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Florida Football 2012 100 For 100, No. 97: Remember 1997, And The Greatest Game Ever Played In The Swamp

Last year, we tried 50 For 50, and got halfway done before things cropped up. This year, Alligator Army is coming back with 100 For 100, with 100 articles in the 100 days leading up to the first Florida Gators football game of the 2012 season, and will run down storylines, profile players, examine history, and make some predictions, possibly all haphazardly. The only thing we can promise is that each day's entry will bring us all one step closer to "Herrrrrrrrre ... come the Gators!"

We've mentioned it before around these parts, but it's still awesome: There's a nearly 30-minute clip of The Greatest Game Ever Played In The Swamp, Florida's epic 32-29 win over Florida State in 1997, on YouTube.

There's also an unembeddable clip of the game's final scoring drive, and another five-minute clip, and you should really watch all three of them — I might, given that it's about to turn really rainy this afternoon in Gainesville, with Beryl bearing down on North Florida. But you should also appreciate that one win sometimes makes a season.

Florida had a damn good shot to repeat as national champion in 1997, despite Doug Johnson taking over for Danny Wuerffel and the departure of many of Wuerffel's weapons: After opening with a 21-6 win over Southern Miss, Florida shellacked Central Michigan 82-6 and topped Tennessee 33-20 in Knoxville to take the No. 1 ranking in the country.

But then LSU beat Florida in Baton Rouge, in a 28-21 game that the Gators never led, and Georgia thumped Florida 37-17 in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party on the strength of a 16-0 fourth quarter that gave the Dawgs their only win over Steve Spurrier. The Gators lost the SEC East for the first time in the history of the SEC East in 1997, snapping a streak of four consecutive SEC titles, and were playing for pride more than anything against the Seminoles.

With that riotously fun victory, they restored it.