After 36 consecutive seasons ending with a bowl game, the Florida State Seminoles finished their 2018 season with a 5-7 record and were ineligible for a postseason appearance.
A lot happened for the Seminoles from 1981 up to that point, such as three national championships, 15 ACC titles, three Heisman Trophy winners and too many consensus All-Americans to count. When college football's all-time bowl streak ended, everyone took shots at FSU, but people should really just appreciate such an impressive feat.
FSU's Record 36-Year Bowl Streak
Going 41 years with a winning record in the regular season and posting 36-straight years of bowl eligibility is amazing, but all streaks must come to an end. The fact that a team made a bowl game every season I have been alive, plus another 10 years on top of that, is wild.
Florida State has been a model of consistency over the last 40 years under just three head coaches — mainly, Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher, until the program stumbled under Willie Taggart before Mike Norvell's takeover in 2020.
Even though the Taggart era was over after two seasons, it isn't all on him. Fisher left this team in rough shape after leaving when he almost led the team to a losing record.
No asterisks this year, Florida State's bowl streak is truly over with a 41-14 loss to Florida to end Willie Taggart's first season at 5-7. pic.twitter.com/HSXX2MEEjk
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) November 24, 2018
But this isn't the time to be embarrassed. It's time to celebrate that it happened, and how no other program ever made more consecutive bowl games in FBS football history. It does suck it was ended by the Florida Gators, but the longest bowl streak they ever had was 22-straight seasons.
It might be lame, but Dr Seuss once said, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."
So let's celebrate it, and look back at the longest streak of bowl appearances in NCAA history.
The Longest Bowl Streak in CFB History, and Why the NCAA Doesn't Recognize It
Bobby Bowden led the program into an iconic rise from 4-29 in the three seasons prior to 39-8 in four seasons after his first. In Bowden's first season in Tallahassee, the 'Noles missed out on a bowl game with a 5-6 record — the last losing season before 2018 — but would only miss out two more times in his next 33 seasons leading the team.
It was in the 12th season under Bowden that Florida State really hit its stride. In 1987, the Seminoles went 11-1 and began a 14-year streak of winning double-digit games. That streak contained two national championship teams in 1993 and 1999.
From 1982-2017, the Seminoles kept their magical bowl streak alive. It was a sign of consistency and domination. They didn't lose a bowl game in that streak until 1996 in the Sugar Bowl against national champion Florida.
And then there's the fact that the NCAA doesn't recognize the bowl streak. FSU won seven games in both 2006 and 2007, but a cheating scandal forced the school to vacate wins, leaving them with adjusted records of 2-6 and 0-6, respectively. One of those vacated wins was the 2006 Emerald Bowl, a 44-27 victory over UCLA.
That means the NCAA only recognizes Nebraska's 35-year bowl streak as the official record, but we all know who's really the record-holder.
Florida State's National Championship
In 2010, Jimbo Fisher took over and continued the streak with bowl appearances in all eight of his seasons in Tallahassee. The 'Noles won at least 10 games in six of those eight seasons, including a 14-0 record and national title in 2013.
The 2017 season was by far the program's worst season under Fisher with a 7-6 record. The team nearly missed out on a bowl game, needing three consecutive wins to end that season, which leads us to 2018.
In the nearly 40 years since FSU last missed a bowl game before that, they had dozens of accolades, as a team as well as individuals. Quarterbacks Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke and Jameis Winston each won the Heisman Trophy. Numerous Seminoles earned consensus All-American honors in that time period. Seven players made that list twice: Deion Sanders, Marvin Jones, Derrick Brooks, Sebastian Janikowski, Peter Warrick and Alex Barron.
Since 1993, only three teams have as many or more national titles as FSU's three. Nebraska has three, as does Florida. Alabama has seven.
Very few schools have had as much success over the past 40 seasons. There are schools who have a more storied past and have more well-known traditions, but Florida State isn't out-shined on the field by many over the last four decades. Mike Norvell has led the team to its first bowl appearance in 2022 since the 2019 Sun Bowl. Here's to starting another 36-year streak.
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