The Florida State Seminoles remain undefeated after beating Boston College 20-17 thanks to a very late field goal, counting themselves lucky to remain undefeated and not having Jameis Winston thrown out of the game for pushing a referee.
Some of the headlines suggested Winston collided with an official. It wasn’t a collision or anything that happened by mistake. The official was standing behind center and above the ball because of substitutions, not allowing Florida State to snap the ball. Winston wasn’t paying attention, focused on moving the ball and taking a quick snap. He didn’t just bump into the official – he tried shoving him out of the way.
Maybe it was a smart decision by the officials: Not blowing up a game for this because the official didn’t seem to make a big deal out of it and he wasn’t hurt or taken to the ground. But with conferences having their own officiating crews, it’s interesting to know what would have happened if someone from a school with no chance to go to the playoff or a big bowl game would have done the same. Florida State have won without Winston this season (an overtime game against Clemson), but it was a very different situation.
With the game tied at 17 for a very long time (Boston College tied things up with 6:12 left in the third quarter), the Seminoles went on their final drive with 4:37 left on the clock. It began on their own 26, and most of it was Dalvin Cook running for small gains, while Jameis Winston completed three passes for a total of 33 yards. The end result? Roberto Aguayo hitting a 26-yard field goal to win the game, three seconds left on the clock.
The committee doesn’t select teams just based on records. Style and convincing (not the margin, but being in control of a game) matters. Florida State have needed five go-ahead scores this season in the final quarter or overtime to remain undefeated. It’s not that the ACC has suddenly turned into a juggernaut conference. Georgia Tech, Clemson and Louisville are barely in the top 25, and not all of the time. Florida State, including Jameis Winston, one of a growing number of players who have had their fair share of problems with the law, have simply regressed.
Winston threw and interception, but also one touchdown pass and for 281 yards, completing 22-of-32 passes. Rashad Greene set himself up as the most productive receiver in the history of the program with 8 receptions for 106 yards. The senior now has the record for career receptions (254) and yards (3613) while catching a pass in 40 consecutive games. Most of the focus on this team goes to Winston, but there has been more than just him over their 26 game winning streak.
Why will they be ranked (and not number one by the poll that matters)? Because they’re the defending national champions, a big school and are 11-0. In the AP way of things, that puts them above everyone else, with only Florida in a rivalry game and Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game left to stop them. Just a reminder of how bad they’ve been sometimes this season: Only Northern Illinois in 2013 has been tied or trailed during the second half games more than this version of FSU among teams in the last 30 seasons that had an 11-0 start. Florida State didn’t trail once last year through the 11 games.