For the past several weeks, we have been covering Florida's rivalries and regular opponents. Previous installments: Georgia, FSU, Tennessee, LSU, Miami, Auburn, Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and other Florida schools.
If you've been following this series, you know that over the last several weeks we have been covering the Gators rivals and regular opponents. This has covered most of Florida's 2011 schedule, and today, with the season beginning this Saturday, we will examine the remainder this schedule.
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
Established in 1936 as an extension campus of the University of Alabama, UAB became fully autonomous in 1969, and is now the largest employer in the state of Alabama. Ranked 151 by US News & World Report, UAB has highly ranked science and technology programs, and partners with the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation to operate the UAB Health System.
The Blazers belong to Conference USA, and play their home games at Legion Field, though it has been announced that they will be building a 25,000- to 30,000-seat on-campus stadium. The football program began in 1991, and competed on the Division III level through the 1992 season, when the NCAA ruled that member institutions must compete in the same division in all sports. Beginning with the 1993 season, UAB competed as an independent program in Division I-AA. In 1996, the Blazers started competing in Division I-A. In 20 seasons of intercollegiate football, the Blazers are 104-119-2, with the program's two highlights being a bowl appearance in 2004, and a victory at LSU in 2000.
The Gators and Blazers have met only once before, a 51-3 Florida victory to begin the Ron Zook era.
Founded in 1826 in Edgefield, Furman is the oldest private institution in South Carolina. In 1850 the University relocated to Greenville. In 1924, James B. Duke created the Duke Endowment to give money to Furman and three other universities (Davidson College, Johnson C. Smith University, and Trinity College, which was renamed Duke University), along with the Methodist Church and several hospitals and non-profits in the Carolinas. Despite cutting ties with the Baptist Church in 1991, the University has retained the motto Christo et Doctrinae (meaning "For Christ and learning"). Furman ranks 41st among national liberal arts colleges according to US News and World Report.
The Paladins compete on the Football Championship Subdivision (Division I-AA) level, in the Southern Conference. (All of the founding members of the SEC, and South Carolina, were members of the Southern Conference.) The Paladins began playing football in 1889, and joined the Southern Conference in 1936. They have won 12 Southern Conference Championships (more than any other conference member), and one National Championship (Furman's only national championship in any sport).
The Paladins and Gators have met eight times, with the Gators holding a 6-2 advantage. Furman won the first two meetings (both in Gainesville), and Florida winning the remaining games in Greenville, Tampa and Gainesville. The last meeting was a 27-3 Gator victory in 1990.