City, county plans championship celebration

FSU football coach Mike Norvell
FAMU football coach Willie Simmons

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook Staff Writer

Driven by the omission of Florida State from the College Football Playoffs, city and county officials are planning a grand celebration. 

It will include recognition of FAMU’s football team winning the program’s first SWAC title, the FSU women’s soccer team winning its fourth title in 10 years and the football team’s ACC championship win. The event is planned for Jan. 15 with a parade that will end at Cascades Park.

The announcement was made at a press conference last Thursday at City Hall. In addition to city and county commissioners, administrators from both branches of government, the city’s three chamber of commerce were represented.

FSU, ranked fifth when the final four teams were announced for the CFP, will play two-time defending national champion Georgia in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30. FAMU plays Howard University in the Celebration Bowl, a matchup of SWAC and MEAC champions, on Saturday in Atlanta.

The Seminoles were left out despite being a Power 5 program with a 13-0 record. FAMU finished undefeated in the East Division with an 8-0 conference record (11-1 overall), then defeated West Division champion Prairie View for the conference title.

“We are in fact title town USA and we are going to celebrate those students, their coaches, their staff and all who played a role in making this happen in the city of Tallahassee,” said City Commissioner Curtis Richardson. “We are not going to let some committee tell us. We know they are champions.”

The celebration of champions will coincide with the annual Martin Luther King birthday celebration. Both FAMU and FSU are supporting the event, said City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox.

“It’s going to be about community champions,” she said. “We realize that we have some things that are happening in our city that cannot go unnoticed. We will celebrate our community of champions.”

County Commissioner Bill Proctor went to the heart of the matter, referencing the song “Joy and pain” by Frankie Beverly and Maze. It was an obviously reference to FSU’s 13-0 record, conference title win and being left out of the College Football Playoffs.

“When we have sunshine in our lives we celebrate, but when we have pain in our lives we come together, console (and) encourage.”

He said the community is resilient and will support the celebration because “is the right thing to do.”

By the time the celebration takes place FSU could be declared national champion, as the Associated Press’ No. 1 team.

This is what has to happen for such a scenario to play out: Michigan and Washington have to lose in the early round, leaving Texas or Alabama to play for the championship.  Both teams have one loss, meaning that if either of them ends up as champ the winner will be a one-loss team.

A FSU win over Georgia will leave the Seminoles as the only undefeated team when the AP final poll comes out, making them the national champions. A win over Georgia will also mean that FSU will have beaten the team that won the last two title games.

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