The Florida State Seminoles football team represents Florida State University (FSU) in American football. They compete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and are a part of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The team is renowned for its rich history, iconic helmet, fight song, distinctive colors, and numerous school traditions.
Florida State ranks tenth in all-time winning percentage among Division I FBS programs. They have achieved over 500 victories and recorded twenty-five seasons with ten or more wins. The Seminoles have participated in 50 postseason bowl games, ranking ninth nationally in bowl winning percentage and fourth in total bowl wins. The team is currently led by head coach Mike Norvell and plays home games at Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, the 18th largest stadium in college football and the second largest in the ACC, located on FSU’s campus in Tallahassee, Florida.
Florida State has an impressive football history, including three national championships, eighteen conference titles (three Dixie, fifteen ACC), and six division titles. The Seminoles have completed three undefeated seasons and maintained top-four AP Poll rankings for 14 consecutive years from 1987 to 2000. They’ve also boasted a remarkable 41 consecutive winning seasons from 1977 to 2017.
The program has produced three Heisman Trophy winners: Charlie Ward in 1993, Chris Weinke in 2000, and Jameis Winston in 2013. Additionally, the Biletnikoff Award, named after FSU legend Fred Biletnikoff, is awarded annually to the best college football receiver.
Accolades & Honors
Florida State players and coaches have received numerous awards, including the Walter Camp Award, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Lombardi Award, Dick Butkus Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Lou Groza Award, Dave Rimington Trophy, and Bobby Bowden Award. Many former Seminoles have gone on to successful NFL careers.
The program boasts 219 All-Americans (45 consensus, 15 unanimous) and 250 professional players. Florida State has six members in the College Football Hall of Fame, three in the College Football Coaches Hall of Fame, and five in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
FSU Football Traditions
At FSU, football traditions run deep. These vibrant customs are a testament to the Seminole spirit and heritage:
Iconic Spear: One enduring symbol of this tradition is the iconic spear design featured on FSU’s helmets, a proud emblem since 1976. It stands as a representation of the team’s unwavering strength and unyielding determination on the field.
Osceola and Renegade: Introduced in the 1978 season, Osceola and Renegade are the revered symbols of the Florida State Seminoles. During home football games at Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, Osceola, portraying the Seminole leader Osceola himself, makes a breathtaking entrance. Riding atop Renegade, an appaloosa horse, he charges down the field and hurls a burning spear at midfield, marking the beginning of every game. This awe-inspiring tradition is officially sanctioned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, reflecting the close connection between the university and the tribe.
Marching Chiefs: Formed in 1949, the Marching Chiefs are the official marching band of the Florida State Seminoles. Comprising a staggering 470 members, they are the world’s largest collegiate marching band, providing a vibrant and energetic soundtrack to every home game, as well as select away games and championship events.
War Chant: The Seminole War Chant, introduced in a 1984 game against Auburn, has become synonymous with FSU’s spirit and identity. Originating from FSU’s Marching Band, The Marching Chiefs, this chant features a melody based on the 1960s cheer, “massacre.” The War Chant has also become closely associated with the famous tomahawk chop and has transcended college football, finding a place in the traditions of the Atlanta Braves, the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, Mexican soccer club Santos Laguna, and Turkish soccer club Galatasaray.
Sod Cemetery: Florida State’s Sod Cemetery is a hallowed ground, commemorating the most challenging victories on the football field. When FSU triumphs in a demanding away game, a piece of the turf from the field is solemnly buried in this cemetery. The tradition began in 1962 when the Seminoles achieved an unexpected victory over Georgia. Captain Gene McDowell retrieved a piece of grass from the field, which was buried as a symbol of victory. This practice continues today, with victorious captains returning with a piece of the opponent’s turf to be interred in the Sod Cemetery, signifying the significance of the win.
College GameDay: Florida State’s appearances on ESPN’s College GameDay have been a source of excitement for fans, with 35 appearances and 6 bowl appearances to their name. The first-ever broadcast of the show took place during the legendary Game of the Century in South Bend, Indiana, when FSU faced off against Notre Dame. The Seminoles have hosted the program 11 times, the most by any ACC school. When GameDay descends on the FSU campus, the atmosphere is electric, and the Seminoles have enjoyed a 7–4 record in these games, making each appearance a memorable chapter in the school’s football history.
Miami vs. Florida State
The rivalry between the Florida State Seminoles and the Miami Hurricanes dates back to 1951, and they’ve faced off annually since 1966. This long-standing competition has evolved into one of the premier rivalries in college football. The series has been marked by intense matchups, national championship implications, and an abundance of NFL-caliber talent on display.
During the 1980s and 90s, the Miami-Florida State rivalry reached its zenith. Between 1983 and 2013, these two powerhouse programs combined to win an astonishing eight national championships, with Miami claiming five and Florida State securing three. They also played in 15 national championship games during this period, showcasing the high stakes and competitiveness of their encounters.
The 1987 matchup, in particular, stands out as a classic game featuring over 50 future NFL players across both rosters. The rivalry has been a television ratings bonanza, with the 2006 game between Miami and FSU ranking as the second most-viewed college football game in ESPN history, drawing an average of 6.33 million households.
Florida State vs. Florida
The rivalry between the Florida State Seminoles and the Florida Gators is a legendary showdown in college football. This heated contest has been a tradition since 1958 and is considered one of the most intense rivalries in the sport. Over the years, these two powerhouse teams have clashed on the gridiron 67 times, with the Gators holding a slight advantage at 37 wins, 27 losses, and 2 ties. However, since the arrival of coaching legend Bobby Bowden in 1976, the Seminoles have made their mark, boasting a record of 25 wins, 22 losses, and 1 tie.
