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Florida State Seminoles

Where does FSU’s Labor Day Night comeback rank?

(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)
Florida Football Insiders



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The smoke had barely settled after midnight Monday night in Orlando, when the inevitable question arose from the press box, the internet and blogosphere: Where does Florida State’s 22 point comeback to defeat top 15 Ole Miss rank in it’s storied history?

If you went to bed (and even though it was a holiday, the game did not end until almost 12:15 a.m. Eastern Tuesday), FSU stormed back from a 28-6 deficit late in the 2nd quarter to score 33 unanswered points and eventually win 45-34.

Here’s the link to legendary “Voice of the Noles” Gene Deckerhoff calling all the big plays and TD’s in the 2nd half Monday night:

Now, let’s consider that the Noles rose to prominence under Bobby Bowden’s guidance in the 1980’s and had a massively successful run of 14 consecutive years where they finished in the AP top 5 in the 80’s and 90’s, collecting national titles in ’93 and ’99.  So, they’ve won a lot of HUGE games, including post-season, in their history. Winning important games is now habit, if not a given.

But “Epic Comebacks?” Let’s examine:

First, we here at F.F.I., are always going to be partial to what you do with a championship on the line.  So, the 2014 “BCS National Championship Game” win at the Rose Bowl over Auburn has to be at the top of a list.

Remember that the Noles trailed the SEC Champs 21-3 in the 2nd quarter and were clearly at a loss to stop Gus Malzahn’s unorthodox read-option offense. The Noles did find solutions on defense and not unlike Monday night in Orlando, they used a 2nd half combination of offensive drives, turnovers caused, a 100 yard kickoff return TD, and then, Heisman Winner Jameis Winston engineered the game winning 80 yard TD drive in the final minute. He capped it with the winning score on a two yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin for a third Seminole National Title.

Incredible comeback under the circumstances.

So if, that’s #1, then the second most memorable comeback has to be the legendary “Choke at Doak,” as Florida State rallied from 31-3 down in the fourth quarter to tie arch rival Florida in November of 1994. For those too young or simply don’t remember the particulars, here you go:

It’s a game and rally that even 22 years later, almost any Seminole football fan can recite what happened, where they were, and how they are still rubbing it in on Gator fans 3 decades later. When you do this to your rival, it’s just different. And for a couple of years, FSU sold copies of just the 4th quarter of the radio broadcast of “Mean Gene” and late Vic Prinzi calling all the TD’s and big plays.

Those, by the way, were on cassette tapes.  If you are under the age of 20, ask someone what those are!

And then finally, last night.

After being torched by Chad Kelly and the Rebels pass game for 30 minutes, the Seminoles red shirt-freshman QB Deondre Francois, the fast, talented FSU D and a crafty Head Coach Jimbo Fisher and staff making adjustments on both sides of the ball, erased a 28-6 problem in just one quarter.

Amazing performance and Nole fans will talk about it for a long time to come.

You might have thoughts on where this ranks compared to other great FSU comebacks.

Tweet us at: @Real_FFI with others!

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Florida State Seminoles

Why hasn’t Florida State named their new coach?

Matt Zemek



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Why hasn’t Florida State announced the hire of a new head football coach? It is a legitimate question to ask as Conference Championship Weekend approaches.

The early signing period comes closer, and the Seminoles know they need to nail down recruits to give themselves a fighting chance in 2020 and, more realistically, 2021. The more this head coaching search drags out – now that we are in December – the worse it looks for Florida State.

Moreover, the whole point (or at least the main point) of firing Willie Taggart a few weeks before the end of the regular season was precisely to get a head start on the head coaching search and find the right man for the right price in a precarious time for Seminole football.

If Florida State doesn’t have a coach firmly secured by Sunday morning – before the College Football Playoff teams and New Year’s Six bowl assignments are announced – it will be buried in the news cycle. Announcing a hire late Sunday night or early Monday morning won’t create the same splash and will certainly come across as being “late” in a meaningful sense. FSU won’t get the maximum amount of attention and publicity it needs.

The clock really is ticking. Yes, it is better to be late than to settle for a terrible hire. Florida State (and any other school in its position) is better served by getting the right coach late in a carousel cycle than to be stuck with the wrong man and making the hire “on time,” before Sunday afternoon.

We can all understand the bigger picture, though: Florida State, a program of great stature and significance, should be able to get a good hire AND be on time. The Seminoles ought to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

The conventional wisdom – or at least, one of several prevailing thoughts if there isn’t majority agreement on this point – is that Florida State will wait until after Saturday’s AAC Championship Game between Cincinnati and Memphis to announce the hire of Memphis coach Mike Norvell.

