Tag Archives: Bobby Bowden

Smackdown Friday: “Swag” Kelly and Ole Miss will Teach Florida State What Strong Looks Like

Labor Day is just a welcomed day off from both work and school for most people. But for Ole Miss this year, it’s the day they take down the Florida State Seminoles. It will definitely feel like a holiday for the Rebels on Monday night.

Let’s just revisit how both teams ended the year last season…

Ole Miss was selected to play the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Sugar Bowl. Florida State got the opportunity to play the Houston Cougars in the Peach Bowl. The Rebels won the Sugar Bowl against the #16 Cowboys by 28 points. Crazy, right? What a blowout! The Seminoles lost the Peach Bowl to the #14 Cougars by 14. Not quite a blowout, but also not a good showing for the Seminoles against a non Power Five opponent. I bet that one still hurts a little bit in Tallahassee.

Heading into this season, I didn’t get the chance to ask Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois how he and his teammates got psyched up for this first game. But thanks to Florida State’s most infamous rhetorician, Jameis Winston, I do have an idea of how he might reply. It would probably go a little something like this…

“And those men looked me in the eye and they said ‘We got this, Deondre.’ And I said…we said…I said, ‘Are you scrong?’ They said, ‘I’m scrong if you scrong.’ And I said ‘we scrong then.’”

So now I have a question… Are we talking ACC “scrong” or SEC strong? Because those are two entirely different things when it comes to college football. Florida State can be ACC “scrong” all they want, but when you’re enjoying cakewalks in most of your conference play, then you clearly have no idea what strong means to a conference like the SEC. Ole Miss beat the eventual National Champion last season. Florida State, on the other hand, lost to the eventual Runner-Up last year. Clearly there are two different standards for strength/”scrength” here.

And I have another question about being “scrong.” How do you really consider a game in Orlando to be a neutral site game? Are you that scared to leave the state and play a formidable opponent? Tallahassee is practically on the way to Orlando for Ole Miss fans. But of course the Seminoles think this is a great matchup, many of them citing the neutral setting making it an even harder matchup for them. A neutral setting being exponentially closer to your fan base doesn’t sound so “scrong” to me. But I guess Seminole fans can just keep saying whatever helps them sleep at night now that Bobby Bowden is gone.

Do you know what actually sounds strong? Ole Miss quarterback Chad “Swag” Kelly. If Francois pays close attention on the sidelines while the Ole Miss offense dominates the game, he might be able to learn a thing or two about being a quarterback. Swag Kelly has been vocal in saying he’s the best quarterback not just in the SEC, but also in the entire country. He’s not just saying he’s strong if his teammates are strong. He’s saying he’s stronger than anyone else regardless. I can’t wait to see that confidence in action versus a non-SEC defense. I mean, talk about swag. Running up the scoreboard on a top five program sounds right up Kelly’s alley.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Ole Miss has proven to be pretty clever leading up to this game. Clever is a word I don’t imagine many Florida State players would understand. It came to light that Florida State running back Dalvin Cook actually has ties to Ole Miss. His brother, Deandre Burnett, plays on their basketball team. Because of this connection, Ole Miss and Mr. Swag Kelly himself chose to make a nice little parody video to get the season going.

As much as I clearly love the Seminoles I love the SEC more. No team in the ACC will ever compare in my heart. And while Ole Miss may have their own issues to resolve with the NCAA, at least their star players aren’t stupid enough to walk out of a grocery store without paying for $32 worth of crab legs or yell obscene things in the middle of the school union. And their fans seem to understand the concept of reflective surfaces, unlike my favorite Seminoles fan. You do you, Tallahassee. But you stay classy, Oxford!

The featured picture is my rendition of my favorite Florida State fan and of course, my favorite fan herself. Yes, I did actually wear that to a Halloween party in Gainesville, Florida last year.

Email Kristen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @OGKristenB.

Auburn: Is Kevin Steele The Answer?

Kevin Steele is the new defensive coordinator at Auburn University. He indicated, at his press conference on Tuesday, that his goal is to make Auburn the last stop on his coaching journey. That is certainly possible, but is it likely? Steele’s path, like that of countless other assistant coaches, is often long and circuitous. That is simply the nature of the business.

Here is look at Steele’s ‘long and winding road’.

