Ranking of all of UF’s SEC rivals, according to The Athletic

The future of the Southeastern Conference looks bright with the upcoming addition of the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners to the prestigious school group. Ahead of their inclusion, however, there is no shortage of speculation and hand-wringing over what the structure of the league will be and how the schedule for the 16 teams will be determined.

Much of the discussion on these issues focuses on existing and potential rivalries between the schools of the conference, as these games are truly the moneymakers and reinforce the SEC’s longstanding traditions. G. Allen Taylor of The Athletic recently took on the task of ranking all of Florida football’s rivals based on his experience on the team.

Below is a look at Taylor’s ranking of all 15 opposing schools in the SEC once the two newcomers arrive, along with a brief excerpt from the author’s blurb. Some of the choices are pretty obvious while others are more intriguing.

15 Vanderbilt

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Florida has won 30 of the last 31 games in the series. During their total of 55 meetings, the Commodores were only ranked once – that was in 1950.

14 Missouri

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After their mid-term dusting in 2020, Mullen dabbled in cosplay and Eli Drinkwitz spent a year plotting his lightsaber revenge. Otherwise, there’s little pulse in this series, which Mizzou leads 6-5.

13 State of Mississippi

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The Bulldogs are a top 7 Gators opponents of all time in terms of games played (55), thanks to the school reunions that were held every season from 1962 through 1993. That ended with expansion to 12 teams and the start of division play when Florida was permanent crossovers became Auburn and LSU.

12 Arkansas

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I’m not sure how much that resonates with Gators fans because the series has been so sporadic. Florida leads 10-2, including SEC championship wins in 1995 and 2006, most notable for propelling the Gators into national championship games.

11South Carolina

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Florida has had a 24-6 head-to-head advantage since Carolina joined the SEC, none of those wins being more dramatic than Jarvis Moss’ cock block to retain the 2006 national title run.

10 Kentucky

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At 72 matches, this is the third-most-played series in Florida and one that means more to Kentucky fans than the Gators. It’ll likely be anticipated when the new football planning format is ready, but at the very least we’ll likely keep basketball’s annual home-and-home.

9 Ole Fraulein

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A series of only 25 meetings seems paltry for schools that were charter members of the SEC in 1932. But those programs coincidentally overlapped on September 27, 2008 – a game that gave Ole Miss a monumental 31-30 upset at The Swamp and provided Tim Tebow with a platform for his prophetic “Promise” speech.

8 Texas

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It’s one of those mega-brand clashes that makes realignment actually tempting. After covering Big 12 football for eight years, the Longhorns are magnetic — even when they falter. The temptation to flash “Horns Down” is just too tempting.

7Texas A&M

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Aggies rank one spot above Texas because Jimbo Fisher will always be a villain for Gator Nation, whether it’s for FSU’s winning streak or the loose discipline he exercised in running that program. As I recently recounted, a UF booster took the mic during a recent Q&A to ask Billy Napier how he would handle his star quarterback stealing crab legs from a Publix.

6 Oklahoma

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In 109 football seasons, the Gators have played nearly 1,200 games, and only two of those games have been against the Sooners. The 2008 BCS championship went to Florida. The Cotton Bowl 2020 is not.

5 Alabama

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Tide and Gators, who have faced each other ten times in the SEC championship, lend a sense of regularity to this series, but they’ve only had eight scheduled regular-season meetings in the past 30 years. Under the new format, they will meet twice every four seasons and thank goodness for that.

4 maroon

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In our most recent Gators fan poll, readers gave Auburn the fourth most votes when asked who they would prefer as their constant rival, and I tend to listen to people. Especially the more experienced fans who remember the Tigers were a mainstay in Florida’s schedule. They played annually from 1945 to 2002 and faced the Gators’ second-most-competitive opponent a total of 85 times.

3 Tennessee

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If my ’90s self jumped out of a time capsule today, he’d be humming “Fake Plastic Trees,” getting hysterical on “The Larry Sanders Show,” and marveling at the Florida-Tennessee rivalry. While two of those three things will be great forever, the Gators reeling off a 16-1 streak against the Vols dramatically unbalanced that streak.


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At least one team has played in 47 of those 51 games every year since 1971. Now that LSU has won 13 of the last 20, the Gators’ lead has shrunk to 33-32-3. Let’s back that up until we’ve figured out which school is really “DBU” and then back up a bit.

1 Georgia

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Alongside the Iron Bowl, the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party is a must-rival—guaranteed to remain an annual event even if the SEC mistakenly chooses the eight-game, one-permanent opponent model. These schools compete for recruits and division titles, and the fanbases are even tougher on each other. It’s a series so combative that schools can’t even agree on how many times they’ve played.

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