August 4, 1998
FSU Athletics: The Top Program
Florida State University was the only school in the country last year that
placed its football team in a major bowl, its men’s basketball team in the
NCAA Tournament and its baseball team in the College World Series.
While FSU is one of the youngest Division 1 programs, it has quickly
developed into one of the finest in college football history. The 1998
Sugar Bowl was FSU’s 27th bowl in just 51 seasons of football. The
Seminoles have become one of the nation’s most successful bowl teams with a
17-8-2 all-time mark.
Florida State ranked third nationally in total defense in 1997, the second
consecutive year that the Tribe has ranked among the top five in the
Hurricanes are Familiar Faces
FSU’s most frequent opponent is Miami. The Seminoles October 10th meeting
with the ‘Canes in the Orange Bowl will be the 42nd meeting in the series.
Florida State has won four of the last five games in the rivalry but still
trail in the all-time series 23-18.
Playing for Both Sides
Billy Rhodes became the second player under Bobby Bowden at Florida State
to play on both offense and defense in the same game when he played
noseguard and offensive guard against Georgia Tech last year. The first
player to do so was Jermaine Green in 1995, when he played tailback and
cornerback against Duke. Rhodes is now in his third position at FSU —
Big Line in ’98
Florida State’s projected starters along the offensive line will give the
1998 squad the biggest group of blockers in school history. The line,
which features no seniors, averages 6-51/2 and 305 pounds, which is an
average of nine pounds heavier than last year’s line. The 1993 line that
won the national championship averaged 6-4, 272 and back in 1990 the
average Seminole was 6-2, 271. How big were they when Coach Bowden first
arrived? The 1976 offensive line averaged 6-3, 246.
ACC Bowl Success
ACC teams posted a 3-1 record in bowl games last season and ranked second
as a conference in bowl wins during the 1990’s with 20 combined wins.
Every league team has played in a bowl during the decade, making the ACC
the only conference to make that claim as the most balanced league in the
nation. The ACC’s .569 winning percentage in bowl games in the ’90s is
the second best mark in the nation.
Seven Seminoles have combined to win all but two of the major national
awards. A Florida State player has won the Butkus (twice), Thorpe (twice),
O’Brien (twice), Maxwell, Lombardi and a Heisman.
Two-time All-ACC running back Warrick Dunn became the only player in FSU
history to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark three times. He set a Florida
State season rushing record in 1995 with 1,242 yards and owns FSU’s
all-time rushing mark with 3,959 yards.
At the Next Level
Thirty-seven former Seminoles played in the NFL last year. Included in
that number were the NFL’s Offensive (Warrick Dunn of Tampa Bay) and
Defensive (Peter Boulware of Baltimore) Rookies of the Year.
All in the Family
There are 46 years of head coaching experience between Bowdens. Bowden and
his sons, Terry and Tommy, have a combined record of 391-131-6 (.739) in 46
seasons, including Terry’s stints at Salem and Samford, Tommy’s one year at
Tulane and Bobby’s Samford, West Virginia and Florida State days.
Home Sweet Home
Bobby Bowden is 110-16-2 at home as FSU’s head coach and he has not lost
in Doak Campbell since 1991.
Top of the Classes
The 1997 senior class looked good on paper when they signed with the
Seminoles back in 1993, and the certainly did not disappoint. A remarkable
15 of the 18 members of the signing class who finished their eligibility at
FSU (or left early for the NFL) were either drafted or played in the NFL.
Since 1987, just under 70 percent of the players who signed with FSU and
completed their eligibility with the Seminoles went on to be drafted or
played in the NFL. The numbers do not include players who transferred
(whether they made it to the NFL or not), those who lost their eligibility
or those who suffered career ending injuries.
A Seminole has finished among the top six in Heisman Trophy balloting five
times over the last seven years. Charlie Ward won in 1993, Casey Weldon
was second in ’91, Marvin Jones was fourth in ’92, Warrick Dunn was fifth
in 1996 and Danny Kanell finished sixth in 1995.
Florida State’s assistant coaches average more than 17 years of collegiate
experience between them (157 years total). Bobby Bowden has seen only one
coach depart since the 1993 national championship season after Ronnie
Cottrell (recruiting coordinator/tight ends) was hired as Alabama’s
assistant head coach/recruiting coordinator last year. Graduate Assistant
John Lilly was elevated to Cottrell’s post and came through with a
consensus top five recruiting class. Following the 1993 season, Brad Scott
(offensive coordinator) took the South Carolina head coaching job and
brought FSU assistants John Eason and Wally Burnham with him. Jeff Bowden
and Odell Haggins have been with the Seminole staff since.
