Florida vs. Tennessee Football

Tennessee vs Florida Odds

They’re not from bordering states, and they rarely even played in the decades before the SEC expanded and split into two divisions. But goodness, have Florida and Tennessee made up for lost time. Few rivalries in college football today are brimming with as much derision and spite.

While it’s not one of the big season-ending rivalries that galvanizes national attention, Florida-Tennessee does offer bettors a premier September matchup to consider.

As with most major college football games, home field and the rivalry aspect don’t matter as much as many think, given that top teams regularly play before hostile crowds and motivated opponents. The better team typically wins this game, evident in Florida’s 11-game win streak in the series between 2005 and 2015.

And yet, even several games in that stretch of Gators dominance remained close, making the point spread in this rivalry worth considering — especially when the game is played in Knoxville, given that the Volunteers have been the underdogs in the series as of late.

Be aware that Tennessee wins at Florida are rare; just five all-time entering 2019. And as always, watch for fluctuations in the line caused by public money, which can create an opening for savvy bettors to capitalize on.

Florida vs Tennessee History

Tennessee and Auburn first played in 1916, and in the 1990s created one of college football’s best rivalries with the programs at their peak under head coaches Phillip Fulmer and Steve Spurrier.

Entering 2019, the Vols and Gators have clashed 11 times when both were ranked in the top 10. Yet this remains a young rivalry: The teams played just 19 times between 1916 and 1990, before the SEC’s expansion put both teams in the same division and made the game an annual affair. Florida has dominated since, winning 21 of 27 games.

Great Tennessee-Florida Games

The teams played some memorable games in the 1990s. In 1995, Danny Wuerffel led Florida to 48 straight points despite a downpour, and the Gators routed Peyton Manning and the Vols.

In 1999, before a record crowd of 107,000 in Knoxville, Florida ran out to a 35-0 lead before holding on to win 35-29. In a 2001 matchup pushed to December by the Sept. 11 attacks, Tennessee stunned heavy favorite Florida to win in Gainesville for the first time since 1971. In 2017, the Gators beat the Vols on a Feleipe Franks Hail Mary touchdown pass on the game’s final play.

 Florida stunned Tennessee on a Hail Mary in 2017, one of many great games and memorable moments.
Florida stunned Tennessee on a Hail Mary in 2017, one of many great games and memorable moments.

Infamous Tennessee-Florida Moments

The series has also seen its share of infamous moments. The 1991 matchup was marred by the “Faxgate” controversy, in which a former Tennessee coach was alleged to have sent Florida the Vols’ offensive game plan. In 1998, Florida fumbled four times, and placekicker Collins Cooper missed a 32-yard field goal attempt in Tennessee’s 20-17 victory.

In 2000, Florida’s Jabar Gaffney caught a game-winning touchdown pass that Tennessee players argued was slapped out of his hands. In 2015, Florida won its 11th straight in the series after Tennessee blew a 27-14 lead with 10 minutes left.

Notable Players

Because the teams once played so sparingly, some like Florida Heisman winner Steve Spurrier and Tennessee great Reggie White never competed in the rivalry. Two great quarterbacks, Tennessee’s Peyton Manning and Florida’s Danny Wuerffel, came to define the rivalry at its height in the 1990s.

Heisman winner Tim Tebow, Rex Grossman and Shane Matthews all had their moments for Florida in the rivalry, while Eric Berry, Heath Shuler, Jason Whitten and Jamal Lewis all starred for Tennessee.

Tennessee vs Florida FAQs

  • What is the Tennessee’s All-Time record against Florida?
    Tennessee is 20-28 all-time against Florida heading into the 2019 season.
  • When Do Tennessee and Florida Play Next?
    Florida next plays Tennessee on Sept. 21, 2019 in Gainesville, Fla.
  • When Did Tennessee and Florida Last Play?
    Tennessee last played Florida on Sept. 22, 2018, losing 47-21 in Knoxville, Tenn.
  • When Did Tennessee and Florida First Play?
    The first meeting between Tennessee and Florida was on Oct. 28, 1916 in Tampa, Fla.
  • Who Won the First Meeting Between Tennessee and Florida?
    Tennessee won the first meeting 24-0.