Feb. 17, 1998
TALLAHASSEE, FL — The Florida State football team will open the 1998 season against Texas A&M in the 16th annual Kickoff Classic at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. The game will be nationally televised by ABC-TV in prime time on Monday, August 31, with kickoff scheduled for 8:00 p.m.
FSU brings a pair of remarkable NCAA records into the first game of the ’98 college season as well as a likely Top Five preseason ranking. The Seminoles have finished among the Associated Press Top Four in each of the last 11 seasons and have also set an NCAA record by winning 10 or more games in each of the last 11 seasons.
“The ultimate decision to play in the Kickoff Classic was driven by the fact that we could not secure an opponent for the Pigskin Classic which would have been played in Jacksonville, Florida,” said Dave Hart, Director of Athletics at Florida State. “We very much look forward to playing Texas A&M in the Meadowlands. It’s a great college football matchup and a great way for the 1998 season to debut. I am disappointed that we could not host a game in Jacksonville, but Rick Catlett, the City of Jacksonville and ABC, were terrific in their collective effort to bring a game there. Everything was in place and it’s unfortunate we could not find an opponent willing to play.”
Florida State will be making their second appearance in the Kickoff Classic. The last time the Seminoles played in the Meadowlands they defeated Kansas 42-0 in 1993 and went on to win their first national championship. “We are very excited to be playing in the Kickoff Classic again,” said FSU head coach Bobby Bowden. “It was a great experience for our team in 1993. We have great respect for Texas A&M’s football program and for the job that R.C. Slocum and his staff have done. I know they return a number of players and it will be a very difficult game for us especially as a season-opener with new starters at some key positions. But I think it’s good for college football for teams to take on challenges.”
FSU and Texas A&M have met three times before on the gridiron with the Seminoles winning all three previous meetings, including a 10-2 win over the Aggies in their last meeting in the 1992 (’91 season) Cotton Bowl. FSU won 19-18 at College Station, TX, in 1967 and 20-14 the following year in Tallahassee. Texas A&M is also a future regular season opponent for the Seminoles. The teams will meet in both 2005 and 2006 seasons, with Florida State scheduled to travel to College Station on September 17, 2005; while Texas A&M will play in Tallahassee on September 16, 2006.
The Seminoles return 14 starters and 57 lettermen from last year’s squad that finished 11-1 with a 31-14 win over Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl and a third place ranking in both AP and ESPN/USA Today.