January 5, 1999 - by

The championship wasn’t
meant to be for FSU in 1998.

No Fiesta For FSU Fans

Bowl upset causes quiet night on ironically-named Tennessee Street.

January 5, 1999

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Not a shred of confetti could be found on Tennessee Street near the Florida State campus on Monday night.

Hundreds of fans packed into Tallahassee sports bars to watch the Fiesta Bowl, and most of them went home disappointed. Tennessee upset the No. 2 Seminoles 23-16 Monday night to earn the college football title.

“I’m going to have to sleep for four days after this one,” said Freddie Tennell, one of Florida State’s loudest rooters at BW-3 Grill and Bar. “It’s going to take me that long to get over this.”

Most Seminoles fans felt the same way.

“I almost got arrested I was so mad,” said Noell Barnidge, a 27-year-old FSU alumnus. The cop said, I know you’re disappointed, but you can’t throw your hat.”’

One of his friends, 23-year-old Heather Ford, was ready to move on to next year, and to another hangout spot.

“Could we go to Denny’s?,” said Ford, a Florida State graduate student.

Although the Seminoles never led in the game, crowds in jam-packed sports bars remained optimistic until defeat seemed inevitable.

“I’m bummed out,” said Matt Olesen, a 24-year-old graduate student who had his head in his hands.

Disappointment in the Seminoles’ performance also put a damper on a party at the home of FSU graduate student Dave Pittman and his wife, Sharyn. The guests began leaving by halftime.

“Everybody just decided to go home to watch the rest of it,” said a disgusted Dave Pittman.

The loss also meant Tallahassee police didn’t have to put into operation a plan to handle the celebration, which included closing down a lane of Tennessee Street. In fact, Lt. Ken Bergstrom said he didn’t know of any arrests associated with parties.

“In past years we’ve had some problems when we beat big teams,” he said. But over the years, FSU has played so many large ballgames, we don’t have near the problems we had 10 or 12 years ago.”

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