After Jameis Winston stood on a table and said some dirty words, the sports world wanted him suspended. When Florida State suspended him for half a game, the sports world said they wanted a full game. When Florida State suspended him for the full game, they said they wanted more.
Never mind that FSU elected to suspend its star player for an entire rivalry game – it was too lenient for some. Really? I’m not defending the actions of Winston and I’m tired of his slip-ups, but FSU did its best to please the Court of Public Opinion and it turned out that even their demands weren’t enough.
Jameis showed up on the field in pads for pregame warmups, which nobody in Garnet and Gold would condone, least of all Jimbo Fisher.
Should Winston have asked somebody in charge before suiting up and taking the field? Yes. Did he lay out his own uniform in the locker, pads and all? Heck no.
Once the game started, social media lit up with sports fans who clearly didn’t understand the effect Winston’s absence was having on the FSU offense. Surely Sean Maguire would be a step back from a Heisman Trophy winner, but he wasn’t given that leeway by most. The offensive line struggled all night with a defense that threw everything but the kitchen sink at the new quarterback, having little fear he’d beat them by throwing the ball over their heads. They blitzed all night.
But in the end, Florida State defeated Clemson in overtime – a Clemson team I saw described multiple times as “terrible” by the Twitterverse and elsewhere. Was Clemson not ranked No. 22? Don’t SEC programs spend half their conscious breath bragging about their tough schedule because they’re always playing ranked opponents? Why is a ranked opponent “terrible” when they play FSU but “tough” when they play Georgia?
You see the double-standard here.
After Karlos Williams rushed into the end zone to put Saturday night’s victory on ice for the Seminoles, the first person to run up and embrace Maguire was Winston. Of course, he was criticized for that as well, because had he stayed on the sideline for the celebration, he wouldn’t have been bashed for refusing to congratulate his teammate, right?
Here’s what it looks like from the inside: Florida State is the new Ohio State, because they’re a threat to the SEC’s reign. Remember how consistent the Buckeyes were in the last decade, always threatening to take national championships from the mighty SEC but never actually doing it?
Well, FSU actually is a threat to end the SEC’s stranglehold on college football, and that’s making these folks’ blood boil. They’re packing the Court of Public Opinion, throwing stones from their glass houses and doing everything they can to bring FSU back to Earth.
When FSU scorches the Earth and beats everyone by 40 or more, tell the world it’s because they’re not playing anybody. When they have to pull out gutsy, last-second wins, call the opponent “trash.”
It’s a lose-lose, which is funny, because FSU hasn’t actually lost in nearly two years.
They couldn’t even find a way to lose to nationally-ranked Clemson with a backup quarterback who hadn’t been practicing with the first-team offense until this week. It made the rest of the Deep South seethe.
I get it, though. The Seminoles are 5-1 against the SEC since Jimbo Fisher took over, and an ACC upset might be the only thing standing between FSU and another national championship.