After his playing days, as a linebacker, at Furman and Tennessee, he became a graduate assistant for the Vols from 1978-1979. He was promoted to outside linebackers coach in 1982. He held this position for one year.

1983 saw Steele as the coach of linebackers at New Mexico State.

Steele then took the job as linebackers and tight ends coach at Oklahoma State for three seasons. Afterwards he returned to Knoxville to coach defensive backs from 1987-1988. The head coach at Tennessee throughout his playing and coaching time there was Johnny Majors.

Lincoln, Nebraska was the next stop for Steele. He spent six seasons with the Cornhuskers, under the tutelage of the legendary Tom Osborne, as a linebackers coach. He departed the Midwest for an opportunity to test the waters of the NFL. Charlotte was the destination and the job was linebackers coach of the Carolina Panthers for four seasons. Dom Capers was the head man for the Panthers during those years.

In 1999 Steele was offered an opportunity that every coach must relish. He was hired as a head coach. The job was with the Baylor Bears. The four years in Waco did were not productive, as far as wins and losses were concerned, and he moved on to Tallahassee, Florida to assist another coaching legend, Bobby Bowden. Linebackers were his duty there.

In 2007, the University of Alabama, in an effort to end years of frustration, announced Nick Saban as head coach of the Crimson Tide. Saban lured Steele away from the Seminoles to be his defensive coordinator. Assistant head coach was added to his title in 2008.

Dabo Swinney enticed Steele away from Tuscaloosa to Clemson as the DC of the Tigers in 2009. He remained in that capacity through 2013, when he was dismissed after a blowout loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl. Then it was back to Alabama where Steele, again, coached linebackers for one season.

The phone rang early in 2015. Les Miles was on the line. He offered Steele another shot as a defensive coordinator. Steele accepted. And, as you know, things got a little dicey down in Baton Rogue this past season.

“It’s certainly an exciting time for (his wife), myself and my children. … It’s an exciting time to be here with coach. It was a very, very easy decision for me.” – Kevin Steele

Everything wasn’t coming up roses for another group of Tigers during this most recent campaign. The Auburn version of fierce felines went 6-6 on the Plains of east Alabama. Auburn’s DC, Will Muschamp, was given the chance to turn it around in Columbia, South Carolina and he, wisely, embraced it. If you are afforded a shot as a head coach in the SEC then you are probably set for life, as far as your finances are concerned.

Gus Malzahn said that he was looking to build stability and continuity in his hiring of a new defensive coordinator. Will this be possible with Steele, or anyone else for that matter? If you follow football, whether it be college or pro, you know that coaches move and move and move, again and again and again. You just read of a perfect example in the words above. It is somewhat rare that any coach stays at a job for a lengthy period of time, be he the head coach or an assistant, these days. The pressure to win NOW, and continue to do so, is enormous.

But, Steele has very strong ties to the state of Alabama and Auburn. His daughter is a graduate of Auburn. His mother lives in Prattville. The first college football game he attended was at, then, Cliff Hare Stadium in Auburn. That was back in the late 60’s when his father was a head coach in Gordo, Alabama. Steele said that most of his relatives live within a one-hundred mile radius of Auburn.

Auburn has, for multiple reasons, and not all of them good, changed defensive coordinators SEVEN times in the last ten years. They desperately need that stability and continuity that Malzahn spoke of before he hired Steele. The Tigers haven’t fielded a truly good defense since the 2008 unit. That takes a toll on the program.

“I don’t know how to read a contract.” – Kevin Steele

Will Kevin Steele, at 57 years old, actually find the last stop of his coaching career at Auburn University? Will he help bring the stability and continuity that both he and Malzahn, together, seek? Will the Auburn family, finally, be able to step off the roller coaster ride that has been Auburn football since Pat Dye’s last SEC Championship in 1989?

Stay tuned.

E-mail Bird at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Autull.

Photo: TigerNet/Flickr

Auburn: Past, Present and Future

Auburn's future. Quarterback Jeremy Johnson.
Auburn’s future. Quarterback Jeremy Johnson.


This week in Auburn Football History:

The first football game ever played on November 19th was versus Georgia in 1932, Auburn 14, Georgia 7. The game was played in Columbus, GA. The Tigers went 9-0-1 that year and were Southern Conference Champions.The next year Auburn would join the newly formed Southeastern Conference.

