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HTS 2020: Florida State

The history of FSU football and matchups of old between the Jackets and the Seminoles.

Florida State v Georgia Tech
The last time...
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Seems strange that in the years I’ve been writing this, I haven’t gotten a chance to write one for Free Seafood U yet. Also seems strange that, when you read this, we’ll be hardly a day away from the start of the football season. In fact, I realized I had to write this about fifteen minutes ago while I was cooking lunch. So, in this most hurried and slap-dash of seasons, here is a decidedly not hurried (though the jury’s still out on last minute) column on the history between Georgia Tech and Florida State.

Florida State

Opponent Background:

  • Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (1992 - present)
  • Location: Tallahassee, Florida
  • All-time Record: 557–270–18 (.670)
  • Home Stadium: Doak Campbell Stadium (Capacity: 79,560)
  • National Championships: 3 — 1993, 1999, 2013
  • College Football Playoff Appearances: 1 — 2014
  • New Year’s Six Bowl Games: 23 — (Orange: 10 - 1980, 1981, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2013, 2016 Cotton: 1 - 1992 Rose: 1 - 2015 Peach: 4 - 1968, 1983, 2010, 2015 Sugar: 6 - 1989, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003 Fiesta: 4 - 1971, 1988, 1990, 1999)
  • Conference Championships: 18 — (Dixie: 1948, 1949, 1950 ACC: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • Division Championships: 6 — (2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • 2017 Season Record: 6 - 7 (4 - 4 ACC)

Past Results:

  • Team Head-to-Head Record: 10-14-1 (.420)
  • Recent Meetings:
    2008 - 31-28 Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA)
    2009 - 49-44 Georgia Tech (Tallahassee, FL)
    2012 - 28-27 Florida State (Charlotte, NC - ACC Championship)
    2014 - 38-7 Florida State (Charlotte, NC - ACC Championship)
    2015 - 22-16 Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA)
  • Coach Head-to-Head Record: 0-0-0 (N/A)
  • Tech record against Florida State in this week’s venue: 1-5-0 (.167)

2020 Football Schedule

2020 Football Schedule

Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Attendence
Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Attendence
September 12 3:30 p.m. (ABC) @ Florida State Atlantic Coast 11-14-1 Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL 16-13 W (1 - 0) 17,538
September 19 3:30 p.m. (ABC) UCF American Athletic 3-1-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 21-49 L (1 - 1) 11,000
September 26 12:00 p.m. (RSNs) @ Syracuse Atlantic Coast 3-1-0 Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY 20-37 L (1 - 2) 0
October 9 7:00 p.m. (ESPN) Louisville Atlantic Coast 1-0-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 46-27 W (2 - 2) 11,000
October 17 12:00 p.m. (ABC) Clemson Atlantic Coast 50-32-2 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA [REDACTED] L (2 - 3) 11,000
October 24 4:00 p.m. (ACCN) @ Boston College Atlantic Coast 7-2-0 Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA 27-48 L (2 - 4) 0
October 31 3:30 p.m. (ABC) Notre Dame Atlantic Coast 6-28-1 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
November 14 Pittsburgh Atlantic Coast 5-9-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
November 21 @ Miami (FL) Atlantic Coast 13-12-0 Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
November 28 Duke Atlantic Coast 51-35-1 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
December 5 @ NC State Atlantic Coast 20-10-0 Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
2020 Georgia Tech Football Schedule Arranged by Jake Grant

The Story of the Florida State University

In the run-up to this game, one thing in particular has stuck out to me. And before you ask, no, it is not the Miracle on Techwood Drive. It was a comment that, “Well, Tech should play Florida State more often, they’re the closest team to us in the whole rest of the conference!” Which, while a valiant effort, can be best explained by following the links below:

Door #1

Door #2

Now that we all remember that the Big Purple and Orange Lake Tiger Cult still exists, let’s get down to brass tacks. Because, on the whole, the sentiment holds - Georgia Tech and Florida State should play more often. The desire to be rivals is there. The schedule, though, is less forgiving, nowadays, preventing anything close to an annual matchup. For a while, though, things were different.

