Clint Trickett will be in attendance at Rose Bowl tonight as unbeaten Florida State battles Auburn in the Bowl Championship Series national title game and Trickett, West Virginia's rising senior starting quarterback, has more than just a passing interest.
His father, Rick, is the Seminoles offensive line coach. And just nine months ago, before his transfer to West Virginia, Clint Trickett was Florida State's incumbent backup quarterback as the Seminoles opened spring camp.
With other transfer offers from Auburn, Michigan and South Florida, Trickett chose the Mountaineers. Hindsight being what it is, with West Virginia going 4-8 in 2013 and missing out on a bowl game for the first time since 2001, does he regret the move?
"Well, [shoot]," Trickett said, laughing. "I could have stayed at Florida State or I could have transferred to Auburn or West Virginia -- two of the three are playing in the national championship, and my [butt] is sitting at home.
"But do I regret it? Absolutely not. This was my dream out of high school, through middle school; I always wanted to play for West Virginia. This is my state; this is my team; I bleed blue and gold. I don't regret that at all."
Trickett grew up in Morgantown, W.Va., where his father was a West Virginia assistant coach from 2001-06. But the Mountaineers never recruited Trickett in high school.
Trickett went to Florida State, serving as backup to Christian Ponder and then EJ Manuel, each eventual first-round NFL draft picks. Trickett's latest competition at Florida State was Jameis Winston, the top quarterback prospect in Division I-A and the Heisman Trophy winner.
With West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith headed for the NFL and no proven candidate behind him, Trickett saw his opportunity.
He decided that he would transfer to West Virginia. He loaded his schedule with 18 credits in order to graduate early, but he failed a class, forcing him to hold off on the transfer until after the spring semester, after spring camp.
Trickett said the spring was "an awkward situation." He hadn't told the coaches of his intention to transfer, but "there were moments where I think they kind of knew," which tends to happen when your dad is part of the staff.
"I probably should have handled it better and tried to give it everything, but, shoot, everything worked out for everyone," he said. "I'm playing at West Virginia, and Florida State is in the national championship."
Even as he stepped out the door, Trickett knew the Seminoles were a team built to win. They have some of the best offensive linemen, wide receivers and running backs in college football, he said, "and they've got the Heisman Trophy winner, the best player on any team in the country."
Trickett stayed in touch with his former teammates during the season, visiting during an open week and even dropping into Florida State's locker room after a bowl practice in December. "It was like a high school reunion," he said.
This trip, though, is for his father who, in his 40th year of coaching, is finally in the national title game. His Auburn team in 1993 went 11-0, but the Tigers were ineligible for the postseason because of an NCAA violation.
Trickett said the transfer has brought him closer to his dad. He looks forward to their phone calls now -- no football, no coaching, just father and son talk.
"While we were [at Florida State], it was just awkward because he didn't want to step over the boundaries of father and coach," Trickett said. "He didn't know when he could do what. We're not that type of family, so when we're at work we're going to be talking about work. Once I moved away, it kind of grew us closer together.
"Both our lives have completely changed from this. I think it worked out for the better. I'm living my dream playing for West Virginia, and hopefully he'll have a big ring on his finger here in a few days."
Stephen J. Nesbitt: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.