It’s rivalry weekend in college football and in the sunshine stay that means that FSU gets set to play host to arch-rival Florida Saturday at noon in Tallahassee.
Meanwhile, a rivalry that hasn’t existed as long or been nearly is heated and hated, but still has huge significance, is USF playing the latest edition of the “War on I-4” against UCF, Friday afternoon in Tampa.
And in both cases, the home team is struggling. Struggling for wins. And, struggling to get their fans energized in their Market. And finally, struggling with the prospect that the opposing team may bring a large and Loud contingent into their Stadium this weekend.
Seminoles boss Willie Taggart met with the media off of his team’s 22 – 21 dramatic comeback win (above) Saturday night over Boston College and is ready for his first taste of the FSU – Florida game as a head coach:
VIDEO: Willie Taggart on the stakes at play vs. Florida, development of defense and Francois, injury update on key contributors.https://t.co/63Rk8NBlaE
— Warchant.com (@Warchant) November 19, 2018
Taggart is specifically concerned with the early noon start to the game on Saturday and that there will not be as many students, etc. filling Doak Campbell Stadium. The Noles had at least 20,000 empty seats Saturday and a lot in the student sections. And, with the Gators having won two weeks ago in dramatic fashion over South Carolina, and then, blowing out Idaho, there may be a lot of orange and blue when he looks around on their home field.
Likewise, Bulls coach Charlie Strong met with the media in Tampa Monday and expressed similar concerns about UCF coming into Raymond James Stadium.
Answering a question about fears that UCF might bring 15-20,000 or more fans across I-4 to complete another perfect regular season, here was his response on that and other subjects:
— USF Football (@USFFootball) November 19, 2018
Strong experienced the UCF rivalry firsthand in Orlando last year, when the Bulls and the Knights engaged in one of the wildest and most dramatic games of 2017. This is specifically because, UCF was trying to complete a perfect regular season a year ago and the Bulls “battled them tooth and nail” until the final minutes, when Mike Hughes’ kickoff return for a touchdown provided the ultimate margin of Victory.
UCF went on to a 13 – 0 American Conference Championship season and a win in the Peach Bowl over Auburn.
However, unlike Florida State off the high of a victory at home last week, USF is reeling having lost four straight games, including blowing a 17 point lead to lose the Temple last Saturday. The Bulls also get one less day to prepare with the game being on Friday afternoon.
Still, these are both rivalry games and even if the home team will be considered the underdog, which they both are in Vegas, anything can truly happen.
And Taggart and Strong will be preaching that to their teams this week.
FSU and LSU announced two game neutral site series Tuesday
In an effort to continue to beef up their out-of-conference schedules, FSU announced on Tuesday that they will play newly-crowned National Champion, LSU in two neutral site games coming soon in 2022 and 2023.
The Seminoles made the announcement through social media and their website that they will be playing the “Bayou Bengals” first in New Orleans and then, in Orlando:
Noles vs. Tigers set for '22/'23!!!https://t.co/nfLwLGhXE3
— FSU Football (@FSUFootball) February 11, 2020
Both teams will be given the benefit of essentially a “home-away-from-home neutral-site game” on Labor Day weekend. LSU considers New Orleans to be their second home and just won the College Football Playoff National Championship game over Clemson there on January 12.
The first game with the Noles will be on Saturday night September 4th, 2022.
FSU will, then play “hosts” in Orlando against the Tigers the following year on Saturday night September 3rd. The Noles recently played a season-opening game with Ole Miss, whom they defeated, at Camping World Stadium in 2016.
New Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell had this to say in the school statement about adding the games coming soon,
“I’m excited about this series,” head coach Mike Norvell said. “Florida State has a rich tradition in Louisiana, the home of many former Seminoles including Warrick Dunn and Travis Minor, and all three of our national championship teams had at least one player from Louisiana. It continues to be an important area for us now. We added two players from Louisiana in our first signing class, and it will be great for them and other future Noles to be able to play back in their home state.
This series matches two of the iconic brands in college football, and I know our fans will have a great time in New Orleans and Orlando. I want to thank our administration for all their hard work on this and for continuing to pursue first-class experiences for our student-athletes.”
These will be the 10th and 11th times that Florida State and LSU will meet. The Noles hold a 7 – 2 advantage, including winning four straight games in the series. It is the first time the two schools will have played since 1991.
Further, Florida State is 9 – 2 in their last 11 games opening a season on a neutral field. The Seminoles were to have played Boise State in Jacksonville last Labor Day weekend, but the threat of Hurricane Dorian moved the game to Tallahasse.
That’s where the Broncos upset the Seminoles and sent coach Willie Taggart into a second year spiral that resulted in his firing in November.
The Noles are also 8 – 2 all-time in games at the Superdome with the most prominent one coming in the BCS Championship Game win over Virginia Tech in the 2000 Sugar Bowl.
Deion tells Dan Patrick he’d consider coaching Hurricanes
NFL Hall of Famer and former Seminoles All-American defensive back Deion Sanders is making the rounds for broadcast outlets at Super Bowl 54 in Miami,. And it’s not just his NFL Network duties that made some news on Tuesday. Rather, it’s an interview, where he expressed more desire for coaching college football and maybe, even in the city where he currently is working this week.
Sanders appeared on The Dan Patrick television – radio show Tuesday in advance of the 49ers and the Chiefs meeting for pro football’s title at Hard Rock stadium Sunday night.
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) January 28, 2020
And, while most of the interview centered around the NFL and the Super Bowl match-up, Patrick naturally turned to Deion’s desire to apparently be a head coach in college football and maybe, as soon as next year.
This subject came up after Sanders was apparently under consideration to possibly be the new head coach at FSU, when they fired Willie Taggart in early November. The school and AD David Coburn did confirm that they had a serious formal discussion with “Prime Time” about building a staff, etc.
That’s when Patrick turn the questioning to Sanders’ son and what might test his loyalty to FSU and possibly, coaching at a hated-rival like the University of Miami.
“What if ‘The U’ called?” Patrick asked.
“You know what is so funny, cuz I saw that when I was watching you on television (earlier in the day when Patrick said he would ask Sanders about Miami). My son is a phenomenal quarterback. My youngest son. He has a plethora of offers. We’re going to visit ‘The U’ on Saturday,” Sanders said.
“But would you coach the U?,” Patrick quickly asked again.
“You know what. You never know,” Sanders replied leaving the door open, like most do.
“Are you a ‘package deal’ with your son,” asked Patrick?
“I’ve never been a package deal with any-body,” Sanders shot back, which drew laughter from the studio audience at Patrick’s Super Bowl show site.
Now, the Hurricanes have obviously floundered for much of the 2010s, including 2019 with first-year coach Manny Diaz struggling mightily down the stretch of his first season. Miami lost it’s final two games to finish 6 – 6, and then, were shutout humiliatingly by Louisiana Tech 14 – 0 in the Independence Bowl.
Miami has swapped offensive coordinators after Diaz fired Dan Enos after just his first season. The Canes have hired former Auburn and SMU play-caller Rhett Lashlee to replace him. And, they secured Houston dual threat transfer QB D’Eriq King for this season.
Sanders was a two-time All-American at Florida State (1987, ’88), and won the Jim Thorpe Award during his final season playing for the Seminoles in 1988. He was selected in the first round of the 1989 draft by the Atlanta Falcons and played in the NFL through the 2005 season.
His elite level of play earned him inductions into both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Sanders has been analyst for the NFL Network for the past 10 years and clearly has the desire to try something else.