Oklahoma Rises Up To #2 In New AP Poll

Written by AP at ESPN.com

Oklahoma moved up to No. 2 in the Associated Press college football poll behind Alabama after the Sooners scored the most impressive victory of Week 2.

Three of the top six teams from last week defeated other ranked teams on Saturday, creating an early shake-up near the top of the AP Top 25. The Sooners jumped three spots after winning 31-16 at Ohio State. The last time the Sooners were this close to being No. 1 was in 2011.

The Buckeyes slipped from No. 2 to eighth.

Clemson held its spot at No. 3 after beating Auburn, and Southern California moved up two places to sixth following a victory against Stanford. Penn State is No. 5 after beating Pitt.

The Crimson Tide received 59 first-place votes. Oklahoma has two and Clemson one.

DOWN

The Buckeyes have their lowest ranking since November 2014. Ohio State that hopes this season takes a similar path.

In 2014, the Buckeyes lost at home to Virginia Tech and fell from No. 8 to No. 22 in the rankings. The Buckeyes did not lose again and won the national championship in Urban Meyer’s third season as coach in Columbus.

The Buckeyes did extend their streak of 41 polls ranked in the top 10, which dates back to Nov. 9, 2014.

OUT

Notre Dame’s stay in the Top 25 lasted one week. The Fighting Irish lost 20-19 at home to Georgia, which moved up two spots to No. 13. The Irish were the only team to fall out of the rankings.

IN

UCLA followed up its remarkable comeback victory in Week 1 against Texas A&M with a more routine blowout of Hawai’i and landed at No. 25 in the latest rankings. The Bruins moved into the rankings for the first time since starting 2016 at No. 16.

The Bruins stumbled to a four-win season last year, but quarterback Josh Rosen and the offense seem to be blossoming under new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.

UPCOMING RANKED VS. RANKED

No. 3 Clemson at No. 14 Louisville: Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals nearly beat the eventual national champions in Death Valley last season. Can the Tigers’ ferocious defensive front slow down the Heisman Trophy winner?

No. 23 Tennessee at No. 24 Florida: Assuming this game is played after Hurricane Irma passes through Florida, both the Vols and Gators will come in with plenty of questions to answer.

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Can FSU Survive Without Deondre Francois?

Written by Heather Dinich at ESPN.com

The talk of Florida State and the College Football Playoff has come to a screeching halt.

Without injured starting quarterback Deondre Francois, and following a 24-7 season-opening loss to No. 1 Alabama, it would be impressive just to see the Noles beat rival Miami in two weeks. The daunting task of running the table with a freshman backup quarterback is a Cinderella story to be told only in January, and FSU needs to simply survive September.

The 13 members of the selection committee don’t meet for the first time this season until Oct. 30, and the first of six official rankings isn’t revealed until Oct. 31. Florida State will face six conference opponents, including No. 18 Miami and No. 16 Louisville, before then. The Noles also travel to No. 5 Clemson on Nov. 11, and end the regular season against rival Florida.

It was one of the toughest schedules in the country, tailor-made to impress the selection committee — or a potential minefield for a rookie quarterback.

The standard line from the CFP is that every committee member is aware of injuries to key players and takes that into account when evaluating teams, but Florida State didn’t even look like a top four team with Francois in the lineup.

Special teams were disastrous, with a blocked punt, a blocked field goal and a fumble recovery on a kickoff return. Francois threw two interceptions and FSU only had 65 yards in the second half.

Once again, Florida State’s offensive line offered little protection, and while Alabama is in a league of its own, the Seminoles will continue to be challenged up front by veteran defensive lines such as NC State and Miami. Quarterback James Blackman, who took over for Francois against Alabama and appears to be the likely starter, has to grow up in a hurry. FSU plays Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday, a team that finished 4-8 last year and opened the season with a 37-29 road loss to Memphis.

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ACC Teams Besides Clemson Who Can Make The CFB Playoff

Written by Eric Single at SI.com

The College Football Playoff strives in many ways to replicate college basketball’s postseason drama, but in one important way, it will never be March Madness. When conference hoops tournaments come around every spring, 300-plus teams still have a chance to play for the title. College football doesn’t have the capacity for that optimism—at least one Power 5 conference champion is left on the outside looking in every year, and in 2016 Western Michigan learned that for many teams even an undefeated regular season is no guarantee of a shot at a national championship.

