Florida is a hotbed for college football. On Saturdays during the fall, tailgate parties are held across the Sunshine State. Florida, Florida State, and the University of Miami are some of the most successful college football programs in the state and the nation as all three universities have multiple national championships. While the state of Florida boasts traditional powerhouses, the region also has other universities with their own football programs.
Florida State University
Florida State University, known more commonly in athletics as the Seminoles, has a proud tradition of football that dates back to 1947. Bobby Bowden, known for wearing straw hats, was a common fixture on the sidelines for the garnet and gold for more than 25 years. Bowden coached the Seminoles to more than 350 victories and two national championships during the 1990s. The Florida State football stadium, which holds more than 83,000 fans, is even named in his honor. Deion Sanders and Derrick Brooks both played at Florida State and later went on to win a Super Bowl.
The Florida State University 600 W. College Ave. Tallahassee, FL 32306 850-645-2527 seminoles.com
University of Florida
More than 90,000 fans pack Ben Hill Griffin Stadium—commonly known as “The Swamp”—during the fall to watch University of Florida football. The football team competes in the tough Southeast Conference. Nicknamed the Gators, the University of Florida has produced many NFL draft picks and All-Americans. This college program has competed in more than 30 college bowl games and won national championships in 1996, 2006, and 2008. Emmitt Smith, one of the NFL's greatest running backs, played his college football for the University of Florida.
University of Florida 303 W University Ave. Gainesville, FL 32601 352-392-2466 gatorzone.com
University of Miami
The University of Miami's football history dates back to the 1930s. However, the Hurricanes came into prominence during the 1980s, winning three championships during the decade. The Hurricanes also won national titles in 1991 and 2001. In 1987, 1991, and 2001 the Hurricanes finished the season with a perfect record. From 2000-2002 the Hurricanes ran off one of the longest winning streaks in college football history, winning 34 straight contests. NFL Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and Michael Irvin played college football at Miami.
University of Miami Coral Gables, FL 33124 305-284-2211 hurricanesports.cstv.com
University of Central Florida
Florida is home to other football programs besides the major powerhouses. The University of Central Florida began a football program in 1979. Originally, the Golden Knights competed at the NCAA Division III level and moved up to NCAA Division I-A in 1996. Daunte Culpepper, a three time All-American quarterback, holds many of the school's offensive records.
University of Central Florida 4000 Central Florida Blvd. Orlando, Florida, 32816 407-823-2000 ucfathletics.cstv.com
- Football thirty yard marker image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com