The main focus had nothing to do with FSU’s first bowl win in 6 years, but rather it also celebrates the Noles’ claim of being “State Champions.”
The reactions on social media have been about as expected:
Can you say...participation trophy? LOL FSU...you're better than that.— LCW (@VolinAZ) April 26, 2023
Is the claim of being a “state champion” ultimately meaningless?
But that is what makes college football great.
We are in a period of unparalleled change in college football. By the end of the decade, there is a good chance the SEC and Big 10 will separate themselves from the rest of the NCAA. Conference realignment has killed scores of annual matchups that fans considered sacrosanct. NIL and the portal have made it so that teams are at times being rebuilt on a yearly basis. In times like these, the remaining traditions and rivalries in college sports become even more important.
Each fall various schools play for rivalry trophies like a pig, Paul Bunyan, a golden egg, and a bell. Other schools offer players tokens after the season for rivalry victories such as Ohio State’s gold pants for beating Michigan.
Even for a program like Florida State with multiple national championships, Heisman winners, bowl wins, etc successful seasons begin and end with beating your rivals. 2022 was the first time in six years and only the 16th time in 76 seasons that FSU has swept Miami and Florida.
During the Dynasty run between 1987 and 2000 FSU played in five national championship games. How many times did they sweep the Gators and Hurricanes? Only five. Those two programs are the reason college football pundits say “Nick Saban is the GOAT” and not “Saban has had a good run but he can’t hold a candle to Bobby Bowden.”
Were these Hurricanes led by Jimmy Johnson & Vinny Testaverde? No. It wasn’t Steve Spurrier on the Florida sideline blowing another big game in Doak Campbell Stadium. But that doesn’t matter. There is a plaque in the Sod Cemetery for beating the 2013 Florida team that went 4-8 and lost to Georgia Southern despite GSU not completing a single pass. Hurricane flags fly over the practice fields in Tallahassee during Miami week whether the Canes are in national championship contention or winless. Why? Beating the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes is the foundation for success at Florida State.
A state championship is always worth celebrating.