Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida

Article excerpt

FLORIDA

WHICH GAME IS BIGGER?

The subject came up again this year, and Steve Spurrier's

thinking still hasn't changed -- no matter what people think.

The game or the ring, which is bigger? Although they are

separate entities, they are part of the whole.

Top-ranked Florida's showdown with No. 2 Florida State Saturday

is only the first step toward the Gators' season goals. Another

big step is one week from Saturday, when Florida plays Alabama

for the fourth time in the Southeastern Conference Championship

game.

"This game is big," Spurrier said of facing FSU. "But we've got

another big one the week after that. They don't give rings for

this one. But you get a ring for that game next week, and you

get your name in the record books, too."

Still, Spurrier, who has beaten FSU twice in six seasons, knows

the importance of this game. And if Florida beats FSU, it makes

the SEC Championship game even more important.

And if Florida loses?

"The biggest game for us every year is the [SEC] Championship

game," Spurrier said. "Sometimes our fans get a little annoyed

that I mention it early. But I assure you, we'll be ready for

that one, too. This is not the end of the season for us. There's

not going to be wild celebration or extreme depression."

CLOSE 'EM UP

Another indicator of the Big Game: Spurrier closed

practice to the media this week -- the third time he has done so

at Florida.

The only other times Spurrier has closed practice, UF won a big

game. Last year and this season, he closed practice prior to the

Tennessee games. The Gators beat the Vols 62-37 in 1995, and

35-29 in September.

Compiled by Matt Hayes

FLORIDA STATE

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