If this IS in fact the case (we’ll see, one way or the other), Florida State will have gotten one of the better options in the coaching carousel. Norvell’s (above) name has been thrown about for a long time at Power Five schools. His arrival would certainly offer the promise of an elite offense (and strong quarterback development) returning to Tallahassee.

It wouldn’t be a home-run, but it would be viewed as a reasonably good hire under complicated circumstances, a move which could certainly work if Norvell plays his cards right.

The bigger question – and potential problem – for FSU is if a Norvell deal has NOT been lined up, and if the program is scrambling. Then we’re in a different landscape with a lot more uncertainty.

We talk about this larger topic at this time every year: In a coaching search, there is always a prime target. If that target is secured (in this case Norvell), great.

If not, are you – as an athletic director – ready with your Plan B? Is Dave Coburn, armed with his search firm, ready?

We’re about to find out if FSU has its Plan A firmly secured, or if the school has its Plan B ready to go before the College Football Playoff announcement.

Or, if FSU has botched this hire completely by letting others who started later get coaches out from under them.

Stay tuned.

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Florida State Seminoles

Florida-FSU wouldn’t be what it is without Bowden and Spurrier

Matt Zemek



Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
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It isn’t a crime against humanity. It isn’t the foremost outrage to be found in the world, in North America in the United States, in college athletics, in college football, or even in the state of Florida.

There are much bigger problems, many more severe outrages, to be found in the world… but this IS a crime: An ESPN “30 for 30” film on the Bobby Bowden-Steve Spurrier rivalry hasn’t been made.

I don’t have a problem with the fact that two 30 for 30 movies on the Miami Hurricanes were made. Miami football was a remarkable story with electric characters who lived unforgettable lives as collegiate athletes. The U did require two parts. That’s perfectly fine. I enjoyed the first one more than the second, but I’m glad both parts were made, and I am happy both parts exist as part of the treasure trove of documentary films on college football.

However, if The U gained two separate films on the “30 for 30” documentary franchise, “how in the Sam Hill” does the Bowden-Spurrier rivalry not have ONE film?

Bowden and Spurrier were obviously great coaches. They were iconic figures. They were also the ultimate pillars, the single most important figures in the football histories of their respective schools.

There was no Florida State football – not in any consequential sense, at any rate – before Bobby Bowden.

Similarly, Florida owned a significant national presence only to the extent that Steve Spurrier was in some way involved. His Heisman Trophy season in 1966, followed by his ascent to UF head coach, made Florida football what it was

Bowden and Spurrier weren’t great coaches who were mere drops in the ocean, small particles of a much larger rivalry with many epic chapters before and after. No, they WERE the rivalry between Florida and Florida State. We are still waiting for another coaching clash to come remotely close to that.

Urban Meyer – the other coaching giant in the history of FSU-UF football – didn’t have Bowden at his best when he coached the Gators. Jimbo Fisher didn’t have a worthy counterpart earlier this decade. Florida State will try to hire a coach who can match wits with Dan Mullen and create something special, but nothing is guaranteed.

This magnifies what Bowden and Spurrier brought to Noles-Gators, and to college football… but it doesn’t begin to tell the whole story.

Whether you believe either coach’s outward persona – Bobby’s aw-shucks, dadgummit veneer or Spurrier’s unvarnished competitive cockiness – is beside the point. These two men carried themselves in unique ways.

Bowden was the ultimate charmer – think “Bear Bryant but with sunshine and giggles” – while Spurrier was the resentful grudge-holding score-settler whose long memory fueled his ambitions and made him the great coach he was.

Florida State-Florida wasn’t just hugely significant at its height in the 1990s; it was colorful, emotional, original, fresh, and endlessly honest. The hatred was naked, not hidden; outwardly expressed, not repressed.

FSU-UF didn’t merely matter a great deal; it was the rivalry which, in its heyday, was so refreshingly free of pretense or manufactured controversy. The Noles and Gators arrived at – and built – their hatred honestly, not through cheap or artificial avenues or devices.

If Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler had the Ten-Year War at Ohio State and Michigan from 1969 through 1978, Bowden and Spurrier had the Twelve-Year War from 1990 through 2001.

The U should have two “30 for 30s.”

That isn’t the problem.

Bobby Bowden and Steve Spurrier not having one, at the end of 2019?

It’s a crime… not the worst crime, but a crime nonetheless.

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