The Florida State Seminoles will have a number of high-powered local fans come Monday night when they meet Auburn for the national collegiate football championship.
Jesse Jackson, Superintendent of Lake Wales Charter Schools, isn’t sure how much he’ll actually get to see the game, but has confidence the No. 1 Seminoles will win the title.
“I might watch a little bit,” Jackson explains. And he’ll be in Tallahassee when the game is played.
“I’m trying to graduate in the spring with my doctorate. I haven’t got time to sit and watch a whole football game,” says Jackson, who earned his Masters at FSU and that is where he is working on his Ph.D.
But he is familiar with Florida State’s accomplishments.
“The Seminoles have shown themselves to be a dominate force regardless of who they are playing. Their play is centered around their quarterback (Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston) and he has been flawless. They’re really just unstoppable on offense.”
Jackson expects FSU to earn the national championship in Pasadena, California.
“They are the best team and the best team should win that game. They have proven themselves all season.”
A.J. Jackson is a member of the Bartow City Commission and there is a commission meeting scheduled for Jan. 6. He isn’t certain he’ll catch the start of the game.
“I’m surrounded by Gators on the commission. I’m not sure I’d get much sympathy for rescheduling a commission meeting because of a football game, “ A.J. points out.
A.J. is a member of the FSU booster club and has football season tickets.
“I’m pretty dedicated. I’ve had season tickets for years. I gave some consideration to going to the game, but I decided against it.”
The local leader is confident his alma mater will prevail.
“I don’t think Auburn can stop our passing offense. The question is whether we can stop the Auburn running offense. I think there are going to be some points scored. We’ve not faced a rushing attack like they have. I hope it doesn’t come down to luck, because they’ve been pretty lucky this season.”
Anne Dickinson, the Mayor of Frostproof, has kept an eye on her school too.
“I really do think Florida State will win. I’m not just saying that. I think their quarterback is good and they have good leadership,” she noted.
As for watching the game, Dickinson plans to watch it at home with her husband Dick, a Gator fan.
“He’ll probably be asleep before halftime,” she chuckled. “We agreed a long time ago that if one of our teams loses, the other doesn’t rub it in. But I think I can gloat a little.”
Dickinson might not be a dedicated football fan, but she knows something about the game.
“We need to have a good start. Sometimes we don’t play too well in the first quarter. But I do think we’ll win.”
Casey Fletcher, President of Pallet One in Bartow, remembers the bad times at FSU. “I went to school there before Bobby Bowden arrived and turned it around. I went to one game this year in the new stadium. When I was in college, it was so quiet. It’s not that way anymore. It was my first game in 15 years,” he said.
Fletcher will watch the game, but he’ll have it in perspective.
“It’s a bunch of kids running into each other. I think if Auburn wins, my wife and children will still love me.”