Heading into the 2018 season, Florida State had played in a bowl game 36 years in a row. That’s the longest streak ever. The Seminoles passed Nebraska in 2017, long after the Huskers’ 35-in-a-row spell from 1969 to 2003 had come to a close. We know that was a record because we have visual evidence that FSU played in all of those bowl games.
There was some thought the streak should’ve ended in 2017. The Noles were 5-6 and had to beat ULM the week after Jimbo Fisher left for Texas A&M to secure eligibility. They also had to count a win against FCS Delaware State. Some incredible Reddit sleuthing appeared to reveal that DSU didn’t meet the scholarship requirements for FSU to count that win toward bowl eligibility. But it was late, and the Noles said Reddit had gotten it wrong anyway.
Now, the streak has officially come to an end. FSU lost to Florida at home on Saturday 41-14, which brought the Noles’ record to 5-7 on the year.
Of course, the real menace to FSU’s NCAA-record bowl streak was the NCAA, which insisted on not counting it as an NCAA record.
— Florida State won seven games and made a bowl in 2006 and 2007, right in the midst of this 35-year streak.
— But the NCAA recognizes FSU’s record those years as 2-6 and 0-6, respectively. FSU had to vacate most of its wins due to an academic cheating scandal.
— One of FSU’s many vacated wins is the 2006 Emerald Bowl, which the Noles won against UCLA, 44-27. Florida State lists that as one of its bowls in its program media guide, which makes sense, because it is a thing that exists.
— The Noles note the Emerald Bowl is vacated, which is different than saying it didn’t happen, because it did. To claim it didn’t happen is to be wrong.
— But the NCAA doesn’t recognize FSU’s streak as 36 years. In its record book, updated after FSU got to No. 36, only Nebraska is recognized as having the record, at 35.
Vacating wins is stupid. When teams win games, they win games. The NCAA sometimes tries to pretend they didn’t, all so it can make a point about some misguided notion of integrity. Pretending that wins are not wins has never deterred anyone from breaking any of the NCAA’s rules.
Vacating entire bowl appearances looks even sillier, given the massive corporate spectacles they’ve become. Teams spend entire weeks at these games! Thousands of people travel to them! Millions more watch on TV!
It’s just silly to act like FSU hadn’t played in 36 straight bowls. But Virginia Tech, with 25 bowls in a row, will try to claim the active record for itself. The Hokies need just one win to keep that streak going, and they’ll play Marshall on Dec. 1 to take it.
FSU’s current staff and players were cognizant of the streak, in some part because FSU fans care about the streak.
“This game is important for a lot of reasons,” Willie Taggart said before the Florida game. “Again, for us, it’s our rival, these seniors, their last game in Doak, our seniors and our football team have a chance to go bowling.”
Taggart also said this before FSU kept its hopes alive by beating Boston College in Week 12 to move to 5-6:
It’s important to us. It’s important to our players, it’s important to our fan base, it’s important to the teams that came before us that we keep it going and we talked about it as a team and our guys understand what’s at stake, it’s important for our seniors to leave here and not be that senior class that didn’t go to a bowl game. So it’s important for a lot of reasons and we need to approach it that way in everything we’re doing, the way we go to class, going to practice, in meetings or whatever we’re doing, there’s a lot of people counting on us.
Just don’t let anyone tell you that FSU’s bowl streak already ended.
Now that it finally has, we’re going to give it a proper and dignified funeral, and its headstone reads “1982-2017”.