By Bob Thomas
Associate Sports Information Director
Coach Jimbo Fisher’s Florida State football team is in the midst of a school-record and nation-leading 20-game winning streak. It’s an impressive feat, especially in this age of competitive balance collegiately. Perhaps even more remarkably, FSU has 11 winning streaks of 10 or more games – eight under legendary coach Bobby Bowden – in its 69-season history, including the three longest in ACC history. Here are FSU’s five longest winning streaks:
The Seminoles’ current run includes the 14-0 march to the 2013 BCS National Championship behind a prolific offense, led by Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, and an opportunistic defense that generated 35 takeaways. The streak began with the Dec. 1, 2012 ACC Championship game victory over Georgia Tech, which was followed by an Orange Bowl win over Northern Illinois.
The 1999 Seminoles authored an historic, wire-to-wire run at No. 1 to a perfect 12-0 campaign. Chris Weinke, who would win the Heisman in 2000, and Peter Warrick were the offensive catalysts on a team that claimed the national title with a 46-29 Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech. And the defense was loaded with future NFL players. The streak began with a win over Louisiana Tech in the ’99 opener and ended on Oct. 7, 2000 in a loss (27-24) at Miami.
Charlie Ward found his groove as a first-year starter in ’92, leading the Seminoles to seven straight wins following the Wide Right II loss at Miami. FSU began its 1993 national championship season with nine consecutive wins behind the Heisman-winning Ward and the Derrick Brooks-led defense. The Noles recovered from their Nov. 13 “Game of the Century” loss at Notre Dame (31-24) to beat Nebraska in the Orange Bowl for a second consecutive year, this time for the program’s first championship.
One week after taking over the starting QB job from Brad Johnson, Casey Weldon directed the Noles to a 42-3 rout of LSU on Oct. 27, 1990. Florida State closed out that season six wins, including No. 6 Florida and No. 7 Penn State. Backed by an outstanding defense, Weldon led FSU to 10 consecutive wins to start the ’91 season – all as the No. 1 team in the land – before the then school-record streak ended with the Wide Right loss (17-16) against Miami at home on Nov. 16. Weldon was the ’91 Heisman runner-up.
The Seminoles were a modest 4-3 after a 7-3 loss at No. 16 Pittsburgh in 1978, but set the tone for something special in 1979 by winning their final four games. With Ron Simmons, Reggie Herring and Paul Piurowski leading the defense and the QB tandem of Wally Woodham and Jimmy Jordan directing a balanced offense, FSU completed its first unbeaten regular season (11-0) under Bobby Bowden. The streak ended Jan. 1, 1980 against Oklahoma (24-7) in the school’s first Orange Bowl appearance.
Other FSU streaks of 10 or more wins: 14 (1989-90); 13 (1949-50); 12 (1995-96); 11 (1948-49); 10 (1998); 10 (1997).