What adds to the excitement is the alternating venue between the teams’ home stadiums. The Florida Gators host their games at the iconic Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. On the other side, the Florida State Seminoles defend their home turf at Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. This annual showdown never fails to deliver nail-biting moments and has solidified its status as a must-watch event on the college football calendar.
Clemson vs. Florida State
Florida State has developed a heated rivalry with the Clemson Tigers, their Atlantic Division foe. The Seminoles lead the all-time series with 20 wins to Clemson’s 15. This rivalry took on added significance when Bobby Bowden’s son, Tommy Bowden, took over as Clemson’s head coach, leading to the historic “Bowden Bowl.” In 1999, they made history as the first father and son to meet as opposing head coaches in a Division I-A football game.
Clemson had enjoyed success in the 1980s, winning six of the past 11 ACC titles from 1981 to 1991. However, Florida State’s entry into the ACC in 1992 marked a shift in dominance. The Seminoles proceeded to claim the next nine ACC Championships in a row, asserting their supremacy in the series. Despite some back-and-forth battles, Florida State’s continued success has cemented this rivalry as one of great importance in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Florida State vs. Virginia
In addition to their well-known rivalries with Florida, Miami, and Clemson, the Florida State Seminoles have another intriguing rivalry with the Virginia Cavaliers. This rivalry centers around the coveted Jefferson–Eppes Trophy, a symbol of pride and competition between the two schools. The tradition of competing for this trophy dates back to 1995 when it was first introduced.
The Jefferson–Eppes Trophy is a testament to the competitive spirit that thrives in college football. Over the years, it has been awarded 19 times, with the Seminoles triumphing in 14 of those instances (though FSU vacated its 2006 win). Florida State has established itself as the dominant force in this rivalry, holding a commanding all-time advantage of 14 wins to Virginia’s 4. While conference expansion has led to less frequent meetings between these teams, their battles remain a significant part of the college football landscape.
Originally, the Florida State–Virginia game was played annually from 1992 through 2005, but with the conference split into divisions, the teams now face off twice every six years. Regardless of the frequency, the rivalry for the Jefferson–Eppes Trophy continues to symbolize the competitive spirit and tradition of college football.
The Florida Cup
The Florida Cup is a prestigious trophy sponsored by the state of Florida, awarded to one of the three powerhouse universities in the state: the Florida State University Seminoles, the University of Florida Gators, or the University of Miami Hurricanes. This coveted trophy is presented to the team that emerges victorious in a round-robin competition against the other two schools during the season, which may include bowl games if necessary.
The Florida Cup came into existence in 2002, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Florida Sports Foundation and the Florida Championships Awards, Inc. The idea for this trophy was enthusiastically endorsed by then-Governor Jeb Bush, emphasizing the importance of this three-way rivalry in Florida college football. In 2013, the Florida Cup was awarded to the Florida State Seminoles.
The 1993 season saw Florida State crowned as national champions. The team, led by quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward, overcame Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl to secure their first national title. In 1999, Florida State completed its second undefeated season in school history and clinched the national title with a victory over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.
Finally, the 2013 season marked their third national championship win, with a high-scoring offense led by Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.
Doak Campbell Stadium
Doak Campbell Stadium, home to the Florida State Seminoles, has a rich history dating back to its inaugural game in 1950 against Randolph-Macon College, which the Seminoles won 40–7. Originally constructed with a modest seating capacity of 15,000, the stadium has undergone several expansions over the years.
In 1954, it was expanded to hold 19,000 spectators, with another 6,000 seats added in 1961. During the tenure of coach Bill Peterson (1960–1970), further expansion brought the capacity to 40,500 seats. However, it was under the leadership of head coach Bobby Bowden, coupled with the university’s growing student body, that the stadium witnessed its most significant growth. Today, Doak Campbell Stadium can accommodate almost 83,000 fans, making it the second-largest football stadium in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
The stadium’s brick facade complements the architectural style of the university’s campus buildings. It serves not only as a venue for sporting events but also houses various university offices and academic departments. On November 20, 2004, the field was officially named Bobby Bowden Field during a game against in-state rival Florida.
Doak Campbell Stadium is renowned for its electric game-day atmosphere and has consistently ranked among the top stadiums in college sports. Florida State’s remarkable home-field advantage is evident in their decade-long unbeaten streak from 1992 to 2001, spanning 54 games. In total, the Seminoles have completed 23 undefeated seasons at their home stadiums, with 21 of them at Doak Campbell.
Florida State University’s future football schedule features a mix of permanent conference opponents and challenging non-conference matchups. In the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the Seminoles regularly face off against perennial rivals, including Clemson, Miami, and Syracuse, ensuring fierce competition within the conference. In addition to ACC commitments, Florida State is mandated by the Florida Board of Regents to engage in an annual showdown with the University of Florida, intensifying the rivalry between the two Sunshine State powerhouses.
After the conference, the Seminoles have a line-up of tough non-conference games. These matchups include clashes with LSU, Memphis, Alabama, Georgia, and Notre Dame, providing fans with thrilling contests against some of college football’s most prestigious programs. These non-conference matches are sure to deliver exciting moments and test the Seminoles’ mettle on a national stage.
Q : How many national championships has Florida State University’s football team won?
A : Florida State has won 3 national championships.
Q : Who are Florida State’s main football rivals?
A : Florida State’s main football rivals are the Florida Gators, the Miami Hurricanes, and the Clemson Tigers.
Q : Who is the current head coach of the Florida State Seminoles football team?
A : The current head coach of the Florida State Seminoles football team is Mike Norvell.