Many people associate the Florida State University football team with the post-World War II era, particularly in 1947 when the university became co-ed. However, purists like myself will tell you that FSU’s football history dates back to the early 1900s. In 1900, FSU, then known as the Seminary West of the Suwannee, fielded its first football team, and by 1904, they had already secured their first State Title.
Rankings and Records
Florida State University ranks as the 3rd most successful team over the past 25 years, boasting an impressive 77% win rate (231-69-2). Over the last half-century, FSU has ranked 12th with a 67% win rate. The College Football Research Center recognizes Florida State as the 10th best college football program in history, surpassing rivals Miami (#15) and Florida (#18). Billingsley’s Top 200 Teams of All Time from 1869 to 2010 includes seven Florida State squads. Moreover, ESPN ranked Florida State as the 9th most prestigious program in history after the 2008 season.
Florida State’s presence in the Associated Press (AP) poll also speaks to its prominence. The Seminoles hold the 7th most appearances in the final AP Top 5, with 15 appearances. In the Coaches Poll, which began releasing final rankings in 1950, FSU boasts 32 seasons where the team finished in the top 25.
The Florida State Seminoles football team held the tenth longest home winning streak, with an impressive 37 consecutive home wins from 1992 to 2001. They also maintain the longest active bowl streak, second longest in history, as well as the longest active streak without a losing season. Former head coach Bobby Bowden holds the distinction of being the second-winningest coach of all time, with most of his victories coming from his time with the Seminoles.
Florida State is also the first and only team to go ‘wire-to-wire,’ maintaining a number one ranking for an entire season. Organizations such as Bleacher Report have consistently ranked Florida State among the top ten teams of all time.
Current Coaching Staff
- Willie Taggart: Head Coach
- Odell Haggins: Associate Head Coach/Defensive Tackles
- Walt Bell: Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
- Harlon Barnett: Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
- Donte’ Pimpleton: Running Backs
- David Kelly: Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator
- Telly Lockette: Tight Ends
- Greg Frey: Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line
- Mark Snyder: Defensive Ends
- Raymond Woodie: Linebackers
- Alonzo Hampton: Special Teams Coordinator
Iconic Moments and Seasons
Throughout its history, Florida State football has been marked by iconic moments and seasons that continue to resonate with fans. Some of these moments include:
1991 – Big Win at the Big House: Florida State made a historic trip to Michigan Stadium in 1991, facing the #3 Michigan Wolverines. The Seminoles triumphed with a score of 51-31, with memorable plays, including cornerback Terrell Buckley’s interception return for a touchdown.
1993 – Ward to Dunn: The Seminoles entered The Swamp in 1993 ranked No. 1 and eyeing a national championship. Despite Florida’s late-game surge to narrow the score to 27-21, a game-clinching 79-yard touchdown run by Warrick Dunn, courtesy of Charlie Ward’s pass, secured a 33-21 FSU victory in a play often hailed as one of the greatest in FSU history.
1994 – FSU’s First National Championship: The 1994 Orange Bowl was a historic battle against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Florida State, ranked first in the nation, emerged victorious with an 18-16 win. Scott Bentley’s crucial field goal in the final seconds and a frenzied celebration highlighted this championship triumph.
1994 – The Choke at Doak: In one of the most remarkable comebacks in their rivalry with the Gators, the Seminoles overcame a 31-3 deficit after three quarters to tie the game at 31-31. Their victory in the Sugar Bowl, known as “The Fifth Quarter in the French Quarter,” added another chapter to this epic rivalry.
1996 – #1 vs #2: A showdown for the ages unfolded in 1996 as the top-ranked and undefeated Florida Gators faced the second-ranked Seminoles in Tallahassee. Peter Boulware’s blocked punt led to a touchdown, and FSU raced to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. Despite Florida’s comeback efforts, the Seminoles clinched a thrilling 24-21 upset win.
2000 – FSU’s Second National Championship: In a defining moment of the 2000 season, Florida State claimed their second national championship by defeating Virginia Tech. They started strong with a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and maintained their grip on the game, securing a memorable victory.
2003 – Rix to Sam: A game of high stakes unfolded in 2003 when Florida faced a 34-31 deficit in the fourth quarter. Seminole QB Chris Rix connected with WR PK Sam for a stunning 52-yard touchdown pass with just 50 seconds remaining, sealing a thrilling 38-34 victory.
2005 – The Miami Muff: In 2005, Florida State gained sweet redemption against Miami, a team that had caused heartbreak in the past. Trailing 10-7, Miami aimed to tie the game with a field goal, but a mishandled snap by holder Brian Monroe prevented the kick, leading to a Florida State victory.
2009 – Bobby Bowden’s Final Year: The 2009 season marked the closing chapter of an era as Coach Bobby Bowden led his final season, concluding with a 7–6 record and a bowl win over his former team, West Virginia.
The Golden Toe (2010): The 2010 season witnessed an historic moment as Dustin Hopkins delivered a game-winning 55-yard field goal against Clemson. This remarkable kick marked the first-ever walk-off, game-winning field goal in the school’s storied history.
2010 – A New Beginning: In 2010, Jimbo Fisher took the helm as head coach, ushering in a new era. Alongside quarterback Christian Ponder, Fisher led the team to a 10–4 record and an appearance in the ACC Championship Game.
Relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida
FSU proudly maintains a unique relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. FSU does not have a mascot but instead uses symbols that honor and respect the Seminole Tribe, which has a historic legacy of never being conquered by the U.S. Government.
The university has worked closely with the Seminole Tribe for over seven decades, ensuring that any activities involving their symbols receive the Tribe’s approval. The Seminole Tribe has publicly expressed its support for FSU, considering the university a part of their family.
FSU has produced several football legends, including:
- Warrick Dunn: Former Atlanta Falcons running back
- Deion Sanders: Former Atlanta Falcons defensive back
- Charlie Ward: Heisman Trophy winner in 1993
- Chris Weinke: Heisman Trophy winner in 2000
Tailgating at Florida State is a cherished tradition. Fans flock to the stadium five hours before gametime, with the parking lots transforming into seas of garnet and gold. Tailgating is an essential part of the Florida State football experience, marked by camaraderie, good food, and spirited celebrations.
People come together, share laughs, and soak up the sense of belonging. While tailgating at FSU is legendary, fans also prioritize enjoying the game day experience and the exciting on-field action.
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Q : When did FSU football start?
A : FSU football dates back to the early 1900s, with the first team fielded in 1900.
Q : How successful is FSU football?
A : FSU ranks among the top college football programs, with a 77% win rate in the past 25 years.
Q : What is FSU’s relationship with the Seminole Tribe?
A : FSU has a unique, respectful relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida and their symbols are approved by the tribe for use.