This time of year is distracting for me because it's the start
of the college football season, which means I'll be spending my
Saturday afternoons thinking almost as much about my Florida
State Seminoles as my chipping and putting. Although I'm
originally from Rochester, N.Y., and live outside Chicago, I
graduated from Florida State in 1980 and have been bleeding
garnet and gold ever since.
There are quite a few college football fanatics on Tour. A lot
of the guys went to big-time football schools, like Florida,
Ohio State and Texas, so there's always a lot of talk in the
clubhouse. Mike Hulbert is such a Syracuse fan that he ran off
after practice on Saturday at the Milwaukee Open to get to a
restaurant where he could watch the Orangemen play North
Carolina State. Syracuse lost 32-31 in overtime, which means
he'll get some razzing from the guys at the next tournament.
Then there's Dudley Hart, who might be the world's biggest
Florida Gators fan. The week after Florida State beat Florida
24-21 last fall in Tallahassee he didn't really want to see me,
but he was feeling much better after the Gators won the rematch
52-20 in the Sugar Bowl in January to clinch the national
championship. I attended that game and have to admit they really
kicked our butts. I don't think there was any question they were
the best team in the country.
I'm an especially big fan of Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden. I
played nine holes with him back in the mid-'80s at a memorial
tournament for Dick Howser, a former baseball coach at Florida
State, and found that in addition to being a great coach, he's a
funny guy. I've played with a lot of people from the
entertainment industry, like Bill Murray and Joe Pesci, but
playing with Coach Bowden was a big thrill. Since then, he has
given me sideline passes for some games.
I'm anxious to see how the 'Noles fare this year. The schedule
is tough, with games against USC, Miami, Virginia, North
Carolina and Florida, but they'll be up to the challenge. I
think they're better than sixth, which is what SI picked them.
No way is Penn State No. 1. I bet the national championship is
decided on Nov. 22 when Florida State plays at Florida. I'm
going to go out on a limb and pick the 'Noles 31-28 over the
Gators. Although I'm going to be coming back from an appearance
in Japan and won't be able to attend the game, I'll find a
television set somewhere to watch it. When the Seminoles win,
Dudley's never going to hear the end of it.
Sluman will skip the Canadian Open to see FSU play at USC.