have taken on the mantle of head coach (interim or otherwise) in this game and 8 coaches have led the Gators into this in-state rivalry.

The best way to log these changes is to go back to the games from 20, 15, 10 and 5 years ago. It’s a good barometer of where the program was at the time and what was to come.

20 Years Ago

Nov. 30, 2002: FSU 31, Florida 14

Head coaches: Bobby Bowden (FSU); Ron Zook (Florida)

What happened: Florida State recovered from a tumultuous week to take down the Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium. Leon Washington rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown and Anquan Boldin caught 2 touchdowns passes from Chris Rix. Rex Grossman threw for 303 yards, but an interception return for a touchdown by linebacker Kendyll Pope put the game out of reach during the 3rd quarter. It was a sweet ending for the Seminoles after the week started with the dismissal of then-starting quarterback Adrian McPherson after his arrest on a charge of felony grand theft. McPherson eventually took a plea deal in the case.

What happened next: Florida State finished the season with a 26-13 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl. The Seminoles would only win 2 more ACC titles under Bowden (2003, 2005). Florida went 8-5 in its first season under Zook, losing to 38-30 to Michigan in the Outback Bowl. Zook lasted just 3 seasons, going 23-14.

15 Years Ago

Nov. 24, 2007: Florida 45, FSU 12

Head coaches: Urban Meyer (Florida); Bobby Bowden (FSU)

What happened: Tim Tebow wrapped up his Heisman Trophy campaign with 5 total touchdowns in the Gators’ blowout win, their 4th straight win in the series. Tebow threw for 262 yards and 3 touchdown passes while rushing for 89 yards and 2 more scores. Percy Harvin rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown. Florida State didn’t have many bright spots at the Swamp, but Gary Cismesia hit a 60-yard field goal just before halftime.

What happened next: Florida went 9-4, scoring 45 or more points in 8 of those wins. The Gators, however, lost 41-35 to Michigan in the Capital One Bowl. Florida State was in the middle of a 6-game losing streak against Florida with Bowden going 0-5 against Urban Meyer. The Seminoles would have all 7 of their wins during 2007 vacated because of an academic cheating scandal. FSU, with 36 players suspended because of that scandal, lost to Kentucky 35-28 in the Music City Bowl.

10 Years Ago

Nov. 24, 2012: Florida 37, FSU 26

Head coaches: Will Muschamp (Florida); Jimbo Fisher (FSU)

What happened: Florida rushed for 244 yards and forced 5 turnovers in the Gators’ win at Doak Campbell Stadium, their only win against the Seminoles while Jimbo Fisher was head coach. Florida State rallied with a 17-point 3rd quarter to take a 20-13 lead, but the Gators answered with a 24-point 4th quarter to take the victory. Mike Gillislee rushed for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Matt Jones had 81 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel threw a touchdown pass and rushed for 2 scores but also threw three interceptions and lost a fumble.

What happened next: The 2012 season was the bright spot for Will Muschamp at Florida. The Gators went 11-2 with a 33-23 loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl. Muschamp couldn’t repeat the success and was fired 2 years later. The Seminoles recovered to beat Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game and beat Northern Illinois 31-10 in the Orange Bowl to finish 12-2. They would win their 3rd national title the following season behind redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston.

5 Years Ago

Nov. 25, 2017: FSU 38, Florida 22

Head coaches: Jimbo Fisher (FSU); Randy Shannon (Florida, interim)

What happened: Florida State got 2 defensive touchdowns to beat Florida at the Swamp in what would be Jimbo Fisher’s final game as head coach of the Seminoles. With rumors of Fisher’s departure swirling, the Seminoles managed to beat the Gators for the 6th time in 7 years. Both teams had seasons to forget and came into the game with 4-6 records — the 1st time since 1986 that neither team was ranked going into the game. It was a sloppy, albeit somewhat entertaining game. Florida pulled to within 24-16 after 3 quarters, but Cam Akers rushed for a touchdown and James Blackman threw for a score to Auden Tate to put the game out of reach. Florida had dismissed Jim McElwain during late October and was being coached by Randy Shannon.

What happened next: Where do I start? Fisher resigned from Florida State the following Tuesday and longtime assistant Odell Haggins would guide FSU to a win in its regular-season finale against Louisiana-Monroe and a 42-13 victory over Southern Mississippi in the Independence Bowl to finish 7-6. The Seminoles hired Willie Taggart to replace Fisher and fired him after 21 games. Florida would finish 4-7 and go on long search for its next coach before taking Dan Mullen from Mississippi State, eventually firing him after just short of 4 seasons.

That leads us to the 1st head-to-head match between Mike Norvell and Billy Napier. It would be easy to assume this will be the start of a competitive series of games between them, but with the way things have gone over the past 20 years, there are no guarantees.