In order to properly tell this story, we have to start at the very beginning for Florida State. No, I’m not talking about how FSU was famously an all-girls school, one that was only expanded to coeducation in 1947 when the GIs returning from war overwhelmed the rest of the state’s public higher education system. While 1947 was the Seminoles’ first modern team, they actually fielded a team in the early 1900s that, for longer than I care to admit, I definitely just thought was an unheralded ragtag team of girls barnstorming a man’s game. But nope. See, that 1902-1904 edition of the finest young eleven Tallahassee had to offer was, uninterestingly, a bunch of men. In fact, they made the trip to Piedmont Park to take on Tech in 1903, and were promptly defeated 17-0. After the 1904 season, however, the Florida State Legislature got all creative and decided that three universities was far superior to six, and that white men, white women, and everyone else didn’t really need to go to the same schools, either. So, along with the rest of the men, the Florida State football team was sent packing out of Tallahassee. While some resurfaced at what is now UT-Chattanooga, and others attempted to start their own semipro team, that was all she wrote for Florida State College football, or at least until Ed Williamson resurrected the team for a moribund 0-5-0 1947 season.

After that first year, Williamson was gone and replaced by Don Veller, who immediately rattled off three Dixie Conference championships. Brimming with confidence, the Seminoles left for the wilds of independence, and would see the work of Veller’s five seasons and Tom Nugent’s six start to bear fruit in the 1960s.

In the interim, though, Georgia Tech and Florida State squared off three times in the tenures of those two men. They had the misfortune of signing up for road games in Atlanta during the height of Tech’s golden age of football under Bobby Dodd. The average margin in these three games? 26 points. The 30 point and 34 point editions were both shutouts. Simply put, the Seminoles were no stumbling block to the perfect 1952 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

And the Seminoles would hardly prove to be a stumbling block to Dodd, Bud Carson, or Pepper Rodgers in the rest of the 1970s and 80s. Though Florida State was a program on the rise - they beat their archrival Florida in 1964 and tied Tech in 1962 - they still were dispatched in 1963, 1970, 1971, and 1975. The last win of the bunch was also the biggest, as Tech’s 30-0 shutout of the Seminoles was one of the best wins of the season in one of Rodgers’ better seasons. It would also prove to be Tech’s last win over the Seminoles for over three decades.

At the end of the 1975 season, the same one as that absolute clunker of a Tech loss, Florida State hired former assistant coach Bobby Bowden back from West Virginia to assume the role of head coach. His predecessor, Darrell Mudra, had gone 4-18 over two seasons, so the change was necessary. In the next 37 seasons, Bowden would become just about as symbolic of the program as its garnet and gold color scheme, giant brick fortress of a stadium - it claims to be the largest continuous brick structure in the country - that might be one of the most impressive buildings I’ve ever seen in person, or Osceola and Renegade. In that time, he would lead Florida State through their own golden age, culminating in national championships in 1993 and 1999.

Unfortunately for the Jackets, the Seminoles also became an annual fixture on the schedule when they joined the ACC in 1992.

You’d think Tech would be well-equipped to handle their new powerful opponents, but, well, the backslide of the 1990 national champion Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets from 1990 would continue into the egregiously horrible 1994 season, with Tech being little more than a speedbump on Florida State’s roughshod run through the Atlantic Coast Conference. See, just as Tech had dominated the series in the 1950s and 1960s, Florida State’s margin of victory was often even more commanding in the 1990s at the height of the Bowden Era. They were, after all, the best team of the 1990s, so this is unsurprising. 1992 was the first of twelve straight years of Florida State losses, and even the great Joe Hamilton and George O’Leary-led teams of the late 1990s could do little to match the dominance of the Seminoles. We don’t have to talk about the blowouts that came before (the average margin was a grizzly 38 points after a relatively competitive 1992 matchup), but 1999 and 2000 still saw six and five point losses, respectively. Important to remember, though, is that 1999 Florida State team pantsed Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl on the way to their second national title. Chan Gailey ultimately came the closest to tipping Bowden in those halcyon days of Florida State football, but he, too, came up short, losing 14-13 in 2003 in Tallahassee.

It would be 2008 when Tech finally righted the ship after 33 years. It would take a miracle, one curiously dubbed the “Miracle on North Avenue,” to avenge the 12 straight losses Tech befell at the hands of the Seminoles. But I wasn’t there, and can’t do it justice. In order to do that, I’ll hand you over to the capable hands of one Carter Templeton, who wrote quote the recap of the game as part of a retrospective of the top 10 games of the Paul Johnson era.

You may notice, however, that we still have yet to beat them up to this point in Tallahassee. Again coming in in the clutch, Carter put together another reflective post on a seminal game between the two teams, a game that proved electric. These puns are terrible, please stop me.

Despite being in opposite divisions for some reason, Tech and Florida State still managed to face each other twice more before drawing each others’ name in the regular season schedule rotation.

