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Fool Steve once, shame on him. Fool Steve twice . . . well, that doesn't happen too often.

Not since 1993-94, when Terry Bowden and his surprising Auburn teams pulled it off, has any team beaten Steve Spurrier and the Gators two straight games. No. 2 Tennessee tries to add its name to that short list tonight.

The No. 4 Gators and Vols cap a huge day of football in the state of Florida. In afternoon games, No. 8 Miami hosts third-ranked Penn State and No. 20 North Carolina State travels to No. 1 Florida State.

The Wolfpack (3-0) look to become the first Atlantic Coast Conference team to win a league game in Tallahassee and only the second team to win at Florida State (2-0) this decade.

Outside Florida, No. 6 Michigan travels to the Carrier Dome to take on unranked Syracuse.

The Tennessee-Florida showdown is a rematch of last year's 20-17 Tennessee victory. The Volunteers created five turnovers in that game and snapped a five-game losing streak to their biggest Southeastern Conference rival.

Tennessee (1-0) went on to win the conference and national championship. Florida (2-0) settled for leftovers for the second straight year.

As was the case with Auburn in 1994, Tennessee's next task is to prove the first win was no fluke.

The Vols will have to do it at The Swamp, where the Gators put their 29-game home winning streak against Tennessee's 14-game overall winning streak. Both streaks are the best in the nation.

"We just need to be ourselves," Vols coach Phil Fulmer said. "And that's to be balanced, to run the ball and play a good mixture of pressure and coverage on defense."

That's what won Tennessee the championship last season and that was pretty much how the Volunteers beat the Gators, adding the healthy dose of turnovers to the rest of their balanced mix.

Of course, many teams have come to Florida Field with good game plans, only to see them evaporate in the frenzy of Spurrier's Fun 'N' Gun offense and the Gators' suffocating defense. Since 1994, no team has come close to beating Florida in the rematch after a victory the year before.

"I think it has a lot to do with pride," linebacker Eugene McCaslin said. "When you lose a ball game, you lose a little pride. You want to come back and earn some respect. The only way to earn respect is to come out and play that opponent the best you can."

Penn State (3-0) will provide a measuring stick for Miami (2-0), back among the Top 10 for the first time in three years.

"The kids are excited about this opportunity," Miami coach Butch Davis said. "This has the chance to be one of those classic matchups."

It is probably the Hurricanes' most meaningful game since 1996, when it lost, 34-16, to Florida State in the program's last matchup of Top 10 teams. The effects of three years of NCAA sanctions soon kicked in, bottoming out with a 5-6 record in 1997.

But the Hurricanes rebounded to 9-3 last year, then opened 1999 by beating Ohio State, 23-12, in the Kickoff Classic. A win today could vault them into the top five for the first time since Davis became coach in 1995.

"It's hard not to think about it," Miami center Ty Wise said. "This game has national championship written all over it. The winner definitely has a chance."

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