Preview 2017: Of Course Florida State Is A Superpower. Now Prove It.
Florida State is as accomplished lately as any program outside of Alabama and Ohio State. Now it has to prove it.
So you’re a superpower, Florida State? Time to prove it all over again.
Of course FSU is special In terms of status and recent accomplishments. There’s Alabama, Ohio State, and then – even with the recent success of Clemson over the last few seasons – it’s Florida State, with an Orange Bowl win to end the 2016 season, a Peach Bowl appearance after 2015, an ACC title and College Football Playoff appearance in 2014, national title in 2013 and an Orange Bowl win in 2012.
That’s five straight seasons finishing off with a game in one of the biggest of big bowls, and/or a national title. But it’s Florida State – it has to do more. It has to be Alabama or Ohio State. It has to be a given that it’s going to be in the College Football Playoff, no matter what.
Of course, Florida State lost plenty of good players to the NFL over the last few years. Whatever – Alabama and Ohio State lost more, and Clemson won a national title despite losing seven defensive starters to the 2016 NFL Draft.
Of course, Florida State suffered a slew of big injuries early on. Ohio State lost its top two quarterbacks in 2014 and won a national championship. And injuries weren’t the reason FSU collapsed against North Carolina and lost to Clemson last season.
Of course, Florida State was starting a redshirt freshman quarterback. Alabama started a true freshman quarterback and came within a defensive stop of a national title.
Of course, the ACC was far, far better last season than it was in past years, but it wasn’t the SEC at its best – certainly not last year – and no division in college football has been nastier lately than the Big Ten East.
Of course, there was speculation about whether or not Jimbo Fisher would be gone to LSU, but that hasn’t stopped the loaded recruiting classes from coming in, and that’s not the reason for the three-loss season.
Of course, two of those losses were in the final moments in close games that could’ve gone either way. But the superpowers win those. That’s why they’re the superpowers.
Would Alabama losing 63-20 to, say, Arkansas? Do you see Ohio State failing to come through against Michigan in the biggest game of the conference season? Of course not, and even though the Buckeyes collapsed late against Penn State, that was the only blemish before the CFP.
Alabama hasn’t had a three-loss season since 2010, and Ohio State hasn’t been there since before Urban Meyer in 2011. And yet, FSU’s three-loss 2016 didn’t seem like that big a shocker, and, of course, that’s not okay.
Of course, it’s not fair to expect the unreasonable levels Alabama and Ohio State have achieved. But Florida State has been there before in the Bobby Bowden era, and Fisher is really, really close to getting there again.
It’s time for Florida State to flex its muscle. It’s time to at least win the ACC Championship, it’s time to get back to the College Football Playoff, and it’s time to establish itself as a program ready for its turn to come back around.
Going to a New Year’s Six game is nice, and everyone had a blast watching the win over Michigan But Florida State is better than just some major bowl game – especially this season.
This is hardly a perfect team, and it doesn’t have nearly the experience or the makeup of the 2013 killer that cranked out one of the greatest seasons of all-time, but there are way too many good parts in place to expect anything less than something special.
The defensive line should be among the best in the country, and the secondary – if everyone is healthy – is unquestionably the best in college football. The defense alone is good enough to win ten games with.
The O line needs some retooling, and there might be some rough patches without Dalvin Cook at running back and with a few ultra-talented receivers needing to play up to their potential, but Deondre Francois – miserable spring game showing aside – is a veteran now who can make everyone around him better.
The biggest problem is the schedule, with road games at Clemson and Florida, home dates against Miami, NC State and Louisville, and a “neutral site” opener against Alabama.
But is Florida State going to be good enough to run the table, or at least go 12-1 with an ACC Championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff?