The Daily Nole

90 Days Until FSU Football: The 90s FSU Dynasty

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We stand 90 days away from FSU football taking the field against Virginia Tech. As part of the offseason, we’re doing a countdown that highlights players, games, and specific moments from Florida State football history. On Monday, it was the 1991 recruiting class that contained multiple Hall-of-Fame players and set up the 1993 national title.

Today, it’s the whole decade of the 1990s and the FSU dynasty that dominated it.

Florida State’s football dynasty technically started in 1987, when the Seminoles won 11 games and beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 1988 Fiesta Bowl. But most everyone refers to the 1990s as the truly dominant years of the dynasty, since that was when FSU had accumulated enough national respect to be considered a top-tier program. It was also the decade where the Seminoles won their first two national championships.

The Seminoles captured a 109-13-1 overall record from the 1990 season through the 1999 season. They won eight ACC titles, eight bowl games, and never won less than 10 games in a single season. Six of those bowl games were major contests (Orange, Sugar). The lone team to win a higher win percentage during a decade was Oklahoma in the 1950s. The only other contender at this point is Alabama once the 2010’s conclude.

It would take a longform to list all the superstar players that came through in the time period. 11 major awards were won in the 90s by various guys, including Charlie Ward, Marvin Jones, Sebastian Janikowski, and more. For a program that was relatively young on the national stage, Florida State quickly caught up with the “old money” schools in terms of achievements and prestige.

This is what new head coach Willie Taggart constantly alludes to when discussing how he wants to build up the FSU program. His upbringing was filled with the legends and conquests of Seminole football.

It’s enough to provoke an interesting question: did the dynasty of the 1990s spoil FSU fans? By every measure, it was an unprecedented accomplishment that is very hard to do in college football. Jimbo Fisher won a national championship in Tallahassee and his 2016 team that went 10-3 with an Orange Bowl win was considered “disappointing”.

The truth is that due to financial constraints and the shifting reality of college football, the Florida State dynasty will probably never return. That doesn’t mean the Seminoles won’t be competing for national championships — but the incredibly consistent success they experienced from 1990 to 1999 simply doesn’t happen anymore (unless your name is Nick Saban).

Willie Taggart plays a risky game by rooting himself in that famous era. He’ll need to bring a level of sustained winning that keeps the fan base happy, while also getting fans to realize the changing landscape of college football brings lowered expectations.

If he can accomplish at least half of what the 1990s dynasty accomplished, he’ll be at Florida State for a very long time.

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