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Monday, November 28, 2022

The Alligator’s seven must-see games for all UF students

The Alligator Sports staff compiled seven “Bucket List” events that all students need to attend before graduation

<p>Florida Gators alternate white football helmet.</p>

Florida Gators alternate white football helmet.

The Alligator Sports staff selected the seven must-see athletic events for every UF student before they graduate. They are listed below.

Florida baseball versus Miami - Carson Cashion 

The UF athletic department poured over $60 million into Condron Ballpark, formerly known as Florida Ballpark, and the baseball stadium that hugs Hull Road is worth at least one visit for all students.

The best weekend atmosphere outside of conference play is easily the Miami series. The Hurricanes and Gators, despite rarely playing in football, basketball or other sports, hold an annual weekend series that is one of the most intense on the calendar.

Florida men’s basketball versus Kentucky - Brandon Hernandez 

Southeastern Conference men’s basketball is a wholly different experience from your average sporting event. The Gators host some of the premier teams in the nation at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, including Kentucky. 

The Kentucky Wildcats have been Florida’s SEC rival for generations. In total, the Gators men’s basketball team has played 147 games against UK since 1954. With the Wildcats always stopping in Gainesville during the season, this game is a must for students. You can join the Rowdy Reptiles alongside Billy Donovan Court, cheer on the orange and blue, catch a free T-shirt and witness the first season under new head coach Todd Golden. 

Florida women’s basketball versus LSU - Brenda Bogle 

The resurgence of the Florida women’s basketball program under head coach Kelly Rae Finley makes it a great source to soak in some elite basketball while at UF. The Gators host a number of conference foes, but the energy is different when the Louisiana State Tigers come to town. 

The Tigers have been among the premier teams in the SEC since head coach Kim Mulkey took over the team in April 2021. LSU and Florida have already shared some classic battles both in Gainesville and the bayou. The Gators and Tigers split their season series this past year, electrifying both the O'Connell Center and Pete Maravich Assembly Center. A strong rivalry is brewing between these teams which figures to be on display for seasons to come.  

Florida football versus Florida State - Jackson Castellano 

Beyond the greatest spectacles at UF, Florida-Florida State is one of the nation’s biggest college football rivalries. The bitter feud is elevated when the game comes to the Swamp every other season. The environment at Ben Hill Griffin stadium is rowdy on smaller game days, but for UF-FSU it’s complete pandemonium. The Gators lead the series with a 37-26-2 record and won the last three meetings. 

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Although both programs aren’t the powerhouses they once were, the rivalry’s tradition runs deep. The passion both fanbases share comes out Thanksgiving weekend. 

Florida volleyball versus Kentucky - Kaitlyn Wadulack 

The O'Connell Center is home to many Florida teams, including the UF volleyball squad. With five seniors graduating last season, this incoming Gators team is young and hungry for more accolades. 

Of course, the UF-FSU match is a must and will be a spectacle in the O’Dome in September, but nothing beats UF-Kentucky. Both teams are SEC stalwarts, with either Florida or Kentucky winning at least a share of the regular season SEC Championship every season since 2015. The Wildcats won the title last season, but the Gators are 24-time champions —  the most of any SEC team. The two will meet in Gainesville this season in back-to-back matches Nov. 19 and 20.

Florida football versus Georgia - Curtis Michaud 

The one-hour commute from UF campus is a chance for students to witness one of the greatest college football rivalries on the gridiron. A sea of orange, blue, red and black floods TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, where the annual Florida-Georgia game is held — a tradition dating back to the early 1900s. 

Georgia holds a 4-1 record in the last five meetings. After winning the 2022 national championship, the ‘Dawgs will be arguably the toughest test for UF in the Fall.

Florida gymnastics versus Georgia - Karina Wilson

The Florida gymnastics team never fails to put on a stellar performance. Led by head coach Jenny Rowland, the Gators fell just .1125 short of the national championship this past season as the Oklahoma Sooners emerged victorious. UF is poised to be in contention yet again, and students will be in for a treat anytime there is a meet.

When the Georgia Bulldogs come to town, orange and blue fans pack the O’Connell Center. The Bulldogs boast the most team and individual national championships of any program, and the Gators within fingertips length of their fifth team title the last few seasons, new students can expect a battle for the ages.

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