Oh, you thought Bobby Bowden‘s quotes about Jameis Winston (he thinks FSU fans would say Winston was an embarrassment to the university) were entertaining? Well how about this other nugget that was shared during a radio interview yesterday. When asked about Florida State’s old decision to not join the SEC in the 1990s, Bowden suggested it would have been too difficult for Florida State to win a national championship in the SEC when compared to the ACC.
“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.”
At the time Florida State joined the ACC (in 1992), the balance of power was not as much in favor of the SEC as it can be perceived to be today. The SEC had not had a national championship since 1980 (Georgia) and the ACC had seen two schools win a national title since with Clemson in 1981 and Georgia Tech earning a split national title in 1990. Alabama did win the 1992 national title but Florida State ran right through the ACC from the start and finished the 1992 season with a No. 2 ranking and the 1993 season as the national champion. As far as Bowden’s comments are concerned, it seems to hold water. The Seminoles won a second national title in 1999, at which time the SEC was beginning to rise to its more dominant form of the BCS era. Florida (1996) and Tennessee (1998) each won national titles on the way.
By being in the ACC, Florida State was the dominant force for an extended period of time. The same may not have been the case had the school joined the SEC in the early 1990s, but over the course of time an argument could be made that Florida State could have been every bit a national title contender as any other program in the conference. It just never would have been the program.
This story was originally posted on College Football Talk. Follow my college football coverage all day today.