FSU Football 2022 Opponent Preview: Florida
Image Credit: UAA

FSU Football 2022 Opponent Preview: Florida

The Seminoles end their season at home against hated rivals: the Florida Gators.

With the season fast approaching, and college football rolling full-steam ahead with current scheduling and formatting, fans are eager to hit the stands and cheer on their favorite team. 2022 is a do-or-die season for Mike Norvell’s tenure at Florida State. While there was much to be proud of in FSU’s 2021 campaign, the 0-4 record, including a shocking loss to Jacksonville State, has left many speculating whether Norvell is the man for the job. Winning more than 6 games this season might be what it takes to demonstrate that the CLIMB is more than just rhetoric on Norvell’s part. To generate a buzz and momentum on the trail, the Seminoles must showcase their growth in wins this season.

It’s now or never; for the Seminole faithful, it’s time to preview our upcoming season’s opponents.

Game 12: Florida

Head Coach: Billy Napier (HC Record 40-12)

Mascot: Albert and Alberta Gator

Conference: SEC

2021 Record: 6-7

History vs Florida State: 

The rivalry between UF and FSU runs deep. Woven within the fabric of the sport, college football has been defined by gamedays between the Seminoles and Gators. Being sister institutions, the rivalry dates back to 1958, when the Gators won 21-7 in Gainesville, FL. The first six games between these two programs were played in Gainesville, FL due to UF’s insistence. With over a 50-year head start on FSU, they naturally began the series leading 5-0-1. That changed when FSU took their first game at home in Tallahassee, winning 16-7 in 1964.

Since the early days, the series now stands at 37-26-2, with the edge going to the Gators. They’ve also won the last three games in the series, with their most recent win coming in 2021 in Gainesville, winning 24-21. This season will be the first the Gators have made their way to Tallahassee in the Norvell era and marks the first game in the series for UF’s new head coach, Billy Napier.

Florida Storylines to Follow

New Face in Billy Napier

Dan Mullen exited stage left towards the end of the 2021 campaign, and Billy Napier entered the scene on November 28th, 2021. He came with accolades, having won the Sun Belt at Louisiana-Lafayette during his 2020 & 2021 campaigns, and earning the division title in the 2018 & 2019 campaigns. While there, he compiled an impressive 40-12 record as head coach. While the jump from the Sun Belt to the SEC might be significant, the expectations placed on his shoulders as an elite recruiter, with ties to the southeast, is that he will be able to build a Saban-Esque operation in Gainesville. The question is whether he has the coaching acumen and supporting staff around him to take advantage of what talent the Gators have left on their roster after the lackluster recruiting under Mullen.

All Eyes on AR

Anthony Richardson assumes the mantle of QB1 in Billy Napier’s debut as head coach. The Gators, with AR under center, completed 38 passes on 64 attempts (good for a 59.4% completion percentage), for 529 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. Meanwhile, AR went for 401 yards rushing on 51 attempts and 3 touchdowns. With all that said, AR only took snaps in five games in 2021, accounting for losses against Kentucky, LSU, and UGA, while winning against Vanderbilt and Florida State. Against FSU last season, AR completed 5 passes on 7 attempts, for 55 yards and 1 touchdown. Meanwhile, he was held to 27 yards total rushing on 11 attempts, accounting for 0 touchdowns.

Can AR improve on last season’s performance as the de-facto starter, with questions at the receiver position? Gator fans will find out quickly.

A Brutal Schedule

We will find out quick what this Gator team is in 2022 under first-year head coach Billy Napier as the Utah Utes make their way to Gainesville to kick off the season. While one would expect UF to win against a team from Utah, it should be noted that Utah is the reigning PAC-12 champion and is ranked 7th in the nation. Then, UF will take on a Kentucky team in Gainesville that has only improved under the guidance of Mark Stoops. They’ll then take on an easier USF squad at home before hitting the road to Knoxville to play against division contender Tennessee. After a home contest against an easy Eastern Washington, they get Mizzou at home (who have given the Gators fits since joining the SEC) before hosting an up-and-coming LSU squad beneath renowned coach Brian Kelly. It’s then a brutal stretch of a neutral site against defending National Champion UGA, on the road against West contender Texas A&M, back home against division opponent South Carolina, and an easy game against Vanderbilt before ending their season against FSU.

The range of expectations for Gator nation is vast, with outlandish expectations as high as 12-0 and some as low as 3-9. Even as a rival, I’d argue the range from 5-7 to 8-4 are all reasonable to expect.

Gameday Details

The Florida Gators make their way to Doak Campbell Stadium on Friday, November 25th, 2022 for a primetime matchup against the Florida State Seminoles. The game will be broadcast on ABC at 7:30 PM ET. Seminoles can purchase their tickets at Seminoles.com.

Keep up with the latest from Double Fries No Slaw by catching our latest episodes.

-Ed Kennedy