There are 130 Football Bowl Subdivision programs, but the number of teams with any conceivable chance of making football’s final four is nowhere near triple digits. This week, SI.com will go conference-by-conference in search of that number, highlighting the teams in each league that can harbor legitimate playoff aspirations. Up first: the ACC.

Atlantic Coast Conference

2016 champion: Clemson
Teams in committee’s final CFP rankings: Five
Teams with a playoff shot in 2017: Six

Clemson: The defending national champions get one game (vs. Kent State) to get their new quarterback (all signs point to junior Kelly Bryant) up to speed before September turns ugly: Auburn, at Louisville, a brief respite hosting Boston College, then at Virginia Tech. Luckily, the 2017 defense should be even better than the unit that last year gave Deshaun Watson some time to settle in after a shaky start.

You’ve likely heard about the havoc the loaded defensive line is expected to wreak, but that hype has overshadowed two invaluable veteran playmakers up the middle behind them: middle linebacker Kendall Joseph, the team’s leading returning tackler, and free safety Van Smith, the only returnee with multiple interceptions a year ago. The Nov. 11 visit from Florida State could remain a de facto ACC title game even if the Tigers stumble in one of those early tests.

Florida State: Aside from that trip to Clemson, the Seminoles have a manageable slate away from Doak Campbell Stadium after the neutral-site season opener against Alabama. But plenty of trouble comes through Tallahassee, especially in the first two months of the season: Miami and NC State have the defensive line talent to send the Seminoles out of September with two losses, and in mid-October Lamar Jackson and Louisville will arrive looking to replicate last year’s 43-point beatdown. Florida State has a lot of receiving production to replace, but Jimbo Fisher will probably take that problem over the offensive line injuries and inconsistencies that ran quarterback Deondre Francois ragged at times last year. Junior center Alec Eberle & Co. have pledged to give Francois time to breathe in year two as the starter, but you can’t build a clean pocket out of pledges.

Away from the line of scrimmage, the Seminoles have a trendy Heisman sleeper in safety Derwin James, one of the best freshmen in the country in five-star running back Cam Akers and blue-chip talent everywhere else on the field—plenty of weaponry to hold up their preseason top-four ranking.

Louisville: If Lamar Jackson is protected well enough to stay around the Heisman conversation, Louisville will stay around the playoff conversation. Knowing what Jackson does to a defense doesn’t necessarily give you a better chance to stop it; you just need athletes capable of running him down, like LSU and Houston had late last year. The Cardinals appear ready to once again score a truckload of points and challenge their opponents to keep up, and last year’s late-season fade that ended on a three-game losing streak will be fresh in everyone’s mind if they enter November ranked in the top 10 again.

Jaire Alexander emerged as a budding star in a shutdown cornerback role last year, and he’s one of the few non-seniors on the projected first-team defense. If Jackson’s show-stopping 2016 forced Louisville into playoff contention a year ahead of schedule, both sides of the ball have the horses to finish as strong as they start this time around.

NC State: Sure, we’ve jumped down a few pegs in terms of preseason expectations, but NC State played too many good teams tough in 2016 not to like its chances to sneak up on the rest of the Atlantic Division—think of what Penn State did to the Big Ten East a season ago as a best-case scenario. The Wolfpack were obedient extras in Jackson’s Heisman highlight reel during a blowout loss to Louisville, but they had Clemson and Florida State dead to rights in that same month span and couldn’t finish the job either time. A sweep of those three divisional opponents, however improbable, would force the committee’s hand. The Pack’s star-studded defensive line would be the equalizer in that scenario: Ends Bradley Chubb, Kentavius Street and Darian Roseboro combined for 23 sacks between them last year, and seniors B.J. Hill and Justin Jones clog the middle.

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An In-Depth Look at #1 FSU

Written by Paul Myerberg at USAToday.com

No. 1 Florida State. The Seminoles’ goals are simple: wrestle the Atlantic Coast Conference back from Clemson, reach the College Football Playoff and capture the second national championship of the Jimbo Fisher era.

Why No. 1?

1. The quick rebuild is done. Florida State never truly rebuilds, but the Seminoles do have the odd season where they retool if that makes sense. Take 2016, for instance. Was this a retooling season? Yeah, pretty much. But the final standings might belie that sentiment: FSU went 10-3, with two of those losses coming by a combined five points, and finished the year inside the top 10 of the Amway Coaches Poll. Not too bad.