Here’s where a mini-rant about the necessity of playing nearby teams (NC State and Duke? Florida State and Georgia Tech? Boston College and Pitt? Miami and the furious wrath of the Bermuda Triangle?) would make a lot more sense for the conference and generate a lot more TV eyeballs and “butts in seats” should go. To spare you from that - it could probably make a good offseason post - I’ll drop this proposal in:

Big East Survivors North: Pitt, ‘Cuse, Boston College, and ND

North Carolina: UNC, NC State, Duke, Wake Forest

South of Charlotte: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami

Mid-Atlantic: VPISU, Louisville, Virginia, and (insert like West Virginia or Cincinnati or something here, I don’t super care, but RIP Maryland)

Protect one matchup in each other pod. Three pod games + four from another pod + two protected = nine conference games. Tech would get Duke, VPISU, a northern team, Clemson, FSU, and Miami every year, plus two others. Every team would see each other once every three years, and you’d get a home and away at every team but six of the sixteen in four years of eligibility.

Anyways, we drew Florida State as the “at least they didn’t cheat” team of the ACC Coastal in 2012, a 6-6 regular season Georgia Tech team that probably didn’t deserve to be anywhere close to that game, and one that lost, albeit narrowly, to Jimbo Fisher’s proto-championship team. Tech, in the end, got a waiver to still play a bowl game despite their 6-7 record and, for their efforts, got Lane Kiffin fired on the tarmac after their win, becoming the only 7-7 team in history, to my knowledge. Oddly, when you search results for that, you get a lot of results for the Cumberland Game and old overtime scores. Weird.

Tech missed Florida State in their 2013 national championship year, but did get to face them the following year, this time as the rightful overlord of the Coastal. Tech gave the Seminoles a scare, falling by just two points, but would go on to end the year happily as an 11 win Orange Bowl champion team.

The most recent time Tech and Florida State have met up on the football field is perhaps the most famous to the average football fan, if not the most famous game in Tech football history to said Average Joe. Does it deserve to be? Nah, that should probably be the Cumberland Game (watch that, if you haven’t yet), but it was still a game for the ages. SB Nation’s YouTube outlet, Secret Base, put out a terrific Rewinder episode recounting all the storylines leading up to the game and its famous walk-off ending, and that is well-worth the 12 minutes of your time it would take to watch it. Of course, Carter also reminisced on the game as part of his Top Ten series, and you can find that here.

To close on a personal note, I find it a little weird to finally be seeing Georgia Tech play Florida State in football. Though this will be my fourth football season with From the Rumble Seat and my fifth as a Georgia Tech student, and I’ve seen the two face off in everything from baseball to swimming to tennis - heck, we even go there every year with Swim Club, the most formative sporting event in my Tech experience has not yet been replicated. Were it not for me finally badgering my friends to let me turn on college football on a Saturday evening (“But we never watch, and Florida State is good, so it’ll be a good game, guys!”) rather than the usual oddball content we partook, I probably wouldn’t have applied to Tech, let alone come here. I went from just wanting to watch some sports (and frankly, to be embarrassingly honest, being a Northerner not realizing the Georgia Tech from TV sports and the Georgia Institute of Technology from my emails and mailbox were the same thing because one was white and gold and the other was black and yellow and the names were never really interchanged) to being convinced (“It’s the same place! They have sports and they’re good at school!”) enough to apply despite already being into the school I wanted to go to.

That’s not really a history of the matchup, but it is a little history of me.

So on this day, hopefully a beautiful one in Tallahassee, some things come full circle, both for the team and its long-entwined but rarer-played opponent, on a personal level, and in what it means in the Big Picture in this turbulent year. Though I don’t think I’ll be at full circle until I’m once more sitting in the sun at the Rusty C picking up from the Season that Never Was, when toe meets leather tomorrow, we’ll be that much closer.

We’ll be back on a field that matters, celebrating fine young men that have proven to us time and time again, on the field and off, that they are so worth celebrating, sharing a common rooting interest for the Institute we love.

Ooh - I just heard the whistle blow in the distance.

I really can’t think of much better.

Tomorrow, Tech travels to Tallahassee to play Florida State. Tune in to watch on ABC, or it can be heard over the airwaves in the usual suspects, 680 AM / 93.7 FM and the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Radio Network. With the appearance of the historical matchup preview, that means it’s noon on Friday, and that concludes From the Rumble Seat’s regularly scheduled pregame content. Tune in tomorrow starting at 6:00 AM for How to Watch continuing through the gameday thread and the postgame recap. Go Jackets!