Week 7 - Boston College at Florida State

Trip Start Sep 01, 2012
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15
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Trip End Nov 26, 2012


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Flag of United States  , Florida
Saturday, October 13, 2012

This game was a special one.  Janell had played flute in the Florida State Marching Chiefs, and she was very excited to bring Jason and the boys to a Florida State game.  We tailgated with some of Janell's very good friends from Florida State, and it was a fantastic day!
   
There's a lot to write, so let's get to the ratings:

Stadium - Bobby Bowden Field at Doak S. Campbell Stadium is a very good looking stadium from the outside.  The south side features a stunning visage with a statue of Chief Osceola holding a flaming spear.  It is lit at sunset on the night before a game and isn't extinguished until sunrise the morning after a game.  Once you get through the gate, you enter a somewhat dark and featureless concessions no-mans-land, which is in direct contrast with the outside and inside of the stadium.  The stadium is a large bowl with no upper deck that seats somewhere around 83,000 people.  There is a nice pair of jumbotrons, with the larger one being on the north side of the stadium.  It was hard to tell how loud it would get, since the game was so lopsided, but there were rumors of some vibrating eardrums during the Clemson game.   Rating - 8 of 10.

Tailgating -  We were given directions to our tailgating location by our good friends, Vince and Shannon Chicerelli and Kristen and Casey Collins, who had driven from Jacksonville to secure out spot by 10am.  We pulled up to our spot with a canopy, a catered spread from Moe's, a TV playing the Oklahoma-Texas game, and an empty parking lot for the kids to play football.  It was a fantastic set up for hanging out with some old friends.  

After watching the band warm up (see below), we walked along the west and south sides of the stadium to observe the rest of the tailgating.  We walked past a few small tailgates just like ours that were tucked into the nooks and crannies of the campus.  Other than that, there was actually very little open space on the north and west sides of the stadium.  That space had all been open in the early 90's when Janell attended Florida State, but it has since been filled in with buildings and sports facilities.  

Personally, we had a fantastic tailgating experience, thanks to our hosts.   However, the rating is based on the overall tailgating at Florida State.  Jason walked through a bit of it, and there was quite a bit of stuff set up for people to do on the south side of the stadium.  However, there simply isn't enough open space around the stadium anymore for Florida State to be an elite tailgating location.   Rating - 7 of 10.

The Game - The Florida State fans were reeling a bit from last week's disappointing loss at North Carolina State.  Combine that with an unheralded Boston College opponent that was just coming off of a loss to Army, and the atmosphere in the stadium was a bit subdued compared to many other games Janell had seen in that stadium.  That being said, it was a Florida State football game, and there was quite a bit of excitement as game time approached.  

Boston College looked fairly good on the first drive, and before we knew it they had first and goal from the one yardline.  There was a bit of a sense of "here we go again" in the stadium, but Florida State held them on four straight plays.  Boston College walked away with zero points.  Florida State quickly scored on a 77-yard touchdown pass, and never looked back.  After the second score, the fans started to relax a bit, but Boston College scored with two minutes left in the first half to make it 28-7.  Florida State closed out the first half with a 51-yard field goal to make it 31-7.  Ironically, this is the same distance where the Seminoles elected to NOT kick a field goal up 16-10 against NC State last week.  Against Boston College, Florida State scored nine times in all, and ended up winning 51-7.  It really wasn't much of a game, but it was nice to see the Florida State playing like a top 10 team.  It was a totally different team than we saw the week before.  Rating - 3 of 10.

The Band -  There was obviously a lot of anticipation for this band, since everybody we were with played in the Florida State Marching Chiefs during their college years.  Expectations were high, as Janell was eager to show Jason her alma matter in action.  So, there is quite a bit more to be said in the band section this week than in other weeks.

A large group of us managed to tear ourselves away from the tailgate, and we made our way to the Skull Session.  This is when the band goes to the baseball stadium to warm up and get their heads straight for their upcoming performance.  The baseball stadium itself is quite impressive for a college baseball stadium, and it was easy to see why FSU has one of the top college baseball programs in the country.  There were actually more people in attendance at the FSU band's Skull Session than at the Lewis and Clark game in week 3.  Once the band had finished with their section shows, they tuned up by playing long whole notes to get the sound just right.  For all you engineering geeks out there, a marching band's volume is very dependent on how well in tune the instruments are with one another.  Identical sound waves will amplify each other, while sound waves that are slightly off will cancel each other out.  Janell got chills just watching them tune.

