POLITICS

Rubio and FSU president get into trash talk battle over college football rivalry

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio on August 5, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio on August 5, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (2015 Getty Images)

While the Yankees-Red Sox or Celtics-Lakers may be more famous rivalries, nothing seems to bring out the nastiness like two college sports fans defending their alma mater — especially when it comes to Florida football.

Case in point: Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio took time off his hectic campaign schedule to bash the No. 9-ranked Florida State Seminoles during a recent interview on an Iowa sport's radio show.

"Look, I don't have anything against Florida State," the University of Florida graduate said of his alma mater's in-state rival, according to ESPN. "I think there has to be a school where people that can't get into [the University of] Florida can go to college. And that's why we have Florida State."

The president of Florida State University John Thrasher, however, was having none of Rubio's trash talk, when he shot back a comment about the Florida lawmaker's education and his poor showing in recent presidential polls.

"He's a nice kid," Thrasher said, according to The Hill. "I'm sure he's frustrated by his low standing in the polls, which I believe could be a reflection of where he got his education."

If that personal sting didn't hurt enough, Thrasher, who served with Rubio in the Florida Legislature, is one of eight former House speakers to endorse Rubio's rival, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

With an uproar over the Rubio's comments going viral, the presidential candidate took to Twitter on Tuesday to try and clear up the conversation.

"#FSU fans relax. It was just college football trash talk on sports radio, not serious statement on @meetthepress," Rubio said, adding in another tweet: "But we are still going to #BeatFSU."

The unranked Florida Gators will host the Florida State Seminoles at "The Swamp" on Nov. 28.

Rubio went to Missouri's Tarkio College on a football scholarship, but earned his graduate degree from Florida before heading to the University of Miami School of Law.

"I grew up in Miami, I'm a Gator fan, but I don't root against the Hurricanes," Rubio said of his divided loyalties between Florida and UM. "When they play Florida State, it isn't hard for me to root against Florida State."

Rubio – possibly worried about his chances in the Florida primary – also admitted that recently Florida State has had the upper hand in the rivalry between the Gators and the ‘Noles, but added: "These things ebb and flow."

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