The Gator Bowl

by coach___cooper
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Bobby Bowden

Do you remember going outside with your dad, and playing one on one in basketball? No matter how great you played it was never enough to win the game. You might even have played the perfect game but the best case scenario was a tie before dinner. This scenario represents every time Florida State plays in a Gator Bowl, as they never LOSE. The Gator Bowl is considered a “tier one” bowl game. When Florida State doesn’t win the ACC there is a decent chance they end up here, and when they were an Independent the proximity to the bowl game helped. So lets revisit the times Florida State competed and never lost a Gator Bowl.

The Gator Bowl


The Gator bowl is the sixth oldest bowl game in college football, considered a top tier bowl game after the NY6, and is located in Jacksonville Florida. The Seminoles have been to seven Gator Bowls and have never lost one. The first Gator Bowl appearance for the Noles was in 1965 and the last was in 2010 (pictured above).


Gator Bowl Outcomes

1965: Florida State 36 Oklahoma 19

1967: Florida State 17 Penn State 17

1982: Florida State 31 West Virginia 12

1985: Florida State 34 Oklahoma State 23

2002: Florida State 30 Virginia Tech 17

2005: Florida State 30 West Virginia 18

2010: Florida State 33 West Virginia 21


The BEST Gator Bowl



Most college coaches do not have a happy ending. Usually they are fired, or have a fall out at their last school. Bobby Bowden’s ending at Florida State was not perfect but it was almost like a fairy tale. In the 2009 season, the Seminoles finished with a 6-6 regular season record. This probably should have sent them to the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, ID not the first tier Gator Bowl.

But with it being Bobby Bowden’s last game ever before retirement, the in state bowl game could not miss this opportunity. A couple of loop holes that worked in Florida State’s favor sent them to the Gator Bowl. The opponent would be a top 25 (9-3) West Virginia team that was explosive on offense. Florida State was a heavy underdog and was facing a possibility of having their first losing season since 1976.

Led by back up quarterback EJ Manuel and running back Jermaine Thomas (Jacksonville local) the Noles exploded for over 400 yards on offense.  The Florida State defense did enough to stop the explosive West Virginia offense led by running back Noel Devine. After the first quarter scoring 14 points the West Virginia offense was put to a halt. Florida State ended up winning the game 33-21, and putting Bobby Bowden on top for his ending.

It was said that more than 350 of Bobby Bowden’s former players were in attendance to support him. Bowden finished with a 389-129-4 record, and most importantly to him, a 33rd consecutive winning season.

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