A chance at a BCS Bowl, and the ACC title. An eight-game home unbeaten streak. A shot at a 10-win season.
That’s the motivation for running back Leon Washington when Florida comes to Tallahassee tonight.
There’s been more on the line in the past, but that doesn’t change the nature of the rivalry as he sees it.
There’s still animosity, and any loss at this point would be unacceptable.
"Someone, I think it was Michael Irvin, who said that if Florida State and Miami lose three games it seems like we had a terrible season," Washington said.
Washington feels it will be important for his team to establish early momentum against Florida, something the Seminoles haven’t been able to do since stomping Virginia over a month ago.
In their four games since that match-up, FSU has scored 15 first-half points, all field-goals. In three of those game they’ve trailed at halftime.
"It’s very critical," Washington said about putting up a quick score.
"We have to keep their offense off the field, it’s probably one of the best offenses we’ve played all season."
Statically, they are.
Only Virginia ranks higher in total offense than the Gators, which average 434 yards per game. The Gators do have a better passing game than any of the other 2004 opponents.
Led by QB Chris Leak, UF manages 8.4 yards per attempt and has 27 passing touchdowns.
"Some games they come out and play extremely well. You can see the talent on tape. Other games they come out and tend to struggle, like Mississippi State. They tend to be off and on," Washington said.