Jeff Culhane, the play-by-play voice of the Florida State Seminoles, is kind enough to offer his insight into the Orange Bowl matchup with Georgia. Jeff does an excellent job and provides some outstanding information ahead of this matchup between two of the top programs in college football.
What is the mood of the Seminole faithful heading into the Orange Bowl?
Much like Georgia fans, there is a level of hurt amongst Florida State fans currently with the circumstances dealt by the CFB Playoff Committee leaving out the Seminoles after a 13-0 season and an ACC Championship. But the Orange Bowl is a tremendous game and experience and holds a special place in the hearts of all Noles fans. FSU has great history at the Orange Bowl and won their first National Championship in this game back in 1993. To play a great program like Georgia is an amazing opportunity and we’re looking forward to a great game.
To bookend the regular season with wins over LSU and Florida, run the table in the ACC, and win the title game is a tremendous accomplishment, can you take us through your favorite moments?
Every time this Florida State team took the field you knew something special was about to happen. This team just had that feel about them and answered the call all season long no matter the opponent or the adversity faced. The blowout win versus LSU to start the season, the OT win at Clemson, the 16th State Championship in program history beating both Miami and Florida, and finishing with a defensive masterpiece versus Louisville in the ACC Championship are the highlights of the season for me.
What would a win over Georgia in Miami mean to Florida State?
A win over Georgia would be another great step in showing how far Florida State has come in the Mike Norvell era. Georgia has been the standard for all to chase in College Football the past few seasons. Great players, great coaches, UGA has been a machine the past few years.
What does Florida State need to do to win?
Defensively FSU is playing at a National Championship level. Season highs in sacks, TFLs, and PBUs versus a quality Louisville Offense in the ACC Championship Game really stand out and show how well this group is executing right now. Offensively, no matter who the QB is, Mike Norvell will mix and match to put the Noles in a position to put points on the board. Getting the ball to Keon Coleman, Jaheim Bell, ACC MVP Lawrence Toafili, and Trey Benson in different ways will be paramount against a great Georgia Defense.
If the Seminoles win, and a once-beaten wins the CFP, do you think FSU would be deserving of the final No. 1 ranking in the A.P. Poll?
Absolutely, not that it changes anything that has transpired with the CFP Committee’s decision to leave FSU out, but there’s something to be said for a 14-0 Florida State team beating the two time defending national champions on a neutral field at the end of the season. Now, that is a big challenge because of the team Georgia is, but I believe Florida State can play with anybody this season in College Football.
What is your take on Georgia?
They’ve been the standard that everyone has been chasing. Kirby Smart is an elite coach. They have amazing players, big, fast, and physical. They know how to win games. Carson Beck has had a phenomenal season. Brock Bowers might be the best player in all of College Football. And their Defense will make you pay.
Give me some changes or slow downs you’d like to see in college football and college athletics?
I’m all for players earning compensation for their time and efforts in college athletics. I think the Transfer Portal has created opportunities for student-athletes to succeed in different places. I wish we could go back 10-15 years and face these topics head on as leaders instead of pushing them away and hoping we wouldn’t have to deal with them. Because if we would’ve provided some guidelines for both then, I think we’d have a better understanding of how they work now instead of this feel of them being “unregulated” and disorganized in a lot of ways. Again, I’m not against either of these things for student-athletes, but I believe we could make them better for all.