Business Trip

There‘s no denying <b> Notre Dame's </b> mystique and tradition. However, the Fighting Irish are just another team to many Florida State Seminoles. "They weren't in my top five. At the time they were recruiting me, they were just getting a new coach (Tyrone Willingham)," Daivs told TheTerritory. "By then, I already had my top five. Nah, I wasn't into ("Rudy"). When I grew up, it was all Florida State-Florida in my family."

The fifth-ranked Seminoles (7-1) are returning to South Bend, Ind., for the first time since the epic 1993 battled between the two programs. While Notre Dame upended FSU that day, the Irish fell the following weekend to Boston College and the Seminoles went on to beat Nebraska in the Orange Bowl for the program's first national title.

"Well, that's one where you lost the battle and won the war. You lost the battle, but you did win the war -- you won a national championship," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said.

"To be honest with you, it (defeat) didn't hurt any more than the one at Nebraska did, or the one at Florida, or the one -- I've had some hurt that bad."

FSU, at the moment, is feeling pretty good about itself though it obviously can't afford another slipup.

The Seminoles have climbed back to No. 3 behind Oklahoma and Miami in the Bowl Championship Series rankings, though the debate ranges on whether that will hold true if all the contenders continue to win.

Still, there are a number of big games that will impact the rankings this weekend -- Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, Miami-Virginia Tech, Southern Cal-Washington State, Florida-Georgia.

Bowden, of course, is not worried about outside distractions.

"I haven't really made a study on that at all," Bowden said of the rankings and matchups.

"Again, when you're coaching, there's only one thing you can control, and that's your own team. I can't control all the other stuff, and for sure, I won't worry about it. I think a lot of things would have to happen."

Bowden knows what he doesn't want to happen -- and that's overlooking a struggling but dangerous Irish team that whipped the Seminoles in Tallahassee last year.

And, at 2-5, Notre Dame would love nothing more to spoil FSU's season for the second consecutive year -- even if the Irish are ranked 103rd in the nation in total offense, 73rd in scoring defense, 106th in net punting and 90th in turnover margin.

"The advantage that we have in that regard, mentally, is what happened to us last year," Bowden said.

"They came in and just thoroughly beat us on our home field. I think if I didn't say nothing, they (FSU players) would remember that. We used to never lose a game like that in Tallahassee. They came in here and just wore us out. They wore us out no worse than Miami did, because we turned the ball over. That's what turnovers do to you."

There's also that Notre Dame tradition and mystique, qualities that are a big deal to some Seminoles.

"I considered Notre Dame but they didn't offer me," center David Castillo said.

"No one has more tradition than they do. Everyone has watched "Rudy," everybody knows what Notre Dame is about. It's going to be a great time that I get to go out there and play. I can tell my grandkids that I got to play in South Bend and got to play at Notre Dame Stadium."

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