What does 'Unconquered' Mean for Florida State University?

Florida State's football team just received rings signifying a 13-0 regular season and ACC Championship. This has been all the uproar amongst fans as they ended up losing to the Georgia Bulldogs in the Orange Bowl. The rings and word "unconquered" that appear on it need and deserve some clarifying however.
Dec 30, 2023; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles mascot Chief Osceola and Renegade take
Dec 30, 2023; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles mascot Chief Osceola and Renegade take / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

“Unconquered.” This is a word that SEC fans seem to be taking out of context when it comes to the Florida State football team in 2023.

The Florida State Seminoles capped an undefeated regular season at 12-0, and then went on to win the ACC Championship to make it 13-0. An even more impressive feat is that they won the ACC Championship with their third-string quarterback.

After not making it into the college football playoff at the discretion of the selection committee, many of their players opted out of the Orange Bowl against the Georgia Bulldogs of the SEC. The Seminoles would go onto lose 63-3.

Fast forward four months and the Seminoles were awarded rings that said boasted a 13-0 record with the words “unconquered” and “champions” on in reference to their ACC Championship they won.

This is where the word unconquered was taken out of context not only in the SEC, but across the college football landscape.

Understanding the Word 'Unconquered' as it pertains to Florida State University and the Seminole Tribe of Florida

For the past 20 years, a statue with a symbolic figure carrying a spear on horseback with the word “unconquered” below it has been in front of Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.

According to Seminoles.com , “the ‘unconquered’ statue has become on of the symbols not only of Florida State Athletics but the spirit of the entire University…the bronze statue was designed to capture the indomitable spirit of the Seminole people and those who have adopted that spirit as a symbol for the university.”

Florida State University has a strong association with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which is part of their unique ceremony many may be familiar with on gameday as their mascot, Chief Osceola head towards the center of the field, spear in hand planting it into the grass.

The monument was originally an idea of Seminole Booster and FSU Alumnus Steve Reilly. Per Seminoles.com, Reilly stated, “the ‘Unconquered’  statue more broadly celebrates the human spirit that will not be defeated. This statue does not depict any particular person or event. It symbolically portrays the unconquered spirit of the Seminole people of the nineteenth century and the timeless legacy of that spirit that continues to burn bright into the future.”

I felt it was important to share the history of the word “unconquered,” it’s association with the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Florida State University for those that may have viewed the rings a certain way. Even after the Seminoles loss to Georgia, hopefully the rings are viewed a bit differently now and well-deserved.