Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Perfect Start Raises FSU's Expectations

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Perfect Start Raises FSU's Expectations

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Thomas, Times-Union sports writer

TALLAHASSEE -- It was a matter of practice. Bobby Bowden would open each football season saying the goal of his Florida State football team was to win a national championship.

Not this year. After suffering nine losses over the past two seasons, Bowden never allowed the words "national championship" -- in reference to his 2003 team -- to cross his lips. Until now.

Climbing to No. 5 in the national polls following Saturday night's 56-7 win against Duke, the Seminoles (5-0, 4-0 ACC) are very much in the national title picture; a picture that will become more clear following the Oct. 11 showdown with Miami (4-0).

Providing No. 2 Miami dispatches West Virginia, as expected Thursday night, the 'Canes and 'Noles will meet at Doak Campbell Stadium as top-five opponents for the first time since 1993.

"It reminds you of the old days," Bowden said. "That's the way it was. . . . We've kind of gotten back to that. It's a much better feeling."

The Seminoles have arrived at their first open week on the schedule with a 5-0 record for the first time since the 2000 season, when they lost to Oklahoma in the national championship game. And Bowden certainly understands the high stakes involved any time the Seminoles and Hurricanes play.

"We've been through this so many times the last 20 years, knowing that Miami is probably the highlight on the schedule; knowing that Miami might be the highest ranked team you play," Bowden said yesterday. "That's occurred so many times since 1983, when they won that first national championship. So, we're back to that point and we like it.

"We know it's going to be a big game; we know it's going to be a defining football game for both of us. Because whoever comes out of this ballgame as the winner is going to be in good shape to compete for a shot at the national championship."

Miami has won three consecutive games in the series and has played for the last two national titles, winning the crown in 2001. FSU managed to rebound from its loss to the Hurricanes in the sixth game of the 2000 season, edging Miami in the Bowl Championship Series poll for a berth in the title game. …

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