So the thought process is pretty simple. If a younger, somewhat unproven, occasionally inconsistent FSU team can reach those heights, what can the more prepared and battle-tested Seminoles achieve in 2017?

2. Francois. More often than not last fall, Deondre Francois didn’t resemble a redshirt freshman — with exceptions coming during down moments against Louisville and Clemson, most notably, and again in wins against Florida and Michigan. As he enters his second year under center, look for Francois to continue his solid work limiting turnovers, increase his accuracy on the makeable throws in Fisher’s playbook, develop a stronger sense of the pass rush and grow into the leader this offense needs at the position.

Is he a Heisman Trophy contender? Without question. Francois will have the numbers and his team the success to be a national-award candidate.

3. The defense. It wasn’t a banner 2016 for the FSU defense, which had an absolutely horrid stretch in September and October before rebounding — against some inept offenses — in the final four games of the year. Expect a massive improvement from this side of the ball in 2017. There is no shortage of depth across the board.

The defensive line is loaded. Linebacker play will undoubtedly be improved. The secondary will be one of the best in the country; back from injury, safety Derwin James is a Heisman contender. This side of the ball will go from a concern to an absolute strength. It’s a defense seemingly capable of carrying FSU to the title.

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The Rejection Of Myron Rolle: How A Rhodes Scholar Was Shunned By The NFL

Written by Aaron Gordon at SB Nation.com

In a small study room in the student lounge of the Florida State University College of Medicine, Myron Rolle slumps in his chair behind a school-issued laptop, relaxing between classes. His athletic frame and broad shoulders extend beyond the screen in an aggressive annexation of airspace, creating a commanding presence. He cannot be ignored.

It has often been this way. When Rolle was 3 years old, he moved with his parents and four brothers from the Bahamas to Galloway Township, N.J. His father worked for Citibank and Myron grew up in a solidly middle-class home in a family devoted to achievement, education and love. As a promising student and athlete, Rolle accepted a scholarship to attend The Hun School of Princeton, a prestigious preparatory school, where he stood out on several levels. “There were maybe seven or eight black kids in the whole school, and all of us were athletes,” he tells me. His dad would pick him up from school in a Ford Taurus while the other students would climb into their parents’ Bentleys. On weekends, Rolle would be invited to yacht parties or to sit in floor seats at Knicks games. “Honestly, that situation was a little weird, adjusting to kids who had a lot of money. I never really felt like I was around people who are like me.”

Nevertheless, Rolle thrived at Hun. He had a 4.0 GPA and accumulated 21 Advanced Placement credits toward his college education. He played the saxophone and starred in the school’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” And in 2005, at the peak of college recruitment season, he received scholarship offers almost daily, culminating in an astonishing 83 invitations to play Division I football.

Unlike many top recruits, Rolle didn’t choose his college based on which coach told him he’d be a first-round pick or other frivolities. Since he was a boy, he had always been fascinated with the nervous system, particularly the brain, awed by its power. Myron had already decided that after football he wanted to become a neurosurgeon and had to put himself in position to excel both academically and athletically. “I wanted to look for a school that I enjoyed watching [play football] first. But I wanted the school to accept all my AP credits. Also, do they have a medical school on campus?” When Rolle met Garrett Johnson, a Florida State University alum, champion shot putter and Rhodes Scholar, he found a school that demonstrated it had the capacity to allow him to do both. He graduated a semester early from Hun and started at Florida State in January of 2006.

During workouts the next summer for the Seminole football team, Rolle didn’t fit in. Many of his teammates came from difficult backgrounds, where their families had to choose between buying food and keeping the lights on. Now, Rolle had to adjust from having teammates with yachts to those who as kids regularly ate bread and mayonnaise for lunch. Even while at FSU, some players sent portions of their scholarship money home to help support their families. Since the dining plan covered only a certain number of meals, sometimes players were left with not enough to eat at the end of the week. Looking back, Rolle realizes he had no idea how to conduct himself around them, tucking his shirt, wearing glasses and using, as he puts it, “proper speech.”

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Brutally Honest Takes From Seth Davis About College Basketball’s Elite

Written by Seth Davis at SI.com

You can hear it, can’t you? That drumbeat. Those footsteps. Leather hitting hardwood. Sneakers squeaking. Nets swishing. The great battle is finally approaching.

The NCAA tournament starts in 22 days.

