Notre Dame-Florida State: The Game Of The Century
It was billed as "The Game Of The Century".
2 programs lurking for titles. NFL talent on both sides of the ball.
Attention for both football teams again this season with a title in sight for both.
The Seminoles entered South Bend as the #1 team in the country.
The Irish were ranked #2.
The game never let up from kick off to the final play of the game. Charlie Ward, who would win the Heisman that year, led the Noles in a matter of seconds in the late fourth quarter down the field inside the Irish 20.
With seconds left, his pass was knocked down preserving the Irish win.
Irish 31 Noles 24.
Moments earlier, Florida State hit a touchdown on a 4th and long play the bounced off 2 Irish players- adding more foundation to the "Luck of the Irish" mantra that often accompanies good things going in the way of Notre Dame.
As luck would have it, the following weekend would prove that theory true as Notre Dame would fall to Boston College on a late field goal.
Notre Dame found itself atop of the polls after the win over Florida State, and would only need to beat Boston College to play in the Fiesta Bowl. With a win over BC, the Irish would have played Florida State, which only dropped to #2 in the polls.
Boston College stunned Notre Dame 41-39 and a rematch of epic magnitude never materialized.
The Irish and Noles have only played 7 times, with Florida State holding a 5-2 edge.
The last time the two teams faced each other was 2011 in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Florida State won the game with 2 late touchdowns sparked by a familiar tidbit that has plagued the Irish this season:Turnovers.
Tommy Rees threw 2 interceptions and Andrew Hendrix pitched another. Throughout the season, the turnover bug plagued the Irish, a trend that began in the opener against South Florida with a early fumble return for a touchdown by the Bulls.
How ironic that the Irish would finish the year in Florida and again flip the field for it's rival.
But unlike any rival in the country, this rival has often been accompanied with some added off field drama and attached spites.
The Criminoles VS. The Catholics.
Snickered by many, but relevant today considering the ongoing investigation involving not just the Noles quarterback Jameis Winston- but the entire team according to a story released late Friday by the NY Times and the 5 players suspended for the Irish.
The attorney representing Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston had access to documents related to an investigation of an alleged rape linked to Winston days before the state attorney’s office had access to the information. As outlined in a detailed report by FOX Sports, officials at Florida State and the Tallahassee police department took steps to hinder the proceedings of the investigation that would eventually clear Winston of any wrongdoing.
Now, an examination by The New York Times of police and court records, along with interviews with witnesses, has found that the treatment of the Winston complaint was dealt with the way the police on numerous occasions have handled allegations of wrongdoing by Noles football players. From criminal mischief and motor cycle theft to domestic violence, no arrests have been made, investigations have stalled and players have eluded legal penalties.
During a typical Saturday, a Noles game generates nearly 5 to 10 million dollars into the local economy.
For Winston, it gets a little darker as he is now alleged to be linked to an autograph for pay charge related to Georgia Bulldog Todd Gurley.
For the Irish, the suspension issues mirrors the allegations of wrong doing by the Noles in some minds.
5 players held out for the season for academic infractions pales to what many colleges report or self-report when their athletes get out of line.
But for pundits and fans that despise what Notre Dame is about or aspires to- it's ammunition by the barrels if a player was caught looking over a students shoulder for an answer.
For the Irish, the issues on the field will always accompany what players do off the field.
Which brings about those plagues of sorts.
Ugly football of late has surfaced heading into this Saturday's contest.
Saturday against North Carolina the Irish coughed the ball up 3 times again, let the Tar Heels feel like an upset was there for the taking and eventually scored late to keep their undefeated season going.
It's something Florida State will take advantage of.
1993 is on the horizon in 2014.
In the last few years, the Noles have cemented their spot as a championship caliber team just like the Irish did during the 80's and 90's.
The Irish are again knocking on elite status's door.
Top billing accompanies 2 universities for one fall Saturday in Florida.
Off-field issues will be debated yet again.
Eventually, a game will played Saturday night that will dictate the fate for one where the national championship is concerned.
A lone loss could end a dramatic season for the other.
Whatever the outcome, there's no doubt college football is about rivalries and the best playing the best each Saturday.
This is what's in store for college football again when these two giants square off.
The looming investigations for both programs will continue, but for 4 quarters Saturday- 'The Game Of The Century' will revisit itself once again.