This year's iteration of the Florida State Seminoles vs. Florida Gators football rivalry has drawn a slew of close predictions, as evidenced by those authored by our own Tomahawk Nation staff. This is primarily due to how much these teams, though bitter rivals, nevertheless have in common this season. The offenses are inconsistent. The defenses are quite formidable. But while FSU and UF certainly share some common ground, there is one area in which the 'Noles have stood head-and-shoulders above the Gators-- and that may even be an understatement.
With regard to putting the ball through the uprights, the 'Noles hold a decided advantage over Florida, even with FSU placekicker Roberto Aguayo making field goals at the lowest clip of his career; he's been good on 18 of 22 FG attempts this season (81.8%), compared to 90% last year and an astounding 95.5% in his redshirt-freshman season that saw Florida State win its third national championship.
And while a percentage in the low 80s seems low for a kicker of Aguayo's talent, any Gator fan would happily trade places with FSU regarding kicker capability. Of course, that's nothing new-- Aguayo has been one of the country's best kickers over the past three years, and he has a Lou Groza Award to prove it. But rarely is the gulf between Aguayo and the opposition's kicker this vast.
Let's start with the freebies: extra points. At least, that's what they've been for Aguayo, who has yet to miss a point-after in his Seminole career, making an ACC-record 192 straight EPs. Yet the PAT is far from a foregone conclusion for the Gators this season, as they've added the extra-point on just 87.2% of attempts. That's 123rd out of 128 FBS teams, as only Connecticut, Buffalo, UTSA, Texas State, and New Mexico State connect at a lower rate. Some perspective? Aguayo's career field-goal percentage is 89.1%.
So let's talk field-goals. I've already mentioned Aguayo's 81.8% this season, which is a top-30 rank. UF kickers, on the other hand, are -- again -- No. 123 in the country. What has field-goal kicking been for Florida this year? Try a coin flip. Literally. The Gators pierced the poles on just seven of 14 occasions-- only Purdue, New Mexico, NC State, and Wyoming are worse.
Of course, FSU has a history of great kickers. And coming into what many see as a low-scoring, tight contest against the Gators in The Swamp, it's obvious that Aguayo has the best leg on either sideline. But would you take him over any Seminole kicker in FSU history? The numbers say yes, and not only within Florida State history, but across the annals of all of college football.
For taking into account both EPs and FGs, Aguayo has a higher success rate (96.9%) than any kicker in NCAA history, having surpassed the 96.7% established by Nebraska's Alex Henery between 2007 and 2010. Of course, Henery's mark came over a four-year period; what remains to be seen is if Aguayo stays for his final year of eligibility at FSU. It's safe to say that most Florida fans probably hope he opts for the NFL-- especially since he's made every kick he's ever attempted against UF.