In 1960 Auburn trounced the Florida State Seminoles by a score of 57-21. Ed Dyas kicked his 13th field goal of the season which broke his own national season and career records. But, unfortunately, he was tackled into a bench on the sidelines later in the game and sustained facial fractures. Auburn finished 8-2, ranked 13th in the AP poll and 14th in the UPI.

On 11/19/2005 the Auburn Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide. The final score was 28-18 but did not reflect the dominance the Tigers displayed on that sunny afternoon in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Tide quarterback Brodie Croyle was sacked 11 times prompting bumper stickers urging motorists to “Honk If You Sacked Brodie.”

The last time Auburn played a game on 11/19 was three years ago in 2011. They overcame a spirited Samford team, 35-16. The Bulldogs were coached by Auburn’s first Heisman trophy winner, Pat Sullivan. That bring’s us back to…


Auburn (7-3) vs. Samford (7-3). Pat Sullivan remains the head coach at the Baptist school located in Homewood, AL. He heads the list of total wins in a career for a Samford coach with 47. More on Coach Sullivan shortly. First a few, quick notable takes on Samford past.

In 1841 the institution was founded in Marion, AL as Howard College. It is a private school affiliated with the Alabama Baptist Convention. It was named in honor of John Howard who was noted for his work in prison reform in England.

In 1895 women were first admitted to Howard College.

Bobby Bowden played quarterback at Howard from 1949-1952. Bowden was named offensive coordinator there in 1954 and he went on to become the head coach of the Bulldogs from 1959-1962. Bowden compiled a sterling record of 31-6 during his tenure.

Bowden’s son, Terry, was the head coach at Samford from 1987-1992. He was also quite successful there. He won 45 games while losing 23. One game ended in a tie. Most of us know what occurred with this Coach Bowden in 1993; he took over as the head coach at Auburn where he put together a 47-17-1 record. His .731 winning percentage remains first in Auburn Football history.

Current Florida State head coach, Jimbo Fisher, played quarterback for Terry Bowden at Samford in 1987. He was named Division III national player of the year.

Now back to Pat Sullivan. I have been following Auburn Football very, very closely for the past 54 years. My favorite players, through the years, include Bobby Hunt, Jimmy Sidle, Tucker Frederickson, Terry Beasley, Terry Henley, Phil Gargis, Joe Cribbs, James Brooks, Dameyune Craig, Rudi Johnson and Carnell “Cadillac” Williams. Also near the top of that list would be former Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson and Cam Newton.

I have followed and loved, lived and died with these and a host of other Tiger greats throughout these five plus decades. But the player at the very top of that list of favorites is Patrick Joseph Sullivan.

Pat Sullivan is the epitome of an Auburn man.

In his career, 1968-1972, as varsity quarterback on The Plains he led Auburn to regular season records of 8-2, 8-2 and 9-1. These years included 49-26 and 33-28 wins over cross-state rival Alabama. The 49-26 win over the Tide in 1969 is the most points EVER scored on a Bear Bryant coached team.

In 1968 Sullivan brought the Tiger freshman back from a 27-0 deficit to defeat the Crimson Tide frosh, 36-27.

In the 33-28 victory over Bama in 1970, Super Sully, as he was fondly known, brought Auburn back after trailing 17-0 in the first half. The game, played at Birmingham’s Legion Field, was the first win that I ever witnessed over the Tide. Coach Bryant said that the only thing Sullivan didn’t do that day was sell hot dogs and take up tickets. He was masterful on that beautiful Saturday afternoon.

I can still hear Gary Sanders, the voice of the Auburn Tigers during the Sullivan years, on the small, white Philco radio we were glued to on autumn Saturdays… “At quarterback number 7, Pat Sullivan, a 6 foot 190 pound sophomore form John Carroll High School in Birmingham.”

The biggest victory, to this point, in Pat Sullivan’s life did not occur on the football field.

In September of 2003 Sullivan was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in his jaw and tongue. This resulted from years of smokeless tobacco use. It was grave. He was given less than a 50% chance of survival. It was the toughest battle he ever fought. He was found clear of cancer cells in April of 2004 but the disease took a tremendous toll on Sullivan’s body.

God bless Pat Sullivan.

