Florida State Football: Does Florida State Belong in the SEC?
If Florida State’s president, Dr. Eric Barron, signs off any form of conference realignment, it should be FSU’s transition into the Southeastern Conference.
The recent ACC additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse prove that the ACC is a basketball-centric conference run by the basketball powerhouses on Tobacco Road, namely North Carolina and Duke. This means that FSU is no longer a good fit for the conference, as it prides itself on a strong football tradition.
College football’s BCS is soon going to convert into a mini-playoff system, similar to how the NFL works.
With the ACC’s football reputation being diluted with basketball schools that put very few resources into their football programs, there is a chance that an undefeated or strong one-loss FSU could be overlooked when the BCS brass pick what teams get to compete in the college playoffs.
This would be devastating for the university and its fan base.
Most fans of college football have heard talk of how the University of Florida would try to block FSU’s entry into the SEC—it would need two other SEC schools to vote to block FSU, but this projected move by the University of Florida is mythical in nature.
There are rumors of a “gentlemen’s agreement” among SEC schools; one that suggests that no state already represented in the conference can add another team from that same state, but it’s well known that representatives from the SEC and from FSU were in negotiations last year about adding FSU to the conference.
There is an argument suggesting that adding the Seminoles to the conference would hurt Florida on the recruiting trail, but this is a minor issue. Conference affiliation doesn’t seem to have any effect on recruiting.
Here are a few reasons why FSU is a perfect fit for the conference.
Florida State University’s main campus is located in Tallahassee, Florida, which happens to be in the middle of the Southeast. Tallahassee is the capital of Florida and always has plenty of government-related business in full swing, but it also happens to be a great Southern football town.
The city is a great scene for passionate fans of college football, and it would be a quick trip for almost every fan base in the SEC.
In turn, cities hosting the Seminole football team would see a charged-up and loyal FSU fan base bring a lot of money into their local economies, something that isn’t easy for FSU fans to do when their team is playing up in Boston, Massachusetts or College Park, Maryland.
FSU fans always travel well during bowl season, because they always have a good game to attend, which is not always the case in ACC play.
The SEC prides itself on its domination of college football.
It has won the last six national championships, dominated other conferences, and showcased to the country the standard by which success will be determined.
This standard of excellence begins on the recruiting trail, and there’s probably no university in the last twenty-five years that has recruited as well as Florida State.
From the late 1980s through the early 2000s, there was not a single team in the country that in any way measured up to what the Seminoles of Florida State were producing—in All-Americans, national titles, national title appearances, 1st round NFL draft picks, Heisman winners and many other categories.
Jimbo Fisher has quickly transformed FSU back into the recruiting giant it once was, and he is keeping attrition rates, something that haunted Bobby Bowden during the Lost Decade, at a manageable level. He’s getting the talent—and putting it on the field.
If elite recruiting and quality coaching is what leads to championship, it is only a matter of time, maybe months, before Jimbo Fisher leads his Seminoles to the title game.
The SEC, if it wants to strengthen its reputation as college football’s show pony, should take note of what Fisher is doing at Florida State—which closely resembles what Saban has done at Alabama, both on offense and on defense.
Fisher is clearly a recruiting savant, and he is still a young man. The SEC would appreciate that lethal combination.
The SEC certainly prides itself on tradition.
In an ESPN poll from 2008, the Florida State football program was rated as the ninth-greatest dynasty in the history of college football. If not for the Miami Hurricanes, Bowden would possibly have as many rings as Paul “Bear” Bryan, the legendary Alabama head coach.
Even though Florida State has struggled in the ACC as of late, if one looks at what caused the struggles—coaching problems, poor evaluation of talent, attrition problems, and inexcusable nepotism—it’s really not a stretch to imagine that Florida State’s football team will be ruling that conference again very soon, considering that all those problems have been eliminated.
FSU completely dominated the ACC when it first entered.
From 1987 to 2000, Florida State had a record of 152-19-1. 11 of the 19 losses during that period were decided by seven points of less.
I’m not sure any team in college football history has had a run of domination like that. And many of those losses came against the Miami Hurricanes, when they were at their peak. (These Miami teams won five national championships during that span.)
Without question, FSU has great tradition, and it’s almost a shame that SEC schools with great traditions do not get to clash with Florida State like Florida does every year.
The scene at the UF vs. FSU games is always one of the most electric in the country, even in a down year, and I suspect this would be the same if it were FSU vs. Ole Miss or FSU vs. Tennessee.
If Florida State gets back to dominating like it once did—and I think many see Fisher as very capable of making this happen—I don’t think there is any question that FSU would help strengthen the conference and increase its stranglehold on college football.
And it just makes sense—geographically, for the conference and for FSU.
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