Florida State passed out “state championship” rings after sweeping in-state rivals Florida and Miami (Fla.) last season.
During the opening day of SEC Football Media Days, Gators coach Jim McElwain said he had no qualm with it.
“You know, I mean, they won it,” McElwain said. “So, why won’t you? That’s a hell of a deal.”
The Seminoles spent more than $62,000 on 256 “state championship” rings for players, faculty and staff.
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McElwain, who led Florida to the SEC East title in his first season as the program’s head coach, shrugged off the gesture.
“I don’t really get that jacked up in that stuff,” he said. “I’ve got too much to worry about with our guys. Yet, I know what a great job they do up there and what a great program they have. (Florida State coach) Jimbo (Fisher) has done an outstanding job when he took over changing that thing and winning a bunch of ballgames.”
The Gators also won their share of games last season, finishing 10-4 and reaching double-figure wins for the first time since 2012 and second time since 2009.
“And yet, I’m very disappointed in how we finished,” McElwain said. “It’s not something that we’re proud of and not something that I take very lightly. At the same time, it was an opportunity for us to kind of learn.”
Florida started McElwain’s tenure 10-1.
The only loss came by a touchdown at LSU before closing the season with three straight losses — versus Florida State, Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and Michigan in the Citrus Bowl — by a combined score of 97-24.
“By no means can you ever be satisfied, can you ever think, ‘Well, you know what? We exceeded expectations, so let's call it good,’” McElwain said. “That wasn’t good. Learning from that, it will be interesting to see how this year’s team responds.”