Sullivan will bring his Bulldogs to play Auburn’s Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday in a 6 PM CST kickoff. I shudder at the sound of that Samford mascot nickname after last week’s drubbing ‘between the hedges’ in Athens, GA. Auburn will not be drubbed Saturday. They will win decisively. I will be pulling for Auburn to win. I will also be pulling for Coach Sullivan. It will be an emotional night for him and for those of us who love him dearly.


What does the future hold for Auburn?

When this weekend’s clash is said and done their record will stand at 8-3. They will move up from their current position of 14th in the College Football Playoff poll if someone above them loses. The way things are going here in 2014, that should happen.

Then, on November 29th, they will face the team ranked number one in that poll. The Tigers will face off with the Alabama Crimson Tide, in Bryant-Denny Stadium, that evening at 6:45 PM CST. If Auburn were to upset Bama they would vault in the polls and in the minds of college football fans everywhere.

A win in these next two games would make the Tigers 9-3. That would then conclude a very good regular season and a spot in a prestigious bowl game. That would be a great building block toward 2015 and beyond.

We shall see.

Un-War "The Game of the Century"

Charlie Ward, Jim Flanigan
It is the Game of the Century, right? I’m told to “UnWar” that term, as it’s use or over-use has diluted its value. If we have a Game of the Century every year, then it’s really just the Game of the Year, and it doesn’t always add up to even that.
Anyone who follows College Football has likely heard the Auburn faithful exclaim War Eagle, but it was the Jim Rome radio show that had its callers end their rants with War Other Things. I haven’t listened to the guy’s show in a few years, but I recall that he’d periodically explain to the newbies that would ask, you say “War” and then something you like. Well, the War gimmick begat the UnWar gimmick, you know, for things you don’t like. I hope we’re all clear on this.

Back to unWarring the “Game of the Century”. If you’re not a fan of a particular team involved, how much do these games really resonate over time? You put two good teams on the field, watch them kick each other’s asses for about four hours, and then you answer the question, did it live up to the hype? If it didn’t, you don’t give it another thought or drop some sarcastic quip, along the lines of “Game of the Century, my ass!”. Either way, you probably aren’t telling your grandkids about it, fifty years from now. Now, if said game comes close to living up to its billing, you have some things to think about.
Now look, this isn’t about being a wet blanket and ruining the moment. If fans want to maintain the euphoria, that’s fine; take 24 or 48 hours for this game to be the greatest ever, but don’t hold on to that unless you only surround yourself with people who unconditionally agree with you or in that rare case that your game is and will actually remain the best, most meaningful game in a 100-year period. By definition, you can’t have a Game of the Century every year, though these days it seems like someone is trying to sell you on the idea that one gets played every week.

If you subscribe to the theory of our hero Peter from Office Space, where every day is worse than the day before, hence every day is the worst day of your life, then the opposite could also be true. Every Game of the Century is better than the Game of the Century before it, so every Game of the Century is the Game of the Century. I doubt that’s even somewhat true, but levels of epic are in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. It’s probably a damn good thing there’s no official authority on such matter.
It’s the greatest game ever since the last greatest game ever, right? Or, perhaps it’s the greatest one until the next greatest one? What sparked the line of thinking is the rematch, and we really shouldn’t refer to any sequel separated from its original by two decades like that, involving Notre Dame and Florida State this weekend in Tallahassee. Both the Irish and the Seminoles go into Saturday’s tilt with a sweet, juicy zero in the loss column, but this game hasn’t been sold to us at anywhere near the level the 1993 game in South Bend was.

If not that game, then it was that Florida State team that was hyped all summer and autumn as the team to beat. Bobby Bowden had no National Championships to his name, his school was void of representation on the list of Heisman winners. Now, they had a kicker, the since-forgotten then-frosh phenom Scott Bentley was the Sports Illustrated cover boy, needed to beat Miami (FL), the benefactors of woes such as Wide Right and Wide Right II. They had an eventual NBA point guard in Charlie Ward, who was no slouch in quarterbacking Bowden’s offense, with the help of an outstanding supporting cast that included Warrick Dunn, William Floyd, Tamarick Vanover, and Kez McCorvey. On the other side of the ball, they were stacked with a cast of NFL talent, led by Derrick Brooks. They were 9-0 with four wins over ranked opponents when they woke up on that snowy morning in Indiana 21 years ago next month.

