TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Ticker) -- Something will be missing Saturday night when 11th-ranked Florida and No. 22 Florida State collide in their traditional regular-season finale - and it isn't just Steve Spurrier.
With neither team ranked in the top 10 for the first time since 1986, the contest - once dubbed the Florida state championship - will lack its usual luster.
Florida State (8-4) clinched the Atlantic Conference title last week, despite suffering a 17-7 loss to North Carolina State. The Seminoles finished with 177 total yards, their second-lowest total in 325 games under coach Bobby Bowden.
Should Florida State lose this week, it will go a BCS bowl - most likely the Orange Bowl - with five losses.
The Seminoles were hit with more turmoil Monday when sophomore quarterback Adrian McPherson was dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. McPherson replaced Chris Rix in the second half against Notre Dame and started the last four games, leading Florida State to a 3-1 record.
The dismissal of McPherson means Rix is back in as the Seminoles' starter.
Spurrier posted a 5-8-1 record against Florida State in 12 years at Florida, including a 1-1 mark in bowl games. Now with the Washington Redskins, he never failed to add fuel to the fire, once referring to Florida State as "Free Shoes University" in response to a highly publicized incident.
Spurrier's replacement, Ron Zook, got off to a rocky start, and some Florida fans set up a web site calling for his ouster.
The Gators dropped to 4-3 and were in danger of falling out of the rankings following consecutive losses to Mississippi and Louisiana State in early October.
But Florida turned around its season with a 30-23 overtime win over Auburn on October 19 and takes a four-game winning streak into Saturday's contest. Despite their up and down campaign, the Gators can extend their Southeastern Conference-record streak of consecutive nine-win seasons to 13.
Rex Grossman, who threw eight interceptions in the losses to Ole Miss and LSU, has gone 95 passes without being picked off. He has passed for 2,776 yards with 19 touchdowns and six interceptions. Running back Earnest Graham needs 117 yards to reach the 1,000-mark.
Because of bad blood between the teams, Zook is not allowing his players to talk to the media for fear of escalating the tensions.
Florida leads the series, 27-17-2, including a 37-13 victory last year. Since 1979, the game has been scheduled as the regular-season finale for both schools.
They did not conclude the season against each other in 2001 due to the September 11 terrorist attacks.