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Florida State left itself out to dry
By Jack Arute
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While everybody looks and says the key to the FedEx Orange Bowl was Oklahoma's defense, that is only part of the story. If you look at the statistics, Florida State had more passing yards (274-214) and total yards (301-270). Florida State lost the turnover war (3-2), but what really killed the Seminoles was time of possession.

There were two reasons for what happened. First and foremost, there was the long break between the Florida game and the Orange Bowl. Secondly, Mark Richt's divided attention hurt the offense.

Mark Richt
After taking the head coaching position at Georgia, Mark Richt could not devote his full attention to FSU's offense.
Bobby Bowden has always maintained that if a member of his coaching staff is hired for a new position that they stay until after the bowl game. It worked last year with his linebackers coach, Chuck Amato, but it certainly did not work this year with Richt.

That's not to say Richt called a bad game, but Florida State (and Bowden admitted it freely) underestimated Oklahoma. With that in mind, the Seminoles elected not to change their offensive game plan from their regular season approach. This failed to account for the absence of Snoop Minnis, as well as the second key to their loss, the limited number of days they practiced prior to the game.

When Florida State fought Tennessee in the 1999 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, the 'Noles practiced so hard and so long that they left their legs on the practice field. That's why I have always felt Marcus Outzen took too much of the blame for FSU's loss two years ago.

Last year, in preparation for their National Championship Game against Virginia Tech, Bowden and Co. reduced the number of practice days and the results were positive. So they did likewise this year, practicing a little more than two weeks over the 40-plus day period between the games.

Following the game, Coach Bowden admitted (and it was evident to those who have followed the Seminoles closely) that the team was out of sync on offense.

With all that said, it should not diminish what Oklahoma accomplished. The Sooners ran the table and brought home their 13th victory of the season. Bob Stoops now faces a difficult decision. I believe him when he says that he wants to remain in Norman, but the question to be answered is, How much money from Ohio State could change his mind?

While on the subject of coaching changes, I have learned from a source within the FSU coaching staff that Jeff Bowden will be named Mark Richt's successor as the Seminoles' offensive coordinator.

There is a certain serendipity to the way everything worked out. The BCS and the AP have finally agreed on No. 1 and No. 2. Those who watched the Hurricanes win against Florida in the Nokia Sugar Bowl certainly will not argue against their runner-up placement. It was like watching an NFL game in terms of speed and hard hits.

But the biggest and hardest hit incurred by the Hurricanes came in the Orange Bowl when Quentin Griffin scored the touchdown to give Oklahoma a 13-zip lead. Coach Butch Davis was at Pro Player Stadium, but left before the Sooners delivered their knockout blow. I'm sure it is a bitter pill to swallow.

My early favorite for next year's National Championship Game in the Rose Bowl is the Miami Hurricanes.

Jack Arute writes a column every Monday for  

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 Oklahoma's Torrance Marshall grabs the Chris Weinke pass that sets up the first OU field goal.
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 Oklahoma's Quentin Griffin scampers 10 yards for the game's only touchdown.
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 Oklahoma's Derrick Strait knocks away a Florida State pass on a game-saving play.
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 Oklahoma's Rocky Calmus hits Chris Weinke from behind, causing the key fumble.
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 Florida State's Rich Maher pounces on the punter as the Seminoles avoid a shutout.
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 Coach Bobby Bowden talks after his team's Orange Bowl loss.
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 Bobby Bowden talks to ABC's Jack Arute after his team's Orange Bowl defeat.
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