NFL Draft Dominance
In the last two NFL Drafts, 16 Seminole players have been taken by
respective franchises. Defensive end Andre Wadsworth, FSU’s highest pick
ever at No. 3 overall, was one of nine Seminoles drafted in 1998. In 1997,
four of FSU’s seven draftees were first-rounders. Peter Boulware, Walter
Jones, Warrick Dunn and Reinard Wilson were all taken after the first 14
picks of that year’s NFL Draft.
A Parade of Quarterbacks
True freshman Jared Jones became the third Parade All-American quarterback
on the FSU roster when he signed with the Seminoles earlier this year.
Junior Dan Kendra, who will play fullback when he returns from a knee
injury, earned that distinction as a high school senior in 1994. FSU’s
starting signal caller, 26-year old sophomore Chris Weinke, was a Parade
All-American in 1989.
Polish Powder Keg
Sophomore place-kicker Sebastian Janikowski may have the most powerful left
leg in college football. A Sporting News Freshman All-American last year,
Janikowski set an FSU record with a 56-yard field goal against Wake Forest
(one yard shy of the ACC record). He booted 50 percent of his kickoffs
into or out of the endzone for touchbacks while also placing sixth
nationally with an average of 1.45 field goals per game. Janikowski left
Poland at age 15 to move to Daytona with his father and turned down several
professional soccer offers to enroll at Florida State.
Biggest Offensive Line Ever
Although Florida State’s offensive line will be one of the youngest groups
in recent history, it will rank as the biggest Seminole unit ever. The
five starters, which include four at 300+, look like an NFL front with an
average of 6-5 1/2 and 305 lbs., each. Four reserves also tip the scales
at over 300 pounds. The group should be even better next year as the
two-deep roster features no seniors and only two juniors (Jason Whitaker
and Eric Thomas).
The Florida State football program is the only one in NCAA history to
finish among the Associated Press’ Top Four for 11 consecutive seasons.
Over the period, the Seminoles have finished first (1993), second (’87,
’92), third (’88, ’89, ’96, ’97) and fourth (’90, ’91, ’94, ’95).
In the Company of Legends
With 281 career victories, Bobby Bowden ranks fifth on the NCAA All-Time
Career Win List. Bowden trails only Bear Bryant (323), Glenn “Pop” Warner
(319), Amos Alonzo Stagg (314), and Joe Paterno (298).
Florida State has won six Atlantic Coast Conference Championships in its
six seasons as a league member. The Seminoles have compiled an incredible
47-1 record, including five undefeated conference seasons, since joining
the ACC in 1992.
Florida State placed seven players on the All-ACC first team in 1997, but
none will return for the 1998 season. The Seminoles have five second-team
returnees — receiver Peter Warrick, offensive guard Jason Whitaker,
running back Travis Minor, place-kicker Sebastian Janikowski and free
safety Dexter Jackson.
If the Seminoles are ranked preseason #1 by the Associated Press, it will
be fifth time in the last 10 years. Florida State has started the season
ranked number one four times over the last eight years. FSU started No. 1
in the preseason polls in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995.
Finish What You Started
Nine teams have started the season #1 and finished as National Champions.
In 1993, the Seminoles became just the eighth team which was ranked number
one in the preseason and ended up as national champion. FSU joined four
Oklahoma teams (’56, ’74, ’75, ’85), Tennessee (’51) and Michigan State
(’53). Nebraska became the ninth in 1994.
An Unbelievable 10-Win Streak
Ten wins per season for 11 straight years. Florida State continues to
add to an NCAA record 11 straight 10-win seasons. Bowden’s FSU teams
have compiled a total of 14 seasons with 10 wins or more.
The FSU Sack Attack
Seminole starting defensive ends have contributed 58.5 sacks to the FSU
pass rush over the last two seasons. In 1996, first-round draft choice
Peter Boulware sacked the quarterback an FSU record 19 times, while Reinard
Wilson added 13.5 sacks from the other end. Last year, Andre Wadsworth led
FSU with 16 sacks and Greg Spires contributed 10 despite playing just seven
games. Tony Bryant and Roland Seymour will take over at the Seminoles’
starting bookends this fall. Bryant and Seymour got a head start last
season with a combined 13 quarterback sacks.
Twelve sophomores are in the projected starting lineup for the 1998 season.
Both offense and defense will have five sophomore starters as are the two
returning specialists, including Freshmen All-Americans Tay Cody, Ross
Brannon, Donald Heaven, Sebastian Janikowski and ACC Rookie of the Year
Travis Minor. FSU has just six seniors and six juniors listed on the first
team of the preseason depth chart.
Success in the Classroom
Six Florida State football players earned Academic All-ACC honors —
receiver E.G. Green, center Kevin Long, defensive end Andre Wadsworth,
defensive lineman Jerry Johnson, linebacker Daryl Bush and safety Dexter
Jackson. Long and Bush were two-time selections and Bush was also a
two-time GTE Academic All-American.