When you’re preparing for an epic struggle, you need all the intelligence you can get. Therefore, your inveterate Hoop Thinker has once again gone behind enemy lines to learn the straight truth about the country’s top teams. What you are about to read is raw, unvarnished and insightful. Come strong or don’t come at all.

You know the drill. I started with three of the top leagues—the ACC, the Big 12 and the Big Ten—and spoke with three coaches from each league, including head coaches and assistants. In exchange for their anonymity, I asked them to provide their assessments of the top teams in their respective leagues. If you find that these reports are overly negative, that is my doing, not theirs. We already know these teams are good. I wanted to know their vulnerabilities, because that info can mean the difference between a second-round exit and a trip to the Final Four.

I will provide my second installment next week focusing on the remaining two power conferences as well as other top teams from around the country.

Herewith, Part I of my Enemy Lines report:

ACC

Duke: “I don’t think they’re ready to make a run to the Final Four. They don’t have the point guard, a true leader they’ve always had in the past. They’re an average defensive team right now, which happens anytime you’re playing a lot of young guys. I think [junior guard Grayson] Allen is a nice kid. Like most kids, he has been working through some things. He is really right-handed. He’s a dynamic straight-line driver and good athlete, but I’m not sure how easy the game comes to him. He’s a little bit stiff. If you can send him left, make him make multiple moves, it’s better. There’s no great way to guard [sophomore guard Luke] Kennard. You want [freshman forward Jayson] Tatum shooting jump shots. He’s so athletic in the open court. [Senior guard] Matt Jones’s leadership is vital. It’s amazing Coach K has the luxury of taking a McDonald’s All-American kid like [freshman forward] Marques Bolden and play him six or seven minutes a game. You want to put those young big guys in ball screen situations defensively. At the beginning of the year, Coach K didn’t have to worry about playing the freshmen because they were hurt. When those guys got healthy, it screwed ‘em up a little bit.”

Florida State: “They’re so spread out on defense that if you can take care of the ball, then you can get dribble penetration and get near the rim. [Freshman forward Jonathan] Isaac is a great off-the-ball defender, but he doesn’t give you a lot of resistance. They’re not a great defensive rebounding team because they jump to block shots. And they foul a lot because they’re extended. Guarding Isaac is more difficult than guarding [sophomore guard Dwayne] Bacon because he’s so efficient. Bacon is more of a volume guy. He’s the No. 1 guy in our league in percentage of his team’s shots. [Editor’s note: Bacon is now No. 3.] You can load up on him knowing it’s going to go up. Their overall weakness is outside shooting. If you can slow down the game and take care of the ball like Pitt did, then you can go against their set defense. [Sophomore guard] Terance Mann is a huge key because he gives them a fourth guy on the perimeter who can make a play. They have tremendous size and rim protection, but they don’t play much help defense. They rely on individuals to stop their man. Georgia Tech and Notre Dame carved them up with backdoors and a lot of cutting.”

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Which NCAAF Teams Will Use Bowl Wins To Start Next Season

Written by Chris Low at ESPN.com

To some degree, we’re all probably guilty of putting too much stock into bowl results and how a team finishes a season when trying to predict how a team will fare that next season.

Only two teams — Alabama and Ohio State — have finished in the top 10 of the final Associated Press poll each of the past three seasons. And in the past two seasons, only four teams have finished in the top 10 both years. Clemson and Oklahoma are the other two in that group.

It’s not easy to sustain success at the highest level in college football, and we’ve all been fooled when it comes to picking a team that’s going to carry momentum from one season to the next. That’s because every season stands on its own. We don’t have a crystal ball on injuries, player suspensions, player development, team chemistry, leadership and what a schedule looks like come October.

So with all this in mind, I’m going to buy three teams for 2017 that looked good during the 2016 bowl season, and I’m going to sell three teams for 2017 that were equally impressive during the 2016 bowl season.

If I’m wrong, I’m sure I won’t hear from any of you.

BUYING

Florida State

Maybe it really is an ACC world now in college football. With Clemson basking in the glow of its 2016 national championship, Florida State has all of the components to make it a repeat for the ACC in 2017. The Seminoles won their last five games and seven of their last eight, including a 33-32 win over Michigan in the Orange Bowl, to cap the 2016 season. The best part for FSU fans is that Jimbo Fisher has told some close to him that he thinks his next two teams could be among his most talented.