Lou Holtz’s Notre Dame team was put together a little different. Though they too sat at 9-0, their road to the game that mattered more than any other in the 20th Century only saw them play #2 ranked Michigan, who finished #19, and no one else in the Top 25. Alas, a win over the only team that stood ahead of them in the AP Poll on November 13th would be all they needed; style points were irrelevant at this point. They were built differently too, if you aren’t a huge Notre Dame fan, the names you’ll know are limited to TV’s Aaron Taylor, long-time Denver Bronco Bertrand Berry, and current Tennessee Titans front-office man Lake Dawson. In other words, the Irish were led by a lot of good College Football players, whereas their opponent ran more of an NFL training program.
There’s hardly anything David and Goliath-ish about 1 playing 2, but the Catholic school 95 miles east of Chicago was decidedly the underdog, Vegas said the ‘Noles were 7 points better, in fact. Notre Dame quarterback Kevin McDougle did a wonderful job running the offense that day, but that day’s heroes had names like Lee Becton and Shawn Wooden, the Notre Dame safety that knocked down Ward’s final pass attempt of the day, which would have given Bowden a chance to walk away with a tie or even a victory in the days before College Football overtime. Instead, it was Notre Dame 31 Florida State 24, giving the Irish the win and the #1 ranking, which they would lose seven days later on that same field.

Notre Dame’s 41-39 loss to Boston College a week later would doom their championship hopes, and Florida State would rebound well enough to get a title shot at Nebraska, which they won, but that didn’t do anything to taint what happened on that Saturday afternoon or the hype machine building up to it. In fact, you know that pre-game show ESPN does on campus every Saturday morning? Well, that was strictly a studio show until they decided to take the show on the road to South Bend that day, starting what has become almost as much of an institution as the games themselves in College Gameday. It was Notre Dame’s first game of that magnitude, and remains the biggest game of all of my 36 years, but the Irish arguably played in other games given a century-long superlative, against Michigan State in 1966, Army in 1946, and Ohio State in 1935.
Speaking of the Buckeyes, fans of recency so desperate to live in the moment of every “Greatest Ever” might appreciate their 2006 encounter with Michigan, who sat just one slot below #1 Ohio State in the rankings. You don’t need any any circumstances, let alone a really low number next to your name to make an Ohio State-Michigan game something special, but when Michigan’s long-time coach Bo Schembechler passed away 24 hours before kickoff, a “win it for Bo” element came into play for that game in Columbus. Much like Notre Dame 13 Novembers earlier, the home team held serve most of the way and survived a dramatic finish, earning themselves a trip to the National Championship in another 1 vs 2 battle. Like Notre Dame, the winner in this one would not win the title; in fact, this game’s aftermath spoils the game’s lasting effect because it did not yield the sport’s eventual champ. Also, I’m pretty sure most Big Ten purists don’t want a 42-39 game headlining the annals of the league’s rich history of 3 yards and a cloud of dust.

Given the final BCS standings for the 2011 season, it was inevitable that one of the teams competing at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 5th would be crowned a champion, but even with #1 at stake in the regular season, the winner of LSU-Alabama wasn’t guaranteed much beyond an SEC West division title and a berth in the Conference Championship. While this one had the makings of something great, two undefeated teams in the consensus best conference in the land, a close final score in a defensive struggle was not enough for the ends to justify the means. College Football isn’t baseball, where 1-0 games are often considered works of art, so with a 9-6 final in favor of the Tigers, and needing overtime to do it, makes this come up short.
The good news is, there are are a lot of years, hence a lot of games, left in this century. Maybe we’ll get one yet. Until then, WAR the future and the many great seasons of great College Football that inevitably comes with it, WAR the great games of yesteryear, and definitely unWAR trying to make the present into something it isn’t.

