Florida State football: 5 best seasons in program history

Jameis Winston, Jimbo Fisher, Florida State Seminoles. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Jameis Winston, Jimbo Fisher, Florida State Seminoles. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Bobby Bowden, Florida State Seminoles
Bobby Bowden, Florida State Seminoles. (Getty Images) /

ACC Champions, National Runner-Up. No. 3 AP/No. 3 Coaches. 1996 (11-1). 804. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. 4. player

The 1996 season for the Seminoles was definitely going to be on here. They were one win short of a perfect season. Had that been the case, the 1996 team would have a claim for the No. 1 spot here on the rankings. However, they did not get it done and have to settle for being No. 4 as ACC Champions and the national runner-up to the in-state rival Florida Gators.

Florida State beat five ranked teams that season, including two top-10 squads in rival teams nonetheless: at the No. 6 Miami Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl and vs. No. 1 Florida at Doak Campbell. Florida State punched its ticket to the national championship but faced the same Gators team a little over a month later in New Orleans.

Florida State Football Modern-era Mount Rushmore. light. Related Story

Though it was an immediate rematch, Florida had some time to get things right by winning the 1996 SEC Championship over the No. 11 Alabama Crimson Tide in Atlanta. While a narrow three-point home victory over the Gators in Tallahassee was sweet, getting their souls crushing in the Louisiana Superdome by their in-state rival Florida to the tune of 52-20 was a heartbreaker.

This loss to Florida knocked the Seminoles down to No. 3 in the final AP and Coaches Polls, tied for their lowest ranking all season. Going an undefeated 8-0 in ACC play with wins over No. 11 North Carolina and No. 14 Virginia was certainly an accomplishment, as was throttling the Canes in the Orange Bowl. However, the loss to Florida in the second meeting in two months can’t be ignored.