By Kyle LoJacono
I was at the Sept. 26 football game between Florida State and the University of South Florida, but unlike most people traveling from Tampa I wanted the Seminoles to win.
Growing up in Lutz and being a 2005 Gaither graduate, I have watched the Bulls since their inception in 1997. However, I went to FSU and spent many Saturdays watching the Seminoles battle at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.
It was hard for me to see FSU lose 17-7 in the first-ever meeting between those schools, but it was nice to see the Bulls establish themselves in college football. USF has been on the fast track, spending just four seasons in the former 1-AA before moving up to the top division.
Over that time the Bulls have had one coach, Jim Leavitt, who was born in St. Petersburg. The Bulls reached their highest national ranking in October, 2007 when they were No. 2. Many thought Leavitt might leave Tampa for a more established program, but he signed a two-year extension through 2014.
Even though USF is now a team that people outside of the Tampa Bay area know, the program cannot compare with the history at FSU. USF was founded in 1956, while FSU opened in 1851.
The Seminoles have two Heisman Trophy winners in quarterbacks Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke in 1993 and 2000, respectively.
USF has none.
FSU also has two national championships, the first in 1993 and the second in 1999.
USF does not.
The 1999 title was the first and only FSU team with a perfect season. That squad was celebrated before the Sept. 26 game.
It seemed like FSU would win the game easily as USF’s starting quarterback, Matt Grothe, tore his ACL the previous week and could not play. The Bulls started B.J. Daniels, who went to Lincoln High in Tallahassee and grew up a Seminoles fan.
So what happens? One former Seminoles fan from Tallahassee joins USF to crush the team he grew up rooting for while I watched, sickened in the stands.
“They just beat the heck out of us,” FSU coach Bobby Bowden said after the game.
They sure did, Bobby. Who’d have seen that coming?