Thank You Jimbo, For Bringing Us Back

For Florida State Football, the 2000s were the decade that saw a multiple championship winning national powerhouse, reverted back into mediocrity. During the entirety of the 1990s the Florida State football team failed to finish a season outside the AP top 5, and won National Championships in 1993 and 1999. Following such success, legendary coach Bobby Bowden’s age started to catch up to him, resulting in much worse recruiting classes, and an overall decline in the level of play of his normally dominant defenses. The Seminoles decline officially started during the 2001 season that saw the Seminoles both finish outside of the top 10 nationally, and have a team finish with four losses in a season for the first time since 1986. The 2000s quickly became the Seminole’s bitter rivals, the Florida Gators decade. Bobby Bowden’s football teams in the 2000s never beat the Florida Gators and after the Seminoles named Jimbo Fisher the next coach in waiting in 2007, it became obvious that Bobby Bowden’s coaching career was coming to a close. Following the 2009 regular season, and amidst growing scrutiny and likely firing, Bobby Bowden announced that he would retire after their bowl game, officially bringing in the Jimbo Fisher era at Florida State.
Jimbo would make an immediate impact in 2010. In Fisher’s first season, the Seminoles would defeat both interstate rivals the Florida Gators and the Miami Hurricanes for the first time since 1999, had the Seminole’s first ten win season since 2003, and led his team to the ACC championship game. Fisher parlayed this success into recruiting success that saw the Seminoles end up with top 3 recruiting classes for the next 2 seasons that would bring in players such as Tim Jernigan, Nick O Leary and the Heisman trophy winning QB Jameis Winston. Fisher turned these recruiting classes into an ACC championship in 2012, and in 2013 his team would win the ACC, finish the regular season undefeated, and go on to win the BCS National Championship for the first time since 1999. Heading into the 2014 season, the Seminoles are ranked number one in the preseason rankings and are poised to make another run at a championship.
Since Jimbo has taken over, he has brought the championship or bust mentality back to Tallahassee that hasn’t been the expectation since the beginning of the 2000s. The energy in the city has been renewed, and the excitement for every game and season is back to the level that you would expect from a team that is used to being a college football powerhouse. Ever since Jimbo Fisher’s time at the helm, he has single-handedly transformed the Seminoles from an average football team that couldn’t compete with interstate rivals, into the Florida State Seminoles that are reminiscent of the teams Bobby Bowden coached during the 1990’s dynasty. Jimbo Fisher has put Florida State back on the map by consistently bringing in the best recruits in Florida, and coaching these players up to their full potential, resulting in 18 players from the past 2 seasons being drafted into the NFL. Watching Jimbo’s teams play the past few years, it’s not hard to notice that his teams play with the same confidence and swagger that made the Seminoles famous in the 1990s.

Fisher and his son.
Fisher and his son.

Considering the success that Jimbo has had and the future outlook of the program, it is safe to say that Jimbo has brought the Seminoles back to being one of the most feared teams in college football. With seemingly no end in sight, it appears as if the Seminoles will go on to have a similar dynasty from the 90’s during the 2010s, and every Florida State fan owes Jimbo a giant “thank you for bringing us back to the top,” thank you.

Florida State in the BCS Era-Top 10 Wins

In the BCS era, Florida State enjoyed two national championship seasons, while also barely securing bowl bids in some years. The ‘Noles also competed in the first three BCS National Championship games from 1998-2000, while only winning one in 1999. That season, FSU became the first and is still the only team to go wire-to-wire ranked #1 the entire season. However, from 2001-2009, Bobby Bowden began to age as a head coach, resulting in several underachieving years and three 7-6 seasons. Since Bowden’s retirement, Jimbo Fisher has won several big games as well as the third national championship in FSU history last season. From 1998-2013, there were numerous exciting games and huge wins; here is the top 10.

#10-Florida State 21, Alabama 14 (2007)

The only victory from the “Lost Years” of 2001-2009 on the list, this win is most impressive in hindsight. By 2007, FSU had serious talent gaps on both sides of the ball, while Alabama was a year away from one of the most dominant stretches in college football history. The next six seasons, Bama won 3 titles and went a combined 72-9. Even though both teams only finished 7-6 that year, these were two historic programs at a neutral site that were building towards returning to dominance.

#9-Florida State 51, Clemson 14 (2013)

A sheer beatdown from the opening play: let’s just say this game didn’t make the list for a great finish. Arguably the biggest game in ACC history thus far, FSU had climbed to #5 in the polls when they traveled to death valley to take on the #3 Tigers. What followed was the vaulting of both Jameis Winston into the Heisman race and the Seminoles in the championship hunt. Winston threw for 444 yards and scored 4 touchdowns, including a 22-yard pass to receiver Kelvin Benjamin just 82 seconds into the game.

