Sept. 25, 2009
By Jack Nugent and Adam Shrigley, FSU Sports Information
Prior to kickoff of Saturday’s contest with USF, Florida State will celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the 1999 National Championship season. In a year that witnessed the NCAA’s first ever “wire-to-wire” champion, 1999 had Heisman-worthy performances, as well as some of the most memorable games in school history.
From Coach Bowden’s 300th career victory in a nail-biter versus Clemson, to Peter Warrick’s circus catch against Virginia Tech in the Championship game, there are certainly plenty of memories to cherish from the 1999 National Championship season. Take a trip down memory lane as we use each letter in the alphabet to honor the Seminoles’ remarkable march to the Sugar Bowl.
N- National Champs- 1999 was an incredible year in itself for FSU Football, crowning themselves champions for the second time in seven years.
O- Overwhelming Offense- The Seminoles outscored their opponents 458-203 for the year, averaging 37.5 points per game. Other credentials include 49 touchdowns, 23 field goals, 302.9 passing yards per game, and 425.7 total yards per game.
P- Peter Warrick- One of the most explosive and exciting players ever to don the garnet and gold, Warrick finished his career 2nd all time in receptions (207) and yards (3,517). The two-time All-American is also the ACC’s all-time leader in receiving yards and had 40 straight games with at least one reception, a school record. Not only a receiver, Warrick earned 1st team All-ACC recognition as a kick returner. 1999 saw Warrick pass E.G. Green for most receiving touchdowns (31) in FSU history before being named MVP of the National Championship game. (picture of a Peter Warrick catch/touchdown)
Q-Quarterback Play- Originally drafted by the MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays, Chris Weinke came back to school after suffering a spinal injury that ended his baseball career. Weinke lead FSU to its second national championship- and broke 26 school records while doing so. He currently holds the FSU and ACC record with 9,839 career passing yards, had a 32-3 record as a starter, and threw 79 career touchdown passes. The 1999 championship run was only a preview of his 2000 Heisman Trophy campaign. (picture of Weinke touchdown pass)
R- Receiving Corps- Peter Warrick, Anquan Boldin, Laveraneous Coles, Ron Dugans, Snoop Minnis, and Talman Gardner were all apart of FSU’s aerial attack in ’99 and all went on to be drafted in the NFL.
S-Sugar Bowl- FSU improved their record to 4-2 in Sugar Bowl appearances in 1999 by beating Virginia Tech. The ‘Noles had previously won in New Orleans in ’89 (13-7 vs. Auburn), ’95 (23-17 over Florida), and ’98 (31-14 over Ohio State).
T- Travis Minor- Was the school’s 3rd all time leader in yards (3,218) and 4th in touchdowns (28). Only running back to ever start and lead the team in rushing for four straight years. Holds the record for most rushes in a game (34) and career (664). (picture of Travis Minor)
U- Unconquered- Only team to ever go unbeaten wire-to-wire (ranked #1 in polls every week including preseason). FSU went eight seasons without losing at home and winning the ACC title from 1992- 2000. The “Unconquered” legacy originated with the Seminole Indians and was embraced by the university in an effort to appreciate and remember its importance to not only the university but the state of Florida.
V- Virginia Tech- The Hokies rode the shoulders of Heisman hopeful quarterback Michael Vick through the Big East in ’99 to an undefeated record and National Championship birth against the ‘Noles. All-American defensive end Corey Moore was held in check by FSU freshmen tackle Brett Williams and FSU’s special teams won the battle with a blocked punt and a punt return for a touchdown in their own version of “Beamer Ball.”
W- Wire-to-Wire- FSU became the first college football team to ever start as a preseason #1 in the polls and never relinquish that spot throughout the year, finishing a perfect 12-0.
X- X-factor- Special teams tends to get overlooked when you have an offense and defense near the top of the college ranks, but throughout the year the stellar play of Sebastian Janikowski, Peter Warrick and co. made all the difference. Not too often can you get a two-time Lou Groza winner, an All-ACC return specialist and a punter averaging nearly 42 yards a kick on the same unit but the Seminoles managed to pull it off. With 19 points to their credit in the National Title game alone, Seminoles special teams are the well deserving “X-factor” of the ’99 team.
Y- Year to Remember- From Chris Weinke’s comeback of a potential career ending injury to Peter Warrick’s electrifying runs and spectacular catches, the 1999 year for the ‘Noles was certainly one to remember. The only undefeated season for legendary coach Bobby Bowden, a match up with son Tommy for the ages, and his 300th career victory were just a few of the many highlights.
Z- Zenith- the peak, or pinnacle of FSU’s football program. The second National Title in seven years solidified the Seminoles as contender’s year in and year out. Fourteen straight years of 10 win season and top 5 finishes didn’t hurt either, the dynasty was born and the legend continues.