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The Florida State Seminoles football team represents Florida State University (variously Florida State or FSU) in the sport of American football. The Florida State Seminoles compete in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The team is known for its storied history, distinctive helmet, fight song and colors as well as the many traditions associated with the school.
Florida State officially began competing in intercollegiate football in 1947. The sport was introduced to the university by Ed Williamson, the school's athletic director. After unexpected success throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, they achieved national prominence in the 1980s and 1990s under the guidance of Bobby Bowden. Florida State joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1992 after competing for many years as an independent program aside from a short membership in the Dixie Conference during the early years of the program.
Florida State has won two national championships, including one BCS National Championship, along with seventeen conference titles and five division titles. The Seminoles have achieved two undefeated seasons and finished ranked in the top five of the AP Poll for 14 straight years from 1987 through 2000.
The team has produced three Heisman Trophy winners: quarterback Charlie Ward in 1993, quarterback Chris Weinke in 2000 and quarterback Jameis Winston in 2013. The Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to the top receiver in college football, is named for Florida State hall of famer, Fred Biletnikoff. Other awards presented to Florida State players include the Walter Camp Award, the Maxwell Award, the Davey O'Brien Award, the Lombardi Award, the Dick Butkus Award, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the Lou Groza Award, the Dave Rimington Trophy and the Bobby Bowden Award. Florida State coaches have been honored with the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award, the Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award, the Home Depot Coach of the Year Award, the Broyles Award, and the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award. The Florida State Seminoles have featured 38 players that have garnered consensus selection to the College Football All-America Team. Multiple players and coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and former Seminoles have gone on to have successful careers in the NFL. Longtime head coach Bobby Bowden, who has recorded more wins than any coach in Division I-A college football, retired following the Seminoles' win in the 2010 Gator Bowl after several mediocre seasons.
Despite the relatively short history of its football program, the Florida State Seminoles have the tenth-highest winning percentage among all college football programs in Division I FBS history. Through the end of the 2012 season, the Seminoles have compiled 485 victories over the course of 66 seasons. Florida State has appeared in forty-two postseason bowl games and rank ninth nationally for bowl winning percentage and fourth for bowl wins. The Seminoles' archrivals are Florida, whom they meet annually in the last game of the regular season, and Miami; both games are considered among the greatest rivalries in college football.
Florida State University joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in July 1991, and it is one of the fourteen current members of the ACC. Florida State is considered one of the teams that brought the conference to its pinnacle becoming the overall most successful program in the ACC. Since the ACC expanded from nine to twelve universities in 2005, and instituted divisional play in football, the Florida State Seminoles football team has competed in the ACC Atlantic Division.
Florida State plays an eight-game ACC football schedule. Five of these contests pit the Seminoles against the other members of the ACC Atlantic Division: Boston College, Clemson, Maryland, North Carolina State, Syracuse and Wake Forest. The conference schedule is filled out with an annual game against Miami and two additional foes from the ACC Coastal Division on a rotating basis between the other teams in the conference: Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh. Throughout a rotation schedule, Florida State plays each coastal division team at least twice every six years with possible meetings in the championship game in between regular season meetings. Florida State will also begin to play Louisville as an Atlantic Division partner when they join the conference in the coming seasons as well as Notre Dame as a home-and-home twice every six years per a conference agreement.
Florida State University has officially fielded a football team since 1947, and the Seminoles are currently in their 67th season of play.
The program has achieved two Consensus Division I Football National Championships, seventeen conference championships, two undefeated seasons, fifty-one winning seasons and five divisional titles. It has produced three Heisman Trophy winners, 208 All-Americans (thirty-eight consensus), 15 Academic All-Americans, and 245 NFL players. Florida State has had four members inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and one member inducted into the College Football Coaches Hall of Fame.
The end of World War II brought enormous pressure on the university system in Florida, which saw an influx of veterans applying for college under the GI Bill. The Florida Legislature responded by renaming the Florida State College for Women the Florida State University and allowing men to attend the university for the first time since 1905. Football then returned to Florida State University, beginning in the 1947 season. From 1948 through 1959, the Seminole football program achieved much success under coaches Don Veller and Tom Nugent.