On Saturday at 8 p.m., the Florida State Seminoles and Clemson Tigers will play what is arguably the biggest football game in Atlantic Coast Conference history. But let’s all try to stay level-headed for the next four days.
If that’s possible.
Here’s the good news for my fellow Seminole fans — all of the pressure in this game is on Clemson. They have the veteran team that is facing massive pressure to win in their home stadium, and if they lose this game, they might not sniff the top-5 again for quite some time. They’re the ones that will have to replace people like Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins when this season is over, and if they lose to FSU, their hopes of a national title will vanish.
Meanwhile, the ‘Noles have a freshman quarterback and a young defense that will mesh over the next three years. They’ll have more chances to make a run at a championship if they falter this season. At Clemson, FSU can play spoiler and let it all hang out.
FSU has Jameis Winston. FSU has James Wilder, Jr. Even better, FSU has Clemson and Florida at home next season. If they do anything special this year (beyond the first few magical games Winston has given us, of course), it’s a bonus.
In fact, my expectations for this year haven’t changed. If the ‘Noles can win two out of three against Clemson, Miami and Florida, that’s a pretty great season with a young team. Is FSU overrated at No. 5? Probably, but there’s no way to know until the Seminoles play the Tigers this weekend.
But if Florida State can win the ACC with a freshman quarterback, there’s no telling how well they can do in 2014 and 2015.
As a fan and an alumnus, I hope Florida State beats the tar out of Clemson. I hope they run the table and prove it’s possible to win a title with a freshman at quarterback. I hope my university can build an Alabama-style dynasty for the next few years.
Whether they beat Clemson or lose to them, everything will be different on Sunday morning.
Clemson Hate Week joke: Did you know I came very close to attending Clemson? It’s true — but I promised my parents I’d go to college. (Hat tip to John Kim)