Bowden concedes FSU is out of BCS


Published: Monday, November 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 1, 2004 at 1:26 a.m.

TALLAHASSEE - Florida State fans are used to missed field goals over the years, but an offense that misfires is another story.

The offense, which has been particularly inept on the road this season, struggled again Saturday and Xavier Beitia missed three field goal tries as the Seminoles were upset 20-17 at Maryland.

After Saturday's loss, the Seminoles dropped from ranking fifth nationally to 13th and also found themselves in fourth place in the ACC, seemingly out of the running for the Bowl Championship Series.

All of a sudden, the Gator Bowl is looking good, albeit the possibility of the Continental Tire Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., or the inaugural Champs Sports (formerly Tangerine Bowl) game in Orlando by year's end could be more realistic.

``We're not in the BCS equation anymore,'' Bowden conceded Sunday. ``We had our shot.''

Florida State (6-2, 4-2 ACC) has won the league 11 of the 12 years it's belonged, but now sits behind Miami, Virginia and Virginia Tech as the teams head into the final portion of their schedules.

``Now you find out what kind of guys you recruited,'' Bowden said. ``Now it gets down to pride.''

The Seminoles have some personnel decisions to make as well.

Beitia, who made the first game-winning kick of his four-year career just last week at Wake Forest, missed a chance to tie the game with 4:40 left when his third miss of the day - this from 45 yards- sailed wide left.

``Right now he's the kicker,'' Bowden said. ``We'll talk about that (today).''

Beitia is among a group of Florida State kickers over the years who have missed crucial field goals against Miami in high-stakes games. And he's come up short on three occasions against the Hurricanes and struggled in others, especially this year.

Bowden deflected questions about the team's problems on the offense, which has been coached by his youngest son, Jeff Bowden, the last four seasons.

``We tried everything,'' Bobby Bowden said. ``Maybe one more great throw, we might have been able to win the game. Or you might say 'one more great catch.' ''

Bowden, who was asked several questions about Florida State's unsuccessful attempts to throw deep, also praised Maryland's effort.

``They changed their personality,'' Bowden said. ``Maryland hadn't been playing like this.''

Bowden put senior quarterback Chris Rix into the game for the fourth quarter in hopes of a spark and Rix managed to complete 8 of 21 passes for 140 yards and the lone offensive touchdown - Rix's first of the season and the 61st of his career.

``I was hoping Chris would come in and win the game,'' Bowden said. ``I'd like to see him go out that way.''

Starter Wyatt Sexton, who finished with 164 yards passing on a 14 of 30 performance, was relieved after taking a beating from Maryland's defense.

Bowden didn't say Sunday who he'd start against Duke on Saturday, but indicated he'd probably stay with Sexton with Rix at the ready.

Beitia, Rix and a host of other seniors are in the first group of players in a dozen years to not play for a national title during their careers at Florida State.

With a six-game winning streak and their national titles hopes behind them, Florida State sandwiches in its final road game - a nationally televised Veterans Day game Nov. 11 at North Carolina State - between home games Saturday against Duke and Nov. 20 against Florida.

``The best thing we can do is take care of business one game at a time,'' said Bowden.

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