The Seminoles return Deondre Francois at quarterback, and look for him to emerge as one of the top quarterbacks in the country. He passed for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman, and the Seminoles love their young receiving talent. Dalvin Cook is gone, but Jacques Patrick gets his chance to be the feature back along with prized signee Cam Akers, who enrolled early, and rising sophomore Amir Rasul, who’s an absolute blur. On defense, the Seminoles have to replace DeMarcus Walker’s production at end (16 sacks), butDerrick Nnadi is returning for his senior season and will pair with Demarcus Christmas to give the Seminoles one of the most imposing tackle tandems in the country. Safety Derwin James was one of the best players in the nation until he injured his knee in the second week, and rising junior cornerback Tarvarus McFadden is back after being a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. Alabama and Florida State square off in Atlanta on Sept. 2 to kick off the 2017 season. Anybody taking bets on a rematch in the College Football Playoff?

Oklahoma State
For all the talk about Mike Gundy’s mullet, the guy can flat-out coach. He has built a perennial top-20 program in Stillwater without being a fixture in the top 20 of the recruiting rankings. The Cowboys won eight of their last nine games in 2016 and closed out the season with a 38-8 rout of Colorado in the Valero Alamo Bowl. It was their third 10-win season in the past four years. They’re poised for a run at the Big 12 championship next season with one of the most productive QB-WR combos in the country returning, and both will be seniors. Quarterback Mason Rudolph passed for 4,091 yards and 28 touchdowns last season and only four interceptions. Receiver James Washington had 71 catches, averaged 19.4 yards per catch and caught 10 touchdown passes. There won’t be many receiving corps in college football better than what the Cowboys can put on the field next season, and running back Justice Hill also gives them a presence in the running game after rushing for more than 1,000 yards last season as a freshman and earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors.

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When did the ACC become a football conference?

Written by InhaleSports Contributor Chateau Mangaroo

After Monday’s come from behind win against SEC powerhouse Alabama, the national champion Clemson Tigers have proven the ACC deserves to be called a football conference.

With an 8-3 bowl record prior to the championship game, the ACC’s success was the biggest surprise for the 2016-2017 bowl season. Not only did the conference have a repeat contender for the national title, they beat the Big 12 and the SEC, who had bowl records of 4-2 and 6-6 respectively. This is a surprising shift since the ACC is really known for its basketball juggernauts (Tobacco Road rings a bell) and not its football programs.

SB Nation’s Bill Connelly used his S&P+ Ratings scheme to highlight the ACC’s strength for this year. In fact, the ratings were so close between the ACC and SEC, Connelly said, “In this way, bowl season is actually important. This year, it could actually determine superiority between these two nearly tied conferences.”

Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel brought up one interesting point for the ACC’s shift in football power: the coaching staff. While the SEC has seen a decrease in quality coaches, the ACC has seen the exact opposite. In his January 2017 article. Mandel gave well deserved accolades to Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher. With good reason, he also mentioned how Mark Richt, a former Florida State offensive coordinator and University of Georgia coach, turned around the University of Miami’s program. He didn’t forget to give kudos to Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente, Louisville’s Bobby Petrino and North Carolina’s Larry Fedora for turning around those programs. Speaking of UNC, who could forget that final kick which gave the Tar Heels a hard fought victory over the Noles last October?

Many thought ACC football was a joke because it lacked strength of schedule and a conference play-off system. But in 1991, the ACC changed the game when Florida State joined, who proceeded to dominated the ACC and the national rankings for years. During the early 90s, conference opponents like NCAA champions Clemson, were practice games for the Seminoles.

Then a funny thing happened: In 1995, a Tiki and Ronde Barber led University of Virginia squad handed the Noles their first conference loss in years. Not long after, Tommy Bowden, former FSU coach Bobby Bowden’s son and former Clemson coach, led the Tigers to a victory or two over the Seminoles and other teams like Wake Forest, NC State, and UNC followed suit.

In Braden Gall’s 2014 article, Gall gave an in-depth look at the ACC from its inception in 1953 to its current make-up. Gall noted in 2004, the ACC added University of Miami and Virginia Tech, two teams who had played on the national title stage, to its lineup. He also said when the conference added Boston College in 2005, it was able to split into divisions and host a title game. In 2013, the conference added the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Syracuse, adding more depth to the conference. In 2014, Maryland left the ACC in for the Big 10 (like we wanted them anyway) and was replaced by the University of Louisville. Since leaving the ACC, Maryland has gone 16-20 over three seasons, while Louisville has had a Heisman winner and gone 26-12. Adding these competitive teams and a conference play-off system have given legitimacy to ACC football. 

