Fresh off a National Championship the previous year, the 1997 Florida Gators began the season ranked 2 in the country. In head coach Steve Spurrier’s eighth season, the Gators started strong winning its first five games by an average of 36 points. As a result of their early dominance, the Gators were working on their third week in a row of being the 1 team in the country when they played SEC rival LSU. Florida ended up losing a close game on the road 28-21 and its top ranking.
Florida would lose again two weeks later in the game known as “The Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”. The Gators lost 37-17 to the Georgia Bulldogs. The Gators would then pull together and win its next three games, including a 32-29 nail biter against its inner state rival, the Florida State Seminoles, which was ranked 2 at the time.
With the victory over Florida St, the Gators ended the season with a record of 9-2, which was good enough to earn a trip to the Florida Citrus Bowl to play Penn St. The Gators would win the game 21-6 to end the season with a 10-2 record and ranked 6 in the country.