GAINESVILLE, Fla. — To the victors go the spoils.
Florida players and coaches were well aware going into the Florida State game exactly what a win would mean for the program after five years straight of losing to the in-state rival Seminoles.
So there was a little extra juice on Saturday when the Gators went into Tallahassee and whipped the Seminoles, ending a 36-year streak of reaching a bowl game for the Seminoles.
“The fans deserve it. They deserve it as much as we deserve it,” nickelback Chauncey Gardner-Johnson said. “A lot of people that don’t come to the field, they talk. They want to have bragging rights. For the fans, they have their bragging rights now. The streak is over.”
It sure is, and the bragging rights are being exercised in full.
Just ask former Florida State quarterback and 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. He was apparently the victim of a failed bet at the hands of his Seminoles.
On Wednesday, Winston greeted reporters in the locker room sporting an orange and blue Gators shirt that read “Friends don’t let friends wear red or garnet. Just Say No.”
Check it out below:
“Florida, they never beat us when I was there,” Jameis Winston says of having to wear Gators gear after FSU loss on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/xeSXFVoubY
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) November 28, 2018
Winston did tell reporters, “Florida, they never beat us when I was there.” Well, not exactly. Florida’s last win in the series prior to Saturday came in 2012, when Winston was redshirting as a true freshman.
In any case, Florida is back on the right side of history. And the Gators have a full year to celebrate their win.
Next up, the second half of that shirt Winston was sporting: Friends don’t let friends wear red. The Gators weren’t able to unseat the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC East this fall, despite playing a close game into the fourth quarter.
But coach Dan Mullen was 2-for-3 in rivalry games in his first year at the helm. With Florida winning nine games and likely heading to a New Year’s Six bowl, perhaps it won’t be long until the Gators claim bragging rights again in their annual rivalry with the Bulldogs.
After all, it’s fun when you win. The Gators will have plenty of motivation to claim the bragging rights in the final rivalry next fall.
For now, they’ll be perfectly content watching Winston sweat out his end of a bet gone wrong with the rest of the Seminole fans.