Finally, FSU has a football team worthy of a high ranking

AP Photo/Phil Sears
AP Photo/Phil Sears


For the last decade, Florida State fans knew their football teams didn’t size up to the best squads in the country.

The polls never seemed to agree, however. Perhaps it was the name alone that allowed FSU to annually snake its way up the rankings at the beginning of every season – they’d start near the top-10, then as they bulldozed lousy tune-up opponents, they’d make it into the sport’s upper atmosphere.

Then they’d lose, and we’d have to watch sportswriters take shots at the Seminoles because they weren’t as good as the experts had ranked them to be. Sportswriters don’t like to be proven wrong, and FSU constantly did that to them.

Maybe they should have done a little more research instead of blaming the football program that made them look dumb. Just a thought.

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The 2013 squad is different. We know this team is capable of living up to the hype created by the polls. They have a defense whose starters only allowed seven points in the last three games, playing two ranked opponents in that stretch. They have an offense that sucks the life out of opposing defenses early in games and doesn’t let up until head coach Jimbo Fisher pulls them off the field.

Most of all, Florida State finally has a quarterback that gives fans every reason to believe he can win a national title for the ‘Noles. Jameis Winston is a tremendous game-manager who seems to have a complete grasp of utilizing all the weapons on his loaded offense, and if they can remain healthy, they’ll be heavy favorites to win every remaining game on their schedule.

In the past, FSU fans would watch their team rise up the polls and know it wouldn’t last. But this year, if Florida State can’t back up the high ranking with their play on the field, they’ll have nobody to blame but themselves.

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FSU vs. Miami preview

The rivalry is back. For the first time in the 21st century, both teams are ranked in the top-10 going into the in-state rivalry game, as the Seminoles and Hurricanes are the only remaining undefeated teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

At 7-0, the ‘Canes have failed to impress in recent victories. They barely squeaked out a fourth-quarter comeback victory last week with Wake Forest in town, and they beat a mediocre North Carolina team by four points two weeks ago.

As a result, the Seminoles are favored by three touchdowns, an extremely high betting line for this rivalry game. While FSU-Miami games always seem to be closer than the experts think, the final score of this game cannot be close if the Seminoles have national title aspirations.

It will be key for the ‘Noles to jump on Miami early and open up some breathing room, which would give the boisterous crowd in Tallahassee a reason to take the ‘Canes out of the game. In two of their last three games, FSU’s defense has pitched a shutout in the first half, giving the offense more than enough time to put points on the board. If that happens again Saturday night, it’s hard to see any way Miami will have a shot to win this game.

This may be the fastest team Florida State has ever had, and though Miami’s defense ranks No. 10 in the nation in points allowed (17.7 per game), the Hurricanes have faced few good offenses, and none like the one they’ll try to stop on Saturday night. Perhaps the best offense they’ve faced so far came from Georgia Tech, and the Yellow Jackets hung 30 points on the Miami defense.

If Miami pulls off the biggest point-spread upset in college football this season, it will be yet another chapter in what’ll become a great rivalry again in the next few years, but it’s difficult to see any possibility the Hurricanes make it out of Tallahassee undefeated.

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