ATLANTA -- Most everyone knows there's nothing quite like a song to transport you, instantly, to another time and place. It's uncanny, really.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier surmised that could happen Friday night when the Chick-fil-A Bowl kicks off inside the Georgia Dome.
It's been nearly a decade since Spurrier has coached against a Florida State team, but the familiar strains of the "Tomahawk Chop" will make it feel like the 1990s all over again.
"I guess when they start playing that song, that Indian chant," Spurrier said, humming the tune, "then I'll say, 'Oh, I've got to hear that all night again.'
"Well, I hope we don't have to hear it all night. That means we're playing well if we don't have to hear that all night."
Of course, a lot of things have changed since 2001, the last time Spurrier saw the Seminoles. Bobby Bowden was in town this week, but as a speaker at the FCA breakfast, and not as FSU's head coach. Jimbo Fisher is in his first season, replacing the legendary Bowden.
Spurrier talked at length this week about Bowden. Looking back at his career, he's almost surprised that Bowden didn't win more than two national titles. (Perhaps, one day, folks will be saying the same about Spurrier and his one.)
Years removed, it's almost as if you could hear Spurrier's growing appreciation for Bowden and Florida State. There was likely always a level of respect there, but now it's allowed to emerge publicly.
"A lot of people don't realize how good those teams were," Spurrier said, even though he wasn't really asked about the FSU teams of yesteryear. "I think 14 straight years they were in the top four in the nation. That means they lost one game or they could have won the national championship every one of those years.
"He's been a tough-luck coach. I mean, that guy, the teams he put together at FSU, they were as good as any in the country for about 10, 12, 14 years there in a row."
It was that yin and yang -- the grandfather-like Bowden and the shooting-from-the-hip Spurrier -- that truly made the Florida-Florida State rivalry.
Spurrier jabbed at FSU as "Free Shoes University." He jabbed at the Seminoles hitting his quarterbacks late, something he mentioned even this month.
"I didn't like that very much," Spurrier said. "That was a little irritating. ... But that's all history."
The history of the series when both men were present was a plus for both programs. It was as interesting of a rivalry as there was in the country, the game being played right around Thanksgiving.
The winner often got a green light toward the national title.
Spurrier went 5-8-1 against Florida State in his Florida tenure. In the Gators' stretch of winning four consecutive SEC titles, from 1993-96, Florida beat Florida State in the regular season only one of those times.
The only blemish on the 1996 season was a 24-21 loss at Florida State. Of course, Spurrier and UF got revenge by destroying the Seminoles in the Sugar Bowl, to win Spurrier's only national title.
"There were some other good ones here and there," Spurrier said, "but that was the most important because it was for all the marbles."
When Florida State didn't have Spurrier to worry about, it suddenly had itself as a concern. Under an aging Bowden, the program began to slip. Fisher entered to return it to its prior level.
An appearance in the ACC title game and a nine- or 10-win season, the former LSU offensive coordinator appears to be on the right track.
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