Every time I see Osceola riding around on Renegade while the band plays that ominous Indian music, it makes me wonder.

Will there be a tribute to Errol “They Died with Their Boots On’’ Flynn at halftime? Will “Searcher’’ John Wayne wander into Doak Campbell Stadium, looking for Natalie Wood?

That’s two John Wayne references in the top four of my Super 16 previews, if you’re keeping score at home.

More importantly, why does FSU get to do all of this Saturday-matinee Western stuff? Meanwhile, the NCAA put the tomahawk to Illinois, which treated the dance of Chief Illiniwek with the solemnity of Sunday mass or Friday shul.

Illinois closed another loophole in the controversy the other day, when it announced its band will no longer play the “war chant” this fall.

In a sense, it’s a tricky question. I understand why Illini alums cherish these Indian references. Most importantly, though, the objections of Native Americans who find them offensive trump the longing to keep them.

What I find ridiculous is the fact that there is not equal protection. Shouldn’t it be “one NCAA, one policy?” How can Chief Illiniwek be banished while Osceola is revered?

The answer, of course, is that the Seminole Tribe has `bought in’, so to speak to Osceola and Renegade, while the Illini Tribe is basically extinct, so there’s no one to `buy in’.

That said, Osceola and Renegade will have plenty of reasons to whoop it up again this fall.

But enough about politically incorrect mascots. . .

Florida State’s defense returns nine starters, virtually assuring that no one will put up five dozen points on FSU the way Louisville did in its 63-20 stampede past the Seminoles last September. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.