Mike Gundy called Florida State “as good a team as we’ve ever played.”
During Gundy’s tenure, the list of opponents has included some hefty foes, including 2005 national champion Texas.
FSU, of course, won the BCS title a year ago and is ranked No. 1 as the strong favorite to repeat, with 15 starters returning, including Heisman Trophy quarterback Jameis Winston.
Cowboys defensive tackle James Castleman hasn’t been around as long as Gundy, yet he shares the high praise for the Seminoles.
“I think that this team as a whole will probably be one of the better teams we will ever face,” Castleman said. “I also think this team offensively, their O-line and receiver corps, will be probably the best we will face. This offensive line is probably the biggest all around. They average around 310 pounds, so that’s the biggest I’ve ever seen since I’ve been here.”
Still, Castleman and his teammates say they’re more excited than anxious about the matchup.
“I’m excited to play against them,” Castleman said. “I’m excited to play against the Heisman winner. I’m excited about all of it.”
NOLES NOT AFRAID OF BIG STAGE
Florida State hopes to be back at AT&T Stadium in January for the national championship game.
But first, the Seminoles are focused on facing OSU in the Cowboys Classic.
It’s an early game on the big stage, yet a stage that most on the team are quite accustomed to being on.
“National championship (game) was a big stage and a lot of them got to play in that one,” said FSU coach Jimbo Fisher. “They got to play in the ACC championship. They got to play at Clemson.
“But the opening jitters of a first game is always going to be there. That’s all part of sports, how you handle those situations, how you handle those arenas.
“But we’ve been in a lot of big games.”
OSU fullback Teddy Johnson on playing at AT&T Stadium: “Dallas is where I’m from, and it’s where we’ve played a lot of our (bowl) games. It’s where we played the Cotton Bowl. It means a lot to me to be able to go back home and start my senior year with such a big game.”
COWBOYS CLASSIC: PARKING PASSES RECOMMENDED
Officials in charge of parking for the Cowboys Classic are urging fans to purchase parking passes in advance, saving $5 on the price and likely saving much hassle, while guaranteeing a spot in the AT&T Stadium parking lot.
You can buy parking passes at http://www.ticketmaster.com/parking-att-stadium.
Driving into the stadium lots may be tricky, with some construction complicating routes.
The Dallas Cowboys offer maps for the best routes into the stadium at www.dallascowboysmaps.com.
Here are two preferred routes, eastbound and westbound, offered by game officials:
I-30 Eastbound Preferred Route: Take I-30 Eastbound to Center Street (Exit 27B); Keep Right on ramp toward Center Street; Turn Right on Center Street; Turn Left on Randol Mill Road to Blue Lots or Turn Left on Division Street and Left on AT&T Way (formerly Legends Way) to Silver Lots.
I-30 Westbound Preferred Route: Take I-30 Westbound to SH 161; Take SH 161 Southbound to Main Street/Division Street exit; Turn Right on Main Street/Division Street; Turn Right on AT&T Way (formerly Legends Way) to Silver Lots or Turn Right on Collins Street to Blue Lots.
COWBOYS ADD NUTRITIONIST
Gundy has always believed in taking care of his players, even employing chefs at the training table.
Now the Cowboys have a nutritionist, too.
OSU has announced the hiring of a full-time nutritionist, Charles Hewitt, a former Texas A&M football walk-on.
Hewitt spent last year completing a dietetic internship and finishing his certification at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala. Before that, he spent two years at North Carolina State, where he helped build its sports nutrition program.