[Throughout Spring Practices we'll be running "Worlds of Wisdom," tidbits from "Bobby Bowden's Tales from The Seminoles Sideline," co-authored by Steve Ellis, local writer for the Tallahassee Democrat and former editor of The Osceola. Quotes may or may not be entirely accurate – whichever proves more fun.]
Nostalgia is never so sweet as when pooled with the anguish of yon enemy. And nothing makes FSU’s first national championship more enjoyable than Mr. Trev Alberts’ obvious agony about the game. Super Trev was an All-American LB for the Cornhusker’s that season, and a prescient one at that:
“There’s been a lot of negativism around here at the end of the season”
That negativism was largely due to 3 main factors:
Nebraska had lost 6 straight bowl games, and 8 of the last 10;
The ‘Noles had won 12 straight;
FSU had outscored Nebraska 99-59 in their previous 3 bowl meetings.
The game proved to be closer than most expected, culminating in a missed Nebraska field goal attempt to win as time expired. Trev believes the Cornhuskers were robbed in the final minutes, and has alluded to it on the air at ESPN, before exploring his options as a blogger. Turns out, the Huskers got their share of breaks, especially late, as this video demonstrates:
(Fear not- metal is decidedly not “nu”)
But don’t trust the video alone: let’s allow Saint Bobby to guide us from the field goal that won (Scott Bentley’s) to the attempt that didn’t (Byron Bennett’s):
[FSU kicks off with 21 seconds left, and a return and FSU penalty puts the ball at the Nebraska 43. Incomplete pass, then 29-yard completion as time expires]
“We go out there to around midfield, and I start to shake hands with Tom [Osborne], who had really been cheating all game, including a illegal substitution before that last pass; the crowd is all around us. And the official comes up there and says, “Coach Bowden, we got to put one more second on the clock.” I like to have reminded him that the ice-bath I just got had washed the monkey off my back, so there was no putting him back on, but I’m a god-fearing and referee-fearing man, so I held my tongue.
I said, “Where is the ball?” And they said on something like the 33-yard line. Well, their kicker had never kicked one over 47 yards. I knew what his range was, and this was going to be five yards further that that – 50 or maybe more. So I’m thinking, ‘Shit. This kid can’t kick one over 47 yards.’
Know we’re back on the sidelines and the official comes up to me again and says, “Coach, we were wrong. We got to move the ball up five more yards. The press box said the ball was supposed to be up here.” That official still hasn’t done another game after that. I sent his brain to Joe Paterno in exchange for a win the Blockbuster Bowl a couple years later. I believe Mickey [Andrews] ate the rest of him.
And now I’m thinking, ‘Dadgummit, now they’re in range.’ Can you believe this? Not only did they get one second back, but they got five yards out of it. It was really unbelievable. The things you don’t want to happen were happening. You’re trying to get everybody focusing on that kick, and there’s Trev Alberts over there, laughing like a fairy, even though we just put it right down his throat on the last drive.
I just remember people behind me were cussing the officials. Administrators. There were some upset people on the sidelines. It did cross my mind, “Good gracious, we could lose this thing on all of this.” And every time I see ol’ Trev on the ESPN, I get all giggly knowing that game still steams him up so much. What? He got fired? Where? What in tarnation is CSTV? Oh- I thought that was what Janikowski caught from that BW3 waitress back in ’98.”
Nebraska’s field goal attempt, in the Orange Bowl in Miami, was wide left. And FSU won it’s first National Title.