The Daily Nole

On My Mind Monday: Which Schools Have FSU Faced the Most in Bowl Games?

Garnet and Great, FSU archivist

Florida State learned last weekend that it would be spending New Year’s Eve in El Paso, Texas.

The Seminoles will face Arizona State in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl as they try to avoid a second straight losing season. The contest will be just the fifth meeting ever, but the second in a bowl game.

The Sun Devils prevailed with a 45-38 victory over FSU in the 1971 Fiesta Bowl. That remains the highest scoring bowl game in FSU history.

With the Seminoles and Sun Devils meeting for bowl season for the second time, we decided to examine which teams Florida State has seen most often during bowl season. Results are below:


Bowl meetings: 4
Results*: FSU won 1987 Fiesta Bowl, 31-28; FSU won 1989 Fiesta Bowl, 41-17; FSU won 1992 Orange Bowl, 27-14; FSU won 1993 Orange Bowl, 18-16
Overview: Much of Florida State’s ascension to a national power had to do with its ability to beat Nebraska. FSU began its ascension in 1980 with an 18-14 win over the Cornhuskers in Lincoln, but a comeback victory in the Fiesta Bowl to close 1987 began a run of 14 straight seasons finishing in the top 5. During that streak, the Seminoles beat Nebraska in a bowl game four times. That includes an 18-16 win to close the 1993 season and give FSU its first national championship.


Bowl meetings: 4
Results*: FSU won 1964 Gator Bowl, 36-19; Oklahoma won 1979 Orange Bowl, 24-7; Oklahoma won 1980 Orange Bowl, 18-17; Oklahoma won 2000 Orange Bowl, 13-2
Overview: Florida State capped its first ranked season ever with a 36-19 win over Oklahoma in the Gator Bowl to conclude the 1964 season, but that is the Seminoles’ lone win over the Sooners. Orange Bowl losses to the Sooners cost FSU a perfect season in 1979 and a national championship in 2000.

Penn State

Bowl meetings: 3
Results*: Teams tied 1967 Gator Bowl, 17-17; FSU won 1990 Blockbuster Bowl, 24-17; Penn State won 2005 Orange Bowl in triple-overtime, 26-23
Overview: All three meetings between Florida State and Penn State have been bowl meetings in Florida. The teams tied the 1967 Gator Bowl, but FSU won when the teams met in South Florida to close the 1990 season. Penn State was ranked No. 3 in the nation and a healthy favorite when it outlasted the Seminoles in the Orange Bowl to cap the 2005 season.

West Virginia

Bowl meetings: 3
Results*: FSU won 1982 Peach Bowl, 30-12; FSU won 2004 Gator Bowl, 30-18; FSU won 2009 Gator Bowl, 33-21
Overview: As is the case with Penn State, the only three meetings between FSU and West Virginia came in bowl games. After winning the 1982 Peach Bowl, it would be more than two decades before the Seminoles faced the Mountaineers again. The last two meetings were 12-point Gator Bowl wins for FSU. The Seminoles’ 33-21 win over West Virginia to cap the 2009 season would conclude the legendary career of head coach Bobby Bowden. Bowden coached at West Virginia prior to coming to Tallahassee.

Two Meetings*

Arizona State: Arizona State won 1971 Fiesta Bowl, 45-38; 2019 Sun Bowl on Dec. 31
Auburn: FSU won 1988 Sugar Bowl, 13-7; FSU won 2013 BCS National Championship, 34-31
Florida: FSU won 1994 Sugar Bowl, 23-17; Florida won 1996 Sugar Bowl, 52-20
Georgia: Teams tied 1984 Citrus Bowl, 17-17; Georgia won 2002 Sugar Bowl, 26-13
Notre Dame: FSU won 1995 Orange Bowl, 31-26; FSU won 2011 Champs Sports Bowl, 18-14
Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State won 1958 Bluegrass Bowl, 15-6; FSU won 1985 Gator Bowl, 34-23
Virginia Tech: FSU won 1999 Sugar Bowl, 46-29; FSU won 2001 Gator Bowl, 30-17

*Years reflect season, not necessarily date

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at

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