Florida State's NCAA-record 36-year bowl streak remains a rallying point in Tallahassee.
It's getting talked about in Gainesville, too, because the rival Gators have a chance to end it.
"That'd be great," Florida coach Dan Mullen said Monday. "I'd love to do it. But that's what rivalry games are all about, right?"
FSU's bowl streak stayed alive Saturday with a comeback win over Boston College that improved the Seminoles to 5-6. FSU didn't shy away from the streak's importance last year under Jimbo Fisher, and it isn't doing it this year, either, under first-year coach Willie Taggart.
"Oh, it's very important," Taggart said Monday. "We're a prideful university. We pride ourselves on winning, and you think about the streak, that's winning. We have been winning every year. So it's very important that we go out and give our fans, our alumni, our former players and coaches that have been here and our current players and coaches everything we can to see that we get this victory and keep it going."
Considering how much Taggart has relied on running quarterbacks (see: Flowers, Quinton) in the past, FSU QB Deondre Francois' lack of involvement in the run game has been a mild surprise. That started to change last week when Francois carried the ball a season-high nine times (excluding sacks).
Taggart said Francois has been willing to rush more often. The Seminoles finally allowed him to do it last week because he was healthy enough and there were running lanes open for him.
"It was good to see him go out there and run with a purpose and get us some yardage that we needed when it happened," Taggart said. "So I know there's things we can do that can help us on offense with him running the football, but it was good for him to go out there and for us to call the plays to allow him to do that."
Gators QB Emory Jones has already appeared in one game against a rival (Georgia) as a true freshman. It doesn't sound as if the blue-chip talent will play in another this week.
Jones has played in three games, so he can only appear in one more without burning his redshirt and losing a year of eligibility. With QB Kyle Trask (foot) sidelined this week and possibly for the bowl game, Jones is UF's top backup, behind starter Feleipe Franks.
"He's a snap away from being our starter," Mullen said. "So we're going to prepare for him to play. Then during the game, we'll make the decision whether or not he goes in or not."
Translation: UF would prefer not to play him, unless Franks gets injured. A specialty Jones package (like the one the Gators used against Georgia) seems more likely for the bowl game than this weekend.
Mullen was asked Monday about an urban legend involving former UF coach Urban Meyer, who supposedly didn't want his players to eat in Tallahassee … because he was afraid they'd be poisoned. Mullen didn't deny the story, or the sentiment behind it.
"As coaches, we're paranoid about everything," Mullen said. "You are. I mean, if you go on the road and somebody like gets sick or something after dinner, you're like, 'Oh, they poisoned us.' As a coach you're paranoid about everything all the time. But you would hope that would not really happen. College football, man, they're some passionate people about college football and about their teams. So we're always cautious about everything going on."