Once the skull session was over, the band dressed up for the march to the stadium.  We dutifully waited along the road for them to parade past.  One of Janell's friends from FSU, Dave Plack, is the Director of Athletic Bands (which, by the way, is a dream job for a band geek and FSU football fan) came by with the band and stopped to say hello.  He even saw Jason's Iowa State hat and asked how they did against Kansas State!  It's not like he was busy or anything.

This band certainly knows how to make an entrance.  When it was time for the band to come out for pre-game, a giant garage door opened up, and they poured out onto the field, and quickly made their presence known.  The crowd was also very into it.  And yes, they do play the War Chant just as often as it sounds like they do on TV.

For halftime, they played a Henry Mancini show, including a tuba feature during Baby Elephant Walk.  Their sound was quite impressive, but that is to be expected from a band that boasts a membership of over 400.  Their marching was very sharp.  They obviously have drilled on how to make a crisp turn, and they did an amazing job of having 400 people do the same thing at the same time, including a bow at the end.  It was obvious that a lot of hard work and dedication went into their preparation.  That being said, there was a major phasing issue during the Pink Panther.  It sounded like the tubas were playing a completely different song than the rest of the band, and the two halves of the field were a bit off from each other.  After the Mancini show, they played Amazing Grace as a very emotional and moving tribute to Dr. James Croft, Director of Bands Emeritus, who had passed away last month.  

This band would have gotten a 10 rating, but it was hard to ignore the major phasing issue during the first halftime song.  Rating - 9 of 10

Fans - To be honest, this was a hard week to give the Florida State fans a true rating.  There were very few Boston College fans in attendance, and the game wasn't ever close.  Since it was such a blowout, the stadium was half empty by the end of the third quarter. We didn't see anything bad directed to the Boston College fans, but one of our friends who is a Florida fan specifically didn't wear any obvious Florida gear because he didn't want his nine-year-old to hear anything that got shouted at him.  The Boston College team, however, received a resounding chorus of boos when they ran out of the tunnel.  I even heard a 10-year-old kid yelling "You suck!" at the BC team.  This was clearly a learned behavior for the young man.  I heard a lot of negativity directed toward the refs during a blowout game.  It would be interesting to see what a close game would be like.  The FSU fans were pretty good about cheering during important defensive plays, but again, the game wasn't very close from the get-go, so this is a hard thing to judge.  There was one major thing that bothered me, though.  The dreaded wave started during the middle of the marching band's halftime performance and continued throughout the tribute to the recently deceased director of bands.  I found this to be incredibly rude, but as the marching band director put it to the band after the game, "Don't be discouraged by the wave.  They know not what they do.  They were all probably drunk."  Rating - 7 of 10

Best Player -  There really wasn't anybody on the Boston College team that had a standout performance.  The only ones who came close were the kickoff returner and the punter, as both did fairly well with their high volume of opportunities.  The Florida State defense played very well, but there was a clear candidate for best player this week.  Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel had 439 yards passing with a 79.6% completion percentage, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions.  He even picked up one of his receiver's fumble for an 11 yard gain.

Overall - We had been looking forward to our visit to Tallahassee the whole trip, and we weren't disappointed. We had a great time tailgating with our friends, and we can't thank them enough for having everything all set up to the point where we didn't have to lift a finger. They play in a nice stadium, and the fans are passionate about their team. The Marching Chiefs was very good. The only problem was that the game wasn't even remotely close.  If the game had been more exciting, this one would have been a 10. Rating - 9 of 10

Bonus Fact #1:  Florida State just started a beach volleyball team
http://www.seminoles.com/sports/w-svolley/fsu-w-svolley-body.html

Bonus Fact #2:  Florida State has a circus program, complete with a big top.  You can learn to do circus stunts as an extracurricular activity.
http://circus.fsu.edu/

Bonus Video: If you have 10 minutes or so, check out this video of the Ohio State marching band doing a video game show at the Nebraska game last week.  This has to be the best halftime show I've ever seen.  Check out the horse...amazing!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhKxROFHtHs
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