So while everyone is contemplating if Alabama is going to beat Florida State in the 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff classic, they should heed the words of former FSU defensive back Byron Capers, “Don’t talk crap about the ACC.”

Florida State Seminoles Smelling like Oranges after a Victory over Michigan


Written by InhaleSports Contributor Chateau Mangaroo 

After bowl losses the previous two years, Jimbo Fisher and his Seminoles won the 2016 Orange Bowl in dramatic fashion. Florida State had many shining stars on its team Thursday night but junior running back Dalvin Cook’s impressive performance boosted the Seminoles to its fifth Orange Bowl win.

With 20 rushes for 145 total yards and a touchdown, Cook was the Orange Bowl MVP. His talent was so apparent even Jim Harbaugh, the Wolverine’s head coach, made note of it at the event’s kickoff press conference.

Aside from Orange Bowl MVP, Cook made a few more notable accomplishments during the game. By the fourth quarter, his 4,463 total rush yards not only made him Florida State’s all-time leading rusher but second all-time leading rusher in the ACC. Since the game, he has declared for the NFL draft, and therefore will not surpass North Carolina State’s Ted Brown and his 4,602 rushing yards. Had Cook stayed for his senior season, he would’ve most likely become the ACC’s lead rusher.

Though Cook’s performance was definitely the highlight of the game, Deondre Francois, the Seminoles’ redshirt freshman quarterback and ACC Rookie of the Year along with Nyqwan Murray, a sophomore wide receiver for the Noles, made some magic of their own. In the first quarter, Francois threw a 92-yard pass to Murray for a touchdown. It was the longest touchdown pass in the Orange Bowl’s 80-plus year storied history.

Florida State controlled the first two quarters of the game leading the Wolverines 20-6 at the half. Michigan missed several opportunities to score with its offense only extending their drives two out of nine times on third down. Additionally, the absence of Jabrill Peppers, Michigan linebacker and defensive back, running back and all around best player, did not help matters.

But after the half, the game shifted; Michigan scored late in the third and cut the Noles lead to five before the start of the fourth quarter. The game went from a Florida State dominated first half to a tit for tat nail biter that included a blocked extra point for Michigan after touchdown from Florida State, which was run back for a defensive two-point conversion, an ejection for Florida State due to targeting and a too close to call potential defensive offside against Florida State.

When asked about that last quarter, Cook said, “…Whatever we face, we battle back and that’s what Coach Fisher instilled in us.”

Jim Harbaugh Pumped About Playing FSU


Written by Nick Bumgardner at MLive.com

Jim Harbaugh’s always wanted to see a game at Doak Campbell Stadium.

He figures Dec. 30 in Miami will be the closest he ever gets.

Michigan’s head coach, who will lead the No. 6-ranked Wolverines into battle against No. 11 Florida State in the Orange Bowl later this month, gushed over Florida State’s football traditions Wednesday during a news conference in Miami.

“(Florida State) is one of those great programs, one of those great traditions,” Harbaugh said. “Renegade, the war horse. The spear. The tomahawk chant. I’ve never been to a game at Florida State, but I always wanted to. I always wanted to go to a game at their stadium and see that atmosphere in person.

“This will be as close as I’ve ever been to that. I’m excited about that, looking forward to it.”

 

Two staples of Florida State’s football tradition are Osceola and Renegade.

Osceola, a mascot dressed like a Seminole Native American — something designed and approved by the Seminole Tribe of Florida — typically rides into Doak Campbell Stadium before FSU home games atop his steed, Renegade (an Appaloosa horse).

Osceola and Renegade are synonymous with Florida State football. And Harbaugh’s been a fan for a long, long time.

“I’m going to get some chills, I know, when the Appaloosa comes riding out there,” Harbaugh said.

After saying that, Harbaugh asked FSU coach Jimbo Fisher if Osceola and Renegade would both be present at the Orange Bowl.

Fisher, smiling, said he thinks they will. As long as the bowl allows it.

“Well, you have our permission,” Harbaugh said. “I want to see that. That is cool. A lot of teams have cool things. We’ve got cool things (at Michigan) and other teams have cool things, but that’s right up there with the coolest things (in college football).”

Fisher was then asked jokingly if he had any openings in his schedule coming up.

“Not for a while,” he laughed. “But it is amazing that Michigan and Florida State haven’t played more.”

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