If somehow you haven’t noticed yet, there is something a brewin’ down in Tallahassee. And if you haven’t noticed yet, just know that apparently everyone else has – so here’s your notice. If there’s one thing people love, it’s attention… right? Who doesn’t love some good recognition or acknowledgement every now and then to let you know you’re doing things right? But that is not what’s going on here. It is fair to say that there is a full on cargo train of hype heading straight through the Florida State campus right now, and the passengers are full of national and local media, along with Seminole faithful. But is this a good