Oh, Xavier. For those of you who aren’t familiar with that name, just turn to the college football pages in any national newspaper and you will become quickly acquainted with him.
Xavier Beitia, a native of Tampa and Florida State University’s place-kicker, is quite possibly one of the most hated men in Florida right now.
This past Saturday, a historic college football showdown took place in Miami. University of Miami versus Florida State University has been a heated rivalry for as long as most of us can remember. Although FSU’s one-point loss this weekend won’t do too much harm them in the national rankings, fans will blame Beitia for many seasons to come.
FSU had the chance to stop the steamroller Miami has become, but instead missed a great opportunity due to a damn field goal attempt. Again.
Being the avid FSU fan (and former student) that I am, I coerced my manager at work to flip the channels on our DirecTV display over to ABC to cheer my team on. I was checking people out when the field goal was missed, and I actually dropped what I had in my hands.
I knew this game would be tough on the ‘Noles, and they far exceeded my expectations; I’m a fan, but I’m also a realist. But this curse has plagued the garnet and gold for far too long, and they fell prey to it one more time.
Wide right, wide left, it’s all pretty much the same. First, it was in 1991 against Miami, then again in 1992 with Miami, October of 2000 with Miami, and now the 2002 season against — guess who — Miami.
All of these missed field goals were potential game-winning kicks. And they missed every one. Thankfully, this season, it was simply for a boost in the polls. Oh yeah, and respect.
Did FSU earn the respect it deserves? Yes, it’s recognized as the top college team of the 1990s. But how many people out there are concentrating on that? All they see is a team that has finished in the top five – five times in the last six years, that can’t hack it anymore.
On the brighter side, this weekend FSU came closer to conquering the Hurricanes than any other team in the last couple of games. The Gators sure couldn’t pull it off.
This FSU team has large shoes to fill. In the 1999-2000 BCS rankings, Miami didn’t even rank in the top 15. Now they’re number one and apparently unstoppable. This is a spot FSU is normally accustomed to occupying, and take it from a fan who knows, it’s hard to take the ribbing. Being a ‘Noles fan has its ups and downs, and the past two seasons seem to ride mainly on the down.
We keep telling ourselves that this is a young team, that the Warrick Dunns and the Peter Warricks and the Chris Weinkes are gone. And while fans wait for their successors to emerge as great as the aforementioned have, they’ll keep on trucking until the National Title comes around again.
Jessica Higgins is a junior majoring in mass firstname.lastname@example.org