After saying that most FSU fans probably view former quarterback Jameis Winston as an embarrassment, former Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden is at it again. Speaking to Paul Finebaum of the SEC Network, on Finebaum’s radio show, the 85-year-old Hall of Famer has claimed that Florida State did not move to the SEC during his tenure because it would have hurt the team’s championship hopes.
“I felt [Paul] that it was too difficult to win through the SEC to win a national championship,” Bowden explained to Paul Finebaum on the Paul Finebaum Show on ESPN Radio and SEC Network [audio]. “I felt like our best route would be to go through the ACC and that did prove out to be correct. But, I don’t know if we could have made it through the SEC.”
Florida State did join the ACC in 1992, and ended up winning two national championships and 12 ACC championships when Bowden was coach. Just the same, his comments seem a bit off considering the SEC at the time.
Prior to 1992, the SEC was not exactly the ultra-competitive force that it is today. Sure, Alabama took home a national title in 1992 under Gene Stallings, but the sole time the conference won such a prize before that was in 1980, when Georgia won it all under Vince Dooley.
While Bowden’s comments do hold water, as Florida State went on to become an unstoppable force in the ACC, they’re still a bit puzzling. The SEC won a national championship the year that Bowden’s Seminoles joined the ACC, but only took home two over the next decade: Florida in 1996 and Tennessee in 1998.
If you ask me, Florida State could have enjoyed just as much success in the SEC as it ultimately has in the ACC. It may not have been in the same class as Bowden’s signature teams, but it sure could have come close. Either way, the ACC has been the program’s home for a long time and will likely be so for years to come, even if Bowden’s reasons for picking it are a bit odd.
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