Earlier in the summer it was reported all over the media circuit on how Coach Taggart and the Florida State program would like to play more teams out west. With the recent buzz of “Westside Noles” since the new era has started, this seems like a great idea. The two teams that were automatically assumed of was UCLA and USC. Both of whom Florida State has played in the last 20 years (UCLA in the 06 Emerald Bowl and USC 97/98). There is nothing more that I would want than a series with either program from LA, but I have another team on my mind. The team on my mind is Arizona State, who we have played four times, and even played against in the first Fiesta Bowl. In my opinion there is some cherry picking to be done in the state of Arizona from an east coast team like Florida State.
Wildcats or Sun Devils?
While some would ask why the Sun Devils instead of the Wildcats, I would tell them there is a reasonable explanation for this. The Arizona State Sun Devils are in Tempe Arizona, and The Arizona Wildcats are in Tuscon Arizona. If you did not know Tempe is basically in the Phoenix area which is currently a hot bed of population growth. Meanwhile Tuscon is a couple hours away from the Phoenix area. According to Forbes, the Phoenix metropolitan area is the #11th fastest growing US city.
With a population boom happening, this will also increase the potential to more prospects coming up. Bear Bryant claimed that the state of Florida was a sleeping giant for football (mainly towards UF). He knew the population boom would eventually help the programs. This is what can possibly happen for the state of (Phoenix) Arizona in the midst of the population boom, and could give the Sun Devils a huge advantage.
It would be wise for the Florida State program to choose an area and team where their brand name could cherry pick the area for recruiting.
Tidewater Area of Virginia
- Khalon Laborn
- EJ Manuel
- Levonta Taylor
- Josh Sweat
- Derrick Nnadi
What do all the following players have in common besides being Seminoles? They are all from the Tidewater area of Virginia, especially Virginia Beach. Love him or hate him but Jimbo Fisher saw the opening to where FSU could cherry pick that area to where they basically have a pipe line. The last two years FSU landed the #1 recruit in the whole state of Virginia. Virginia Cavaliers and Virginia Tech are not heavy punchers in recruiting so the area was vulnerable.
According to Rivals, ASU is ranked #57 and Arizona is ranked #68 in the team recruiting rankings. The top recruit in Arizona has not stayed home since 2016 with N’Keal Harry. The Phoenix area is ready to be cherry picked by the NOLES.
Pros of scheduling Arizona State
#1. It’s a easy recruiting area to poach the states top talent
As mentioned above, the best recruit in the state of Arizona has not stayed home since 2016. With the population boom happening in Phoenix there is a lot of impressionable prospects that are growing up. The inconsistencies of the Wildcats, Sun Devils, and the PAC-12 as a whole leaves wiggle room for an East Coast team.
#2. It’s in a great regional location and close to LA
Did you know that a drive from Los Angeles to Phoenix is a little over five hours? A flight from LA to Phoenix is reasonably priced as well. Florida State playing in Tempe would be great for the upcoming talent in AZ, but easy access for prospect in California to get to.
#3. The brand name spreads further
No one is satisfied being just a regional school, every fan base inspires to become a national brand. Doing something that would mimic the Seminoles from the Independent days would expand the brand. No one on the east coast is looking for games in the west.
ASU vs. FSU Brief History
Head to Head: FSU 3-1
First Meeting: 1971
The first time Florida State and Arizona State would meet was in the inaugural 1971 Fiesta Bowl. That is correct, the Fiesta Bowl which belongs to the NY6 group was first played by the Noles. At one time Arizona State was in the Western Athletic Conference (The WAC now defunct) and that conference basically created the Fiesta Bowl. The WAC was tired and frustrated over their conference champ being passed up by bowl invitations. So they created the Fiesta Bowl to ensure their champion had somewhere to go, and to be celebrated. The first Fiesta Bowl matchup was a WAC Champion and top ten Arizona State team against a top twenty Florida State team. The first Fiesta Bowl was an offensive show, with the Noles losing by a touchdown 45-38 to the Sun Devils.
One of the best games in the series came in 1983 where the Noles won 29-26 and won in the final seconds with a magical drive in Tempe. Losing to Arizona State in 1983 would have costed the Noles a bowl bid. Check out the video of the drive that won the Seminoles the game below.
Game Results (winners in bold)
1971 Arizona State 45 Florida State 38
1979 Florida State 31 Arizona State 3
1983 Florida State 29 Arizona State 26
1984 Florida State 52 Arizona State 44