GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida's John Brantley and Florida State's Christian Ponder are getting plenty of support, at least off the field.

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Coaches and teammates defend the quarterbacks at every turn. The Gators (7-4) insist their offensive problems aren't Brantley's fault, pointing to other issues. The Seminoles (8-3) believe Ponder's drop-off is exaggerated, saying his increased win total is all that matters.

This much is certain: Neither quarterback has lived up to expectations.

Brantley was supposed to replace Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and keep Florida in the championship hunt. Ponder was supposed to be a Heisman candidate and lead Florida State back to national prominence.

Instead, they're squaring off in one of the rivals' least meaningful matchups in years.