Since the inception of the Bowl Championship Series in 1998, there have been 15 winners of the crystal ball and one disputed champion for an even 16 title winners. From Sweet 16 to an Elite Eight and a Final Four, you, the SaturdayBlitz.com reader, voted down to an ultimate champion of the BCS era — a Champion of Champions.
It’s fitting that your choice for college football supremacy was equally effective on offense as defense, featured stars of both the collegiate and professional games, and had a legendary head coach manning the sideline. Rather than dive into statistics or consequential games from that season, as I have for every match-up through this tournament of champions, I employed a true, Seminole perspective on the great Bobby Bowden’s last championship team.
From ChopChat.com, Duke Matthews breaks down the ’99 ‘Noles. Check out Chop Chat for any and all Florida State news.
It wasn’t easy, but the 1999 Florida State Seminoles won Saturday Blitz’s Sweet Sixteen gauntlet of the past 16 national champions. Florida State won by the narrowest of margins — 468 votes to 457 votes — and was down by nearly 200 earlier in the day. Thank you to all of the Florida State fans who showed up in droves to support their team.
Entering the 1999 season, the Seminoles were the unanimous favorite to win it all. They were completely stocked with talent and fueled by a disappointing 1998 campaign that ended with a loss in the championship game to Tennessee. That loss was particularly painful because Chris Weinke was lost to a neck injury in November — FSU came very close to winning the championship even without their Heisman quarterback. FSU hit the practice fields again in Spring knowing that while they missed one opportunity, another one stood before them if they were willing to work for it.
What made Florida State special in 1999 was an amazing blend of coaching and talent. Head coach Bobby Bowden knew this team had special chemistry, but FSU also had two coordinators, Mark Richt and Mickey Andrews, who were at the top of their game. It was as complete a team as it gets, from Chris Weinke to Peter Warrick to Corey Simon to Sebastian Janikowski. As All-American defensive end Jamal Reynolds noted, “[I]t was awesome knowing that the person that was next to you or behind you had your back. You had playmakers all around you.”
And even though the seniors were the pillars of the team, even freshmen players got involved, like Anquan Boldin.
The path to get there was not easy, however. Florida State had to visit Clemson in Death Valley and No. 4 Florida in the Swamp. The national championship match-up against Virginia Tech was not easy, either. FSU jumped on Virginia Tech early, 28-7, but found itself behind 28-29, facing third down deep in its own territory. FSU converted and the rest was history. The Seminoles never looked back.
When it was all said and done, this 1999 squad featured 31 players in the NFL. It was a marked team, a team that would take everyone’s best shot, after it was anointed as No. 1 in the preseason polls. The season was not without its issues, however, including the mid-season suspension of Peter Warrick, arguably the top receiver in the nation, and the dismissal of receiver Laveranues Coles. Bobby Bowden would not let this team forget its mission, however. He kept them focused on the task at hand: to close. Florida State has had issues in the past closing games (i.e., see wide lefts and wide rights), but not in 1999: A team of destiny that wasn’t going to let anyone stand in its way. Congratulations to the first wire-to-wire national champion, the 1999 Florida State Seminoles.