Close doesn't count
Coach Bobby Bowden has been lamenting of late that perhaps all his team has lacked is a Charlie Ward or Warrick Dunn or Chris Weinke or Peter Warrick or Derrick Brooks or Deion Sanders — a player who makes game-changing and scoreboard-changing plays.
"We haven't had a star around here in a long time," Bowden said.
Consider: In games decided by seven points or fewer the last three seasons, the Seminoles were 5-11.
Consider: In games decided by seven or fewer from 1994-2000, the Seminoles were 11-4-1.
"Personally, that's the most annoying thing to hear; that we've been a play away," quarterback Drew Weatherford said. "I don't think it should come down to a play. I feel that we have the ability and the talent on this team that if we do play up to our ability then it shouldn't come down to that play and if it does come down to that play we have the ability and the experience to come out on the winning end of that. I don't like using that. That doesn't make you sleep better at night knowing you're a play away."
Third-year safety Myron Rolle might have the opportunities of a lifetime. If he makes more big plays, he figures to be in position to enter the NFL draft early. Before then, however, he hopes to earn a Rhodes Scholarship. So which one would he choose? "That's the million-dollar question," said Rolle, who graduated with a degree in exercise science this month. "I don't know. I love football and playing in the NFL has been a dream for a while. Being a Rhodes Scholar, that's a distinction not many people have. It's been an academic dream and an academic goal and something I feel is right there and I've prepared myself for the moment. If the opportunity presents itself, Rhodes Scholar or NFL, I'm not sure what path I'm going to take."
By the numbers
3 Interceptions last season by redshirt senior quarterback Drew Weatherford, down from 18 as a redshirt freshman. Two of the three came in the Music City Bowl.
25 Career tackles for a loss by redshirt junior defensive end Everette Brown, 15th in school history. He needs 12.5 to move into fifth.
373 Bowden's career coaching wins, one more than Penn State's Joe Paterno in major-college history.
Offensive line coach Rick Trickett made copies of an ESPN.com blog that rated his unit last among the 12 ACC teams and gave them to his players to keep in their wallets.
"I pull it out every day and you use it for motivation," said redshirt freshman center A.J. Ganguzza, adding that he and his teammates see it as a slight.
Trickett, who called and thanked the ESPN writer for giving him a useful tool, said he keeps a copy tucked away in his wallet, too.
"When we're No. 1," he said, "we're going to burn them."
He said it
"I didn't know that. That's a lot of ballgames."
Bowden, when asked about coaching in his 500th game this season. He's at 496. Paterno (500) and Amos Alonzo Stagg (548) are the other major-college coaches to reach that milestone.
Brian Landman, Times staff writer