Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Chance to Vent 'Noles Regroup, Take Aim at Buckeyes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Chance to Vent 'Noles Regroup, Take Aim at Buckeyes

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE -- When it comes right down to it, Florida State's

Sugar Bowl fortunes against Ohio State will be determined by one

thing: pride.

Forget the fact the Seminoles' string of 10 consecutive

finishes of fourth or better in the final Associated Press poll

is in jeopardy. Disregard the notion that beating the Buckeyes

would go a long way in dispelling the belief that the Big Ten

was the nation's premier conference this season. Don't

overestimate the significance of the 'Noles facing the prospect

of suffering consecutive bowl losses for the first time since

the 1979 and '80 teams. Or, that FSU is motivated to prove that

it should be playing Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, not Tennessee.

With their national championship hopes snuffed out by Florida

for a third consecutive year, this time by a 32-29 season-ending

loss in Gainesville, the fourth-ranked Seminoles (10-1) are

playing for pride. And how they respond to that bitter defeat

will be left largely to a group of 16 seniors who will be

playing their final game.

"I don't think we'll get over it," said senior defensive tackle

Julian Pittman. "For me, I'll look back on this season and

always say, `We lost to Florida.' I think the bitterness will

give us incentive to go to the Sugar Bowl and take out our

frustrations on Ohio State."

Still, other Seminoles have struggled to put the Florida loss

behind.

"It's going to be tough because we put all of our marbles in

the national championship and to come one game away from that,

maybe one or two plays, it's tough," senior receiver E.G. Green

said. "What we have to do is regroup and say, `This is still a

good team."'

Such is the plight the Seminoles have come to face so often,

when anything short of a national championship fails is

considered a failure.

"You wouldn't want it any other way," Green added. "You don't

come here to finish second in a conference. We have the players

that every year we have a shot. For some reason we seem to give

it up every time."

As a result, FSU coach Bobby Bowden is likely facing his most

difficult task of motivating the Seminoles since the 1991

season, when season-ending losses to Miami and Florida left a

senior-laden team despondent heading into the Cotton Bowl. …

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