August 8, 2000 - by
Bowden Disappointed That Florida State’s Run At No. 1 Is Over

Aug. 8, 2000


By Brent Kallestad

Associated Press


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For the first time in a year, Florida State
isn’t
college football’s No. 1 team – and coach Bobby Bowden thinks that’s too
bad.


“This is the first year I was hoping we would (start the season No. 1),
because we went wire-to-wire last year and it would be great to try it
again,
or see how far you could go,” Bowden said Sunday. “But if you’d promise I’d
be No. 2 on Jan. 4 and play in that big game, I’d take it right now.”


Bowden’s defending national champions have won 21 straight regular
season
games and played in three of the last four national championship games.


But the Seminoles were a close second to top-ranked Nebraska in The
Associated Press preseason poll released Saturday.


Bowden thinks his team can repeat as national champion.


“We’re the only team that qualifies,” he said. “If we don’t get anybody
hurt, we’ve got as good a chance as anybody else.”


Bowden has 14 starters back from last year’s 12-0 team and for the
first
time in his coaching career begins a season with a third-year starter at
quarterback, 28-year-old Chris Weinke.


“It’s always a concern when you have to break in a new quarterback,”
Bowden said. “This year we’ve got a guy who is the most mature football
player
in college football.”


Florida State players weren’t too concerned about falling from the top
perch
without having lost a game.


“It doesn’t matter,” offensive tackle Tarlos Thomas said. “We’ve still
got to defend our title. We can settle that in the Orange Bowl.”


Thomas said his teammates are eager to try to get Bowden a repeat
championship and third title overall.


“We know we just can’t talk about it,” Thomas said. “We know what we
have
to do.”


Florida State resumes two-a-day practices Monday in preparation for its
Aug.
26 season opener against Brigham Young.

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