There was a heavy dose of irony for the shorthanded Florida State Seminoles as they prepared for the Music City Bowl against the Kentucky Wildcats.
After all, the mass suspension of FSU players before the game stemmed from cheating in an online music appreciation course.
In any event, the Noles were left singing the blues as they headed to Nashville with first-team players missing on both offense and defense. Like so many aspiring singers, writers, and musicians, they'd have to face the music when they arrived.
The first half was marked by momentum changes and questionable officiating. One call saw an apparent TD by FSU wide receiver Greg Carr called back on offensive pass interference.
The FSU defense performed about as well as could have been expected, and made some big plays when they were needed. CB Tony Carter's interception return for a TD tied the game in the second quarter.
FSU was able to keep points off the board when the Wildcats missed a field goal to end the first half, leaving the halftime score 14-14.
Bobby Bowden summarized the sentiments of many FSU fans regarding the penalty calls in his halftime interview, when he told ESPN analyst Jack Arute, "It irritates the crap out of me."
It was all Blue in the third quarter, as the Wildcats scored twice to take the lead 28-14. It was obvious at that point that the depleted FSU defense was getting tired—and the fat lady was warming up her vocal cords.
When Kentucky scored a TD with under six minutes left in the game to go up 35-21, only the most rabid fans thought the Noles still had a shot.
However, a blocked Kentucky field goal and a subsequent FSU TD gave fans hope, as the Noles pulled to within seven with a little over two minutes to go.
When an onside kick was recovered by Kentucky, it looked over. But then it looked as if the Noles still had a shot when a fumble by the Wildcats bounced to safety Michael Ray Garvin...until it was snatched out of his hands by the Cats.
FSU was able to get the ball back with a minute left and drive down the field, but a Hail Mary in the end zone was batted away to end the game.
All told, the Noles came close but were unable to overcome the adversity. The fat lady finally sang Elvis Presley's song "Too Much."
There was too much going against the Noles going into the Music City Bowl—and in the end it was all academic.