A Look at the History Between Tennessee and Florida

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    Tennessee Florida

    Former Tennessee WR Josh Palmer in Gainesville. Photo By Austin Perryman/Tennessee Athletics.

    Saturday’s meeting between Tennessee and Florida will be the 51st matchup between the two historic SEC programs. While the Vols dominated the series early on, the Gators have been in the driver’s seat for the past couple of decades.

    However, on Saturday, Tennessee will try to do something they have not since 2003: Win in The Swamp.

    Overall, Tennessee has 20 wins in the series compared to Florida’s 30. Although, the first game between the two, and the first win for Tennessee, came over 100 years ago.

    Tennessee took down Florida 24-0 in their first-ever matchup on Oct. 28, 1916. Then, the teams would play again in 1921, 1928, 1930, 1932, 1933, 1940, and 1944. The two teams then played four straight years from 1952 to 1955.

    However, from 1916 to 1953, Tennessee won the first ten games between the programs.

    Florida’s first win came in 1954 when the Gators defeated the Vols 14-0.

    The 1960s saw one matchup between Tennessee and Florida, in 1969 to be exact. Florida took down Tennessee, 14-13, in the Gator Bowl.

    The Vols and the Gators matched up four times in the 1970s, with both teams taking two wins in the decade. Tennessee won in 1970 and 1971 but lost in 1976 and 1977. Meanwhile, Florida swept Tennessee in the 1980s, with the Gators winning the only two matchups in 1984 and 1985.

    Tennessee and Florida began playing their yearly matchups in 1990, a streak that still holds strong today.

    (Photo By Kyle Zedaker/Tennessee Athletics)

    Florida won seven games against Tennessee in the 1990s, only losing in 1990, 1992, and 1998. However, Tennessee’s largest margin of victory did come during that decade. In 1990, Tennessee defeated Florida by a score of 45-3.

    Similarly, Florida won seven games against Tennessee in the next decade, too. Tennessee did find a win in 2001, 2003, and 2004. However, 2005 would begin the start of a dominant stretch for the Gators.

    Tennessee lost to Florida every year from 2005 to 2015, regardless of the location. Florida’s biggest margin of victory over Tennessee came in this time frame when the Gators beat the Vols 59-20 in 2007.

    But then, in 2016, Tennessee snapped the streak with a statement game in Knoxville. Tennessee won 38-28, scoring all 38 points consecutively. However, Florida followed up Tennessee’s statement with one of its own. Starting in 2017, Florida then rattled off four straight wins, a streak that is ongoing today.

    When the Vols square off with Florida this Saturday, it will be the first time in the Josh Heupel era. Meanwhile, Dan Mullen was undefeated in his three games against Jeremy Pruitt’s Volunteers.

    Will Tennessee be able to pull the upset this Saturday to put a stop to another Florida streak being built? Or will Florida defend their home turf and add another year to their ongoing streak? Only time will tell.

    The Gators will host Tennessee this Saturday night in Gainesville at 7:00 p.m. ET. The Vols are currently a substantial underdog heading into the game.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.