Who knows where the Florida State Seminoles would be ranked without that Week 6 loss that took them out of the national championship talk. Now, 9-1, with one of the best defenses in the country and looking well on their way for the first ACC title for the program since 2005, matching your secondary goals isn’t that bad.
A 28-22 win over Virginia Tech having their worst year in recent memory didn’t come easy. Nothing has for this program in recent years, constantly finding themselves losing in games that derail their season and early expectations each time. This season it was a 17-16 loss to North Carolina State coming only two weeks after somewhat of a proclamation win over Clemson, 49-37, which was supposed to be the tallest hurdle on the way to a perfect season.
But EJ Manuel faced a secondary that read him like an open book in that game, and one of the best defenses in the nation wasn’t able to hold on to a 16-3 lead heading into the final quarter. Again, a loss that came out of nowhere, for a team already thinking too far ahead.
Now, the Atlantic division is pretty much won, unless Maryland are preparing some sort of surprise next week (and they’re probably not). Then it’s Florida, in a game that probably means more the Gators hopes this season than the Seminoles, who’ll be playing in the ACC championship game for only the third time since the format began in 2005.
Whoever it is (probably Miami), it’s someone the Seminoles should beat on their way to their first BCS Bowl since the 2005 Orange Bowl, which they lost to Penn State. Just a reminder – Florida State haven’t won a BCS Bowl since winning the national title against Virginia Tech in 1999.
The kings of the ACC have been Virginia Tech in recent years, winning the conference four times since 2004, playing in the conference title game five times since 2005 and making a BCS bowl game five times since the 2004 season, usually losing unless it’s a Big East team they were playing.
The Frank Beamer formula imploded this season, and the Hokies are on their way to their first losing season since 1992, as the loss to Florida State brought them to a 4-6 record, 2-4 in the conference. Logan Thomas had another disappointing day, the running game wasn’t going anywhere and everything great about Beamer-ball, special teams and defense, hasn’t really been working this season.
Florida State have EJ Manuel in a good season, most of the time, enjoying his senior year. He threw three touchdown passes and for 326 yards. The story was once again the defense, ranked 4th in the nation by allowing only 13 points per game, conceding more than 20 points only once during this season. Keeping Tech at only 2.4 yards per carry and Tyler Hunter with two interceptions did the job before Rashad Greene caught a 39 yard touchdown pass to win the game with 40 seconds left in the game.
Winning the ACC isn’t a bad way to end this season, especially after a long drought for one of the most consistent programs in College Football for over 15 years. A national title? This is the first step on the way there. Jimbo Fisher has done a great job so far, and there’s no reason to believe this team won’t be in contention, this time also in the latter stages of the season, for years to come.