#8-Florida State 26, South Carolina 17 (2010)

The impact of the #8 game went far beyond the final box score. FSU had finally became a legitimate threat on the field and on the recruiting trail by Decemeber 2010. A 10-win season and a bowl win over SEC east division winner South Carolina helped bring in one of the greatest recruiting classes in Florida State history February 2011.

#7-Florida State 54, Clemson 7 (2000)

This list does not get any kinder to the Tigers. A complete destroying of  #10 Clemson helped FSU get back to the national championship game for the third straight year, clinched the ‘Noles ninth straight ACC championship, and gave Bobby Bowden bragging rights over son and Tiger head coach Tommy Bowden. Much like Winston in 2013, quarterback Chris Weinke’s performance helped him to the 2000 Heisman trophy, as he threw for 544 yards and a memorable 98-yard touchdown pass.

#6-Florida State 37, Notre Dame 0 (2003)

A historic team in a historic place (South Bend) witnessed a historic game. But it wasn’t the home team. One of the greatest all-around performances of Florida State football and most certainly the best performance of the decade for the ‘Noles resulted in a dismantling of Notre Dame.

#5-Florida State 31, Florida 7 (2010)

Although the Gators were unranked, this game meant as much to FSU fans as any during the BCS era. Rival Florida was in the midst of a 7-game winning streak against the ‘Noles, including 37-10 and 45-15 beatdowns the past two years at the hands of Tim Tebow. Jimbo Fisher desperately wanted to start off right against his arch rival, and called a terrific game despite not being much of a better team.

#4-Florida State 33, West Virginia 21 (2009)

It may have been two average teams, but the final game of Bobby Bowden’s 34 year career as head coach of FSU was huge despite the outcome.

#3-Florida State 38, Florida 34 (2003)

A thrilling finish and a sweet victory at the Swamp against rival Florida headlined the #3 game on this list. A back-and-forth battle culminated in one of the greatest plays in FSU history when quarterback Chris Rix threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to P.K. Sam with only 55 seconds left in the game.

#1 (Tie)

Florida State 46, Virginia Tech 29 (1999)

Florida State 34, Auburn 31 (2013)

Just couldn’t pick between two BCS National Championship victories and two fantastic games to watch at that. Both featured fantastic opponents, with the Michael Vick led Virginia Tech in 1999 and the upstart cinderella Auburn Tigers in 2013. In 1999, FSU jumped out to a 28-7 lead before the elusive Vick sparked a 22-point comeback which made the score 29-28. The ‘Noles ultimately prevailed due to the heroics of receiver Peter Warrick, who had 163 receiving yards and scored three crucial touchdowns. Meanwhile, it was Florida State who led the comeback in 2013, capping the game with a 80-yard drive in the final minute in one of the greatest games in college football history.

One Problem with NCAA Sanctions Against Penn State

by Ryan Isley

Every now and then, the NCAA does something that just does not seem they should have the right to do. In their sanctioning of Penn State’s football program, I think they went a little too far with one of the penalties.

As we all know, the sanctions handed down were:

  • $60 million fine
  • Banned from postseason play for four seasons
  • Massive reduction in scholarships over the next four years
  • Program on probation for five years
  • Vacate all wins from 1998 to 2011

When the penalties were handed down to Penn State from the NCAA on Monday, my initial reaction was that the NCAA got it right all the way through. Upon further review, I am not so sure that they did.

Continue reading One Problem with NCAA Sanctions Against Penn State

The Positive Legacy of Joe Paterno Should Live On

by Ryan Isley

There is a saying that legends don’t die, they just fade away. If this is true, another legend has faded away as Joe Paterno passed away Sunday morning.

While the news surrounding Paterno has been of the grimmest content of late, it is important to remember who Joe Paterno really was and what he did not only for Penn State University but for the game of college football as a whole. Obviously most people will talk about the allegations surrounding Jerry Sandusky and what Paterno did or didn’t do, but that is because it is the most recent memory of the great head coach.

Of course people will tend to forget what Paterno did as a head coach at Penn State and will remember him for being brought down by what happened with Jerry Sandusky, which is a sad commentary on the society in which we live. While there are unresolved legal issues still swirling around, the passing of a legend should be a time to reflect on all the good he did in his long and illustrious life, not a time to sit back and tear him apart over one incident that may or may not have happened.

Continue reading The Positive Legacy of Joe Paterno Should Live On