Florida State vs Michigan: Traditional Football Powers are Hoops Schools Now

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florida state seminolesMICHIGAN WOLVERINES

#4 Florida State Seminoles vs. #1 Michigan Wolverines- yep that is THE 1990s college football game that you want to watch! However, this is actually men’s basketball and the #4 and the #1 refer to NCAA Tournament seeding, not rankings in football polls.

In a sweet 16 that lacks a marquee game, or even much big brand appeal, this is probably it. Florida State-Michigan is your real headliner, and its brand is college football. Or at least it used to be. There are only three schools that have reached the Sweet 16 in each of the last three NCAA Tournaments: Florida State, Michigan and Gonzaga. The last two that we mentioned have been to the last four.

Until this year, the Wolverines had never been to four straight round of sixteens, but they did reach finish national runners-up in 2013 and 2018. They have five more national title game appearances, to go with the two previously mentioned, giving them seven in total.

UM emerged victorious in 1989, giving them their first and only national title. However, this program, coached by alumnus Juwan Howard, has certainly been on the rise lately, at the same time that their blue blood, storied football program has been faltering.

Since 2011, when Big Ten football went to a two divison format and instituted a conference title game, Michigan has failed to ever win the division, and with it earn a title game appearance.

They tied Ohio State in 2018 for the division, but lost the head to head match-up and with it the tie-breaker. Jim Harbaugh, another Michigan man leading his respective program, came back to Ann Arbor with a ludicrously ridiculous hype, and he’s fallen well far short of trying to live up to it.

Michigan’s last national title in football was way back in 1997, and they haven’t been in the mix at that elite top tier since 2006. This for a program that is first all-time in wins (964), winning seasons (120) and final AP poll appearances (61). Meanwhile basketball has been Big Ten regular season champs three times, won the conference tournament twice and made three Elite 8 appearances since the mid 2010s.

As for Florida State, they have a somewhat similar story.

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Thet have claimed 18 ACC championships since 1992 and three national titles since 1993, in football. However, they just simply haven’t been the same since Jimbo Fisher left. In Willie Taggart’s first season, the Seminoles finished with a losing record for the first time since 1976 and missed a bowl game for the first time in 36 years. Taggart was soon fired, and replaced by Mike Norvell, and the pair combined over the past three seasons to go 12-18.

That’s way off the pace for the Noles, who have the tenth-highest winning percentage among all Division I FBS programs with 500+ victories. Florida St. has appeared in 48 postseason bowl games and rank ninth nationally for bowl winning percentage and fourth for bowl wins.

But as Nathaniel Hawthorne famously said, “families are always rising and falling in America.” The same is true for college hoops and college football programs.

Leonard Hamilton’s program has appeared in the last four NCAA Tournaments, at a school that had reached the sweet sixteen only four times prior to his tenure. They also won the ACC regular season and conference tournament titles last season, to go along with their Elite 8 appearance in 2018.

Hamilton has this program moving onwards and upwards. They’ll enter this game as only slight underdogs, at +2.5. Be sure to click on BetQL for the odds, moneylines, point spreads, over/unders and more for every NCAA tournament game.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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