March 23, 2001
From The Press Box vs. Virginia
As Florida State prepares for the Virginia game and the college football season absolutely whirls by, several thoughts come to mind.
FSU, Virginia and The Trophy
The Seminoles and the Cavaliers will be battling today for a traveling trophy known as the Jefferson-Eppes Trophy. The cup was the brainstorm of FSU President Sandy D’Alemeberte who knew of the close connection between FSU, Tallahassee and the University of Virginia and wanted to make everyone more aware of it. It was also a keen and much needed effort to promote traditions between our ACC rivals.
Thomas Jefferson, former U.S. president and the founder of the University of Virginia, was the grandfather of Francis Eppes VII and this is the connection. Eppes was a three-time mayor of Tallahassee and a long-time president of the Board of Education of the Seminary West of the Suwannee, the institutional forerunner of what is today Florida State University. In 1995, FSU intitiated the trophy which consists of a silver pitcher presented to Eppes in 1842, set atop a wooden base crafted from the remains of a massive tree known as the McGuffey Ash on the Charlottesville campus.
The Numbers Game
Football is certainly a sport which generates its fair share of numbers and statitistics. It’s not in the league of baseball as far as that goes, but some numbers do tend to jump off the page. A 100-yard rushing game has long been the benchmark of a running backs day, and a 200-yard passing day for a quarterback is a good effort, while a 300-yard game moves closer to the excellent category. Along those lines here are a few interesting numbers that have popped up over the last couple of weeks.
10,000 points – Florida State scored it’s 10,000 point of the Bobby Bowden era against Miami a couple of weeks ago. Look at that again, 10,000 points! While just holding onto a coach for 25 seasons is a remarkable feat in any era of sports, the length of time really hits home when you see this number. For those who like to pour over the statistics, FSU has averaged more than 34 points per game over Bowden’s 295 games at FSU.
496 yards – Against Miami two weeks ago, Chris Weinke threw for 496 yards, which ranks as the second best total ever by an FSU quarterback. Who holds the record for most passing yards in a game? I will help out a bit and let you know it is not Charlie Ward, who is a pretty good first guess for any FSU question, and it is not Danny Kanell, although he has three of the top 10 all-time passing games. Back in 1969, Bill Cappleman threw for a school record 508 yards against Memphis State. To put that in perspective, Weinke’s 496 yards in one game are more than FSU’s leading passer in four SEASONS. Lee Corso threw for 369 yards in 1956, Bobby Renn for 263 in 1957, Vic Prinzi for 480 in 1958 and Eddie Feely had 471 yards for 1961.
4 seasons – Travis Minor could become the first running back in Florida State history to lead the team in rushing for four straight seasons. No small feat considering the Seminoles have lost just four games over that period and have played for two national titles. Minor is currently fourth all-time in rushing yardage.
In speaking to several groups around the state lately, the question of when, where and how has come up about bowl tickets. While it is terribly premature and presumptious to even be talking about the subject, the bowl ticket applications will be going out in early November and FSU fans need to be ready in case the Seminoles advance to a bowl.
The ticket application brochures will be mailed to season ticket holders and Seminole Booster Club members only. This is a privilege earned by being a member of either one of these groups. The application will have information for ordering tickets for each bowl that Florida State would be eligible for in the BCS format from the Fed Ex Orange Bowl to the Chick-Fil-
A Peach Bowl. If you are a member of either of these groups, you should order tickets to whichever of the bowls you would like. Once the entire bowl scenario has been determined, which this year could be after the Big 12 and SEC championship games on December 2, your ticket order will be filled if FSU is playing in a bowl game for which you selected tickets.
Once the FSU ticket office has received all the applications for pre-orders by qualified buyers by the deadline of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, they will assess what the demands are for each bowl and if any bowl tickets are available to the general public they will go on sale the Monday after the Big 12 and SEC championship. Based on past history, should FSU reach the national title game there would be no tickets remaining for sale to the general public. In the past, members of the boosters who would qualify to order tickets to a bowl game did not do so by the deadline and the tickets were reserved by other qualified buyers.
So, how come there were so many Tennessee fans at the Fiesta Bowl two years ago? First of all, Tennessee had the luxury that we enjoyed last year in that they were pretty sure they would be headed to the Fiesta Bowl if they won the SEC game. Their fans bought tour packages offered by ticket brokers and travel agents before FSU folks had the mind-spinning day that resulted in a national championship bid by 8:00 p.m. Secondly, each bowl is different in how it seats the visiting teams fans and the Fiesta Bowl’s seats for each team were scattered around the stadium. In contrast, the Nokia Sugar Bowl had a more conventional seating pattern last year and one could easily distinquish between the two visiting team ticket holders.
All college football fans should also realize that the bowls have taken on a tremendous financial gamble with the huge payouts required to be a BCS bowl. The individual bowls’ primary allegiance is to their season ticket holders and not necessarily the two teams picked to play in the bowl. The athletics directors around the country are meeting with the BCS bowls to try and insure a decent number of primary seats, but just as Virginia’s fans in today’s game will not be sitting on the 50-yard line at Doak Campbell, a bowl looks at their season tickets holders as their primary customer because they will be counting on them to come back the next year when two other teams might be playing.
The moral of the story is to make sure you mark and return your bowl application as soon as you get it. You will not be charged for tickets to a bowl that we are not selected for, but you will have reserved your opportunity for a seat if we are selected for the bowl and demand does not require restrictions severe enough to limit qualified applications.
Bowden Era Poster 1991-95
This week’s Bobby Bowden era poster features the 1991 through 1995 seasons. Of course, the era was highlighted by the Seminoles first-ever football national title in 1993, but the entire five year span was most remarkable.
The 1991 season started on the west coast with a game against BYU and defending Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer. FSU reeled off two more wins before the monumental showdown in Ann Arbor against the mighty Wolverines. With Casey Weldon at the helm, FSU put on a show worthy of Seminole football with interception returns for scores, flea-flickers, fake field goals and total domination. The 51-31 win solidified FSU’s program as one of the nation’s elite. The Tribe rebounded from losses to Miami and Florida to end the regular season with an important win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, which kept alive the 10-win streak in the early stages.
1992 was nearly a perfect season save the missed field goal against Miami. The Seminoles finished second in the nation following a 27-14 win over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.
And then came 1993. FSU was ranked number one in the preseason and held the lofty perch until a date on November 13 at Notre Dame. In what was billed as the biggest game in college football history, FSU fell just short of the Irish, but lost the chance at a national title for only a week. A pressure packed win at Florida Field paved the road to an Orange Bowl date with Nebraska. And it would be freshman kicker Scott Bentley’s late field goal that gave Bowden and his Seminoles the national championship. Charlie Ward made college football history along the way winning the Heisman Trophy and every single other award for which he was eligible.
1994 would also be a memorable year mostly for the final regular season game and the rematch in the Sugar Bowl. FSU set an NCAA record by coming back in the fourth quarter from a 31-3 deficit to Florida. The 31-31 tie set the stage for a rematch between the bitter rivals in the Sugar Bowl. FSU broke the tie with a hard fought 23-17 win.
FSU’s 1995 season also ended in dramatic fashion with a fourth quarter come from behind victory against Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl, when Danny Kanell hit. E.G. Green on a key fourth down conversion on the eventual game winning scoring drive.
The Virginia game program will feature a poster commemorating the last five years of Coach Bowden’s tenure.