Here are some extra thoughts on the game to follow up the article on Florida State's big victory over Maryland to clinch a share of the division title.
It was clear that Jimbo Fisher was unhappy with Nick Moody and wanted him to get down after the interception. The chance Nick fumbles there or that Maryland scores and gets an onside is much greater than the chance a fumble occurs on a kneeldown.
The defense was better in the second half. Was that the adjustments for which people had been searching?
FSU has been very good in the RZ all year, but here there were missed red-zone opportunities. A drop, a misread, a high throw, missed field goal. Poor playcalling. Fisher credited Maryland's defensive coordinator for some excellent confusing blitz packages. I am always reminded that there are two teams on the field and sometimes the opponent will throw rock when you throw scissors.
Fisher was clearly unhappy with Bert Reed despite the TD. Three crucial drops, one of which he had a chance to run a long way. And some bad routes.
Best Conference Performance Since Divisional Play?
One of the best ways to measure a team is to look at the percentage by which it outgained its opponents per play.
|By How Much Did FSU Outgain Its Opponents In Conference Play?|
That's quite impressive. Next year I expect FSU to go from 20% to 35%.
Fisher inherited a program not so much in decline as stagnation. A team that lost 19 games over 14 seasons between 1987 and 2000 settled into mediocrity in the final days of Bobby Bowden, managing a 30-22 record (16-16 in the ACC) over the final four years of the Aughts. The Florida State of old is hardly back, and in today's college football it may never be.
But signs of growth remain meaningful for the Seminoles, who followed up back-to-back conference losses with consecutive victories locked up in the final minute. Once the behemoth in a conference derisively dubbed "Florida State and the Eight Dwarfs," the Seminoles' return to contention carries considerable value -- enough that a little scoreboard watching next week is tolerable.
"Honestly, it is pretty tough because we had those last three games that all came down to the wire," tailback Chris Thompson said. "It's pretty tough to know that we're in this position, but it's also a good feeling, too, because we know we've been putting in real good work just to be in this position. We're hoping it all works out in our favor."
No matter how a game outside Florida State's control unfolds, Fisher can see an upshot in Saturday's victory. As he sets about the Seminoles' revival, it helps to have something measurable to sell. Florida State might not make it to the Dec. 4 conference title game against Virginia Tech, but it at least has a share of the Atlantic to its name.
The Seminoles snagged six conference games for the first time since 2004. Their first 10-win season since '03 is more than plausible. Bit by bit, the restoration is underway. "Six wins is where we're wanting to go," Fisher said. "It's a step in the right direction. I'm very proud of these guys, and those seniors can at least say they're champions of this division no matter what."
FSU is ahead of Miami. Heading into this season, coach Randy Shannon said he thought this team had what it takes to take the next step in his fourth season and win a title. Instead, the Canes are once again locked out of the ACC championship game. The Canes haven’t even played for the ACC title since joining the league in 2004. Florida State, meanwhile, is just one season into Jimbo Fisher's career as head coach and the Seminoles have already earned the title of co-champs in the Atlantic Division. With a 6-2 record in conference play -- the best since 2004 -- this team looks ahead of schedule.