Beantown Getdown

TALLAHASSEE – Both representing their respective schools, Florida State tailback Leon Washington got an early first impression of Mathias Kiwanuka, Boston College's All-American defensive end, over the summer at ACC Media Days.

It was a close encounter that neither would forget.

"I told him that we would bring them some flavor from The South," Washington recalled. "I offered to slide him some cash if he let me run for 200 yards. He didn't find that funny at all."

Kiwanuka countered with a dialect-directed jab.

"He told that me that I talk funny," Washington said. "Rumor has it they talk kind of funny up there."

Donning the pads this time around, the two will meet again on Saturday night when the Seminoles (2-0) travel to face the Eagles (2-0) on the road for the first time since 1976, Bobby Bowden's first season at FSU.

The clash of cultures and confrontation between two significantly different styles of football will also mark Boston College's much-anticipated entrance into the Atlantic Coast Conference.

To say the event is a big deal for the Eagles would be understating things. The BC athletic department issued oversized commemorative tickets for the game and plans to close down its parking lots half an hour before kickoff to funnel a traditionally late-arriving crowd into Alumni Stadium to provide the atmosphere.

"We get to start off with the best," said BC coach Tom O'Brien, whose stint at Virginia as an assistant for George Welsh familiarized him with the league. "It will be great for our school and great for our football team and fans."

An appearance from ESPN's College Gameday crew and a primetime slot (7:45 p.m. ESPN) only will only increase the exposure both programs will garner.

"This is the second time in three weeks that our game will be the game to watch in the country, at least according to those guys," FSU tailback Lorenzo Booker said. "This is going to be our chance to welcome them to the league."

"Until we prove otherwise, they have every right to say that," BC wide receiver/cornerback Will Blackmon said.

All talk aside, the game will also have a huge bearing on the conference standings. The eighth-ranked Seminoles and the No. 16 Eagles are arguably the strongest teams in the ACC's Atlantic Conference. The outcome of the contest would be used as a tiebreaker to decide which team would represent the division in the inaugural conference championship game should both finish with identical records.

"These are the guys we've got to beat to get to the top of our division, so it is important," Bowden said. "It'll be important for us to put a loss on their record somehow and not let them put one on (us)."

Given the exposure of the contest, an impressionable performance, according to Bowden, also "couldn't hurt you."

The Seminoles plucked corner Michael Ray Garvin from New Jersey on National Signing Day this past February and have a verbal commitment from Myron Rolle – a heralded safety from the same area – but haven't otherwise made a dent recruiting the Northeast.

"FSU has a great reputation for going and getting guys from Texas, California and Georgia," center David Castillo said. "Maybe we can start getting them from up there, as well. Hopefully we'll catch the eyes of a couple great recruits and bring them down to Florida."

Fan interest in the game also set a benchmark. Deprived of the rotating array of new locations FSU visited when it was an independent, the Seminole faithful jumped at the chance to travel to a game the wasn't going to be played at a conventional ACC locale.

Alumni Stadium seats just 44,500 and ticket officials customarily allocate visiting schools a maximum of 4,000 tickets. For this game, BC released 500 extra tickets but that wasn't nearly enough to cover the requests calling for over 9,300 that poured into the FSU ticket office.

"The supply and demand situation for this game was paralleled only the (2003) FSU-Notre Dame game a few seasons ago," said FSU ticket office director Patrick Martin, who added that any request submitted after Jun. 1 had to be denied.

"I think the combination of a new destination and unfamiliar opponent made fans circle this one on their calendars."

The date has also been circled on the calendars of the Boston College players, who had to endure a season of scorn from the fans of opposing teams in their final Big East campaign last fall.

"A relief will come from having all the buildup and hype that gone into this game put to rest," Kiwanuka said. "We're excited to show people what we are about."

Other Reactions:

"It'll give us some great national exposure and a chance to visit a different part of the country. It'll be exciting for them since it's their first ACC game. After that first play that'll all be gone and it'll be time to get after it." -- LB Buster Davis

"We're very excited to play Boston College. They have a lot of tradition, we respect them and they are great team. The one thing Boston College does is play the big game. It's on their home turf and they are going to ready. Different atmosphere, different team. They have our focus. They got history and they are no pushover.There are no pushovers anymore. Everyday you have to go or you'll get beat."

"Boston's a fun town. It has an aura about it and it's kind of an unknown land so to speak for most people down here." --- Castillo, who is a New York Yankees fan

"It's all around good for the league." -- FB James Coleman

"It's here. We're finally ready to get this whole conference thing start. We're just ready to get the show on the road. You want to play against the best teams. That's what you play college football for. FSU is a great team that has a great tradition." – Blackmon


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