There’s still more than two years to go before Florida State meets LSU in New Orleans, and another year after that before the Seminoles host the Tigers at Camping World Stadium.
But if ever there were a time to look ahead a little bit, this would be it.
Mike Norvell was in the mood to talk about the future during a Tuesday videoconference with members of Orlando-based Florida Citrus Sports, the organization responsible for the Citrus Bowl, the Camping World Bowl, Camping World Kickoff and the annual Florida Classic.
During a 30-minute session, dubbed “FCS Chalk Talk” and hosted by veteran broadcaster Paul Kennedy, Norvell fielded questions about the state of FSU football and offered some insights about how the Seminoles have adapted to a new world shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also spent time talking about what will most certainly be a better day ahead: The Seminoles’ 2023 season-opener against LSU in Orlando.
FSU and LSU have a surprisingly deep history on the football field, having met nine times between 1968 and 1991. The Seminoles own a 7-2 record in the all-time series and won the last meeting, a 27-16 triumph in Baton Rouge, La., in October 1991, while ranked No. 1 in the country.
“I think it’s such an incredible game,” Norvell said, “and it will be a wonderful matchup against another great program in college football. To be able to give the country that type of game to kick off the season, being able to do it there in Orlando is going to be great for our fan base.”
Indeed, the central Florida area boasts one of the highest concentrations of FSU fans, supporters and alumni in the nation, and the university has a long tradition of bringing games to Orlando whenever possible.
The Seminoles have played 11 football games in Orlando, including regular-season contests against Ole Miss (2016), Wake Forest (1996), Duke (1995), Notre Dame (1994), Virginia Tech (1991) and Memphis (1990).
“We’ve enjoyed a long relationship with Florida State University, obviously,” said Steve Hogan, the chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Sports.
“It goes back to Bobby Bowden’s first bowl game.”
The Seminoles won that game, a 40-17 triumph in the 1977 Tangerine Bowl, and went on to win memorable Orlando-based bowls against Wisconsin (2008) and Notre Dame (2011).
In fact, FSU has never lost in Orlando – its only blemishes are ties against Stetson in 1952 and Georgia in the 1984 Citrus Bowl.
Come 2023, the Seminoles will put that unbeaten record on the line against an LSU program that won a national title in 2019.
“It’s going to be an extraordinary atmosphere and obviously one that we’re looking forward to,” Norvell said. “I’m definitely glad that we were able to get that one on the schedule. I think it’s going to be exciting for everyone.”
Kennedy, who called FSU football games for several years as part of the Sunshine Network’s broadcast team, likes what he’s seen so far from Norvell.
While it’s of course too early to make comparisons to the legendary Bowden, Kennedy said he’s already noticed some similar personality traits between the two.
“When people get to know him (Norvell), they will like him,” Kennedy said. “And that, I think, is very important within the Florida State family.
“(Bowden) was a beloved figure. And I think (Norvell) has that opportunity.”
He’s already made believers out of the people at Florida Citrus Sports.
Hogan, the FCS CEO, said he was impressed by Norvell’s willingness to take time out of his schedule – which has been totally upended over the last few weeks – to participate in Tuesday’s videoconference.
“It’s huge for him to do that,” Hogan said. “Under these circumstances, and just being new to the program … it speaks volumes.
“We couldn’t be more excited about Coach Norvell. What you see today is a reinforcement of that. He’s very much into his family and his faith. And he’s a leader. He’s everything that you would want in somebody who is leading a program in our state.”