As FSU football prepares for the bye week and a showdown with a top five Clemson team afterward, we look at the top five post bye week wins since 1991.
For fans of FSU football, this coming weekend is the one Saturday of the year that is dreaded each season: it’s the weekend where we don’t have the Seminoles to watch and cheer for. At the same time, the bye week is actually something that has been quite beneficial of late.
Over the last 25 seasons entering the 2016 campaign, the Seminoles have complied a record of 23-10 in the games that follow a bye week – including wins in seven of the last nine games following a week off.
Over that span, there have been wins following the week off over rivals Miami and Florida…and losses following the week off to rivals Miami and Florida. There has been ACC Championships won and games against national powers like Michigan, Notre Dame and Alabama.
Here’s a look at the five best post bye week games for FSU football over the last 25 seasons.
Nov 8, 2012; Blacksburg, VA, USA; A Florida State Seminoles helmet on the field before the game at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
No. 5 – Florida State 30 North Carolina 27 (2009)
It wasn’t a game that was picked because both teams were fighting for the ACC crown or a chance at a major bowl. Truth be told, the Seminoles were staring down the barrel of the first losing season since 1976 when they came into Chapel Hill with a 2-4 record and very few hopes of pulling off the upset.
With six minutes to go in the third quarter, FSU was down 24-6 and looking like they were about to take a fifth loss on the season. What followed was one of the best comebacks in program history, outscoring the Tar Heels 24-3 to get the win and have some momentum before finishing the year (and Bobby Bowden’s career) with a win in the Gator Bowl.
Apr 12, 2014; Tallahassee, FL, USA; The Florida State Seminoles logo before the start of the spring game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
No. 4 – Florida State 47 Miami 0 (1997)
For roughly a decade and a half from the early 1980’s until the mid 1990’s, there was no better rivalry in college football than the ‘Noles and the ‘Canes. What took place in 1997 set the series back for years – while FSU continued their winning ways against their South Florida rivals.
The Seminoles had a 23-0 lead at the half and continued to roll the rest of the way, holding the Hurricanes to a total of 131 yards of offense in the game – even more impressive since Miami had -33 rushing yards when it was all said and done.
It was the perfect storyline for college football: the old guard vs. the new school…the brash, cocky Florida boys against the Midwest tradition. It was Heisman candidates and top five teams…and it was pretty much over from the first series of the game.
When Terrell Buckley stepped in front of eventual Heisman winner Desmond Howard for the pick six, FSU football showed they weren’t going to be afraid. The Seminoles never relinquished the lead and got one of the biggest road wins of the season – a win that cemented their No. 1 ranking for much of the year.
If you ever want to make a Gators fan mad, you can do one of two things: either ask them what 2+2 equals and watch them struggle that that…or bring up this game that they still believe the Seminoles “stole” from them over a decade ago.
The problem with that logic is that Florida had the lead with under a minute to go. If Guss Scott – who is probably managing a Checkers in Jacksonville now – had been more worried about playing defense than jawing, he wouldn’t have watched P.K. Sam haul in a miraculous 52-yard-pass from Chris Rix to seal what would be just the third win in Gainesville over a two decade period for the ‘Noles.
Oct 19, 2013; Clemson, SC, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Rashad Greene (80) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
No. 1 – Florida State 51 Clemson 14 (2013)
This wasn’t the way this game was supposed to go down: the Seminoles, with a redshirt freshman quarterback named Jameis were going to go into “Death Valley” and get sent home with their first loss of the season against Clemson’s more seasoned quarterback, Tajh Boyd.
But a funny thing happen on the way to the funeral…
That freshman named Jameis threw his first of three touchdowns just a minute in the half into the game – part of a four overall touchdown day with 444 yards passing. The outcome was never in doubt after the ‘Noles took a 27-7 halftime lead, leaving many in orange to head for the exits early.
The victory showed college football fans that the ‘Noles were for real – something they kept proving en route to the national title.