If you thought nothing would change in the 2014 season, let Saturday’s 56-41 victory for the Florida State Seminoles (4-0, 2-0 ACC) over the North Carolina State Wolfpack (4-1, 0-1) serve as an intervention. If you were one of the few who thought losing team leaders, one of the best centers in the game, and the reality of no longer being on the hunt but being hunted would change the equation let this be your wake-up call. This is not the 2013 version of FSU that dominated almost every waking second of the regular season and owned the ACC. This is not the team that won 14 straight games including the national championship.
But why does that have to be a bad thing?
Yes it is true, Florida State has struggled out of the gate during their three games against decent competition. They started out very rough most notably against NCSU falling behind 24-7 in the first quarter, which was enough to give nervous shivers to any ‘Noles fan considering FSU’s history at Carter-Finley Stadium. But here is the kicker, Florida State came back and won the game. Florida State did not do what they have been known to do in the same situation.
Actually the Seminoles closed the game on a 49-17 run, and Jameis Winston despite two turnovers made some incredible throws and threw for over 350 yards again. Florida State closed this game incredibly well (which was a key to the game mentioned here before) surviving the early onslaught of blown coverages and Jacoby Brissett’s monster effort (how did Will Muschamp let him walk away from Florida?)
No it was not like last season’s game vs. the Wolfpack where the ‘Noles put up 35 in the first quarter, and that does not sit well with many in the FSU fanbase (most notable the #HOTSPORTSTAKES from some on #FSUTwitter.) The fact of the matter is however that Florida State is 4-0, defeated two of its’ biggest threats in the Atlantic Division of the ACC, and is still an almost consensus pick for the college football playoff (because I’m pretty sure we as a society have all agreed Mark May’s opinion does not count.)
The feeling one might get from most Florida State fans is that there is a fear of not having a team exactly like last year’s. A feeling that if this team is not like the ‘Noles of a year ago they will be like the ‘Noles of years past, dropping games inexplicably and not living up to the hype. And yes while one could make an argument that FSU has not lived up to the hype, Florida State is still undefeated and is still the AP number one.
This brings us to the point of our little intervention… Why does this FSU team have to be one or the other? Why can this team not be its’ own?
This team is still young and growing, and it will not be the 2013 Seminoles no matter how much the fans want it to be or the media complains it is not. This team however does not have to be the disappointment past squads have been, and many have already proclaimed it to be. This team has to plot its own course, and if it is a course of close wins and comebacks than so be it. Every team must write it own story, and this one is no exception. Could this team be a 4 loss failure? Yes, but is it just as if not more likely that this team could run the table and make a run at the title? The answer is also yes.
So while these ‘Noles are not the ones of 2013, they do not have to be 2012’s incarnation either. They can be their own team with their own great moments, big plays, and memorable games. They do not have to follow the beaten path, a fact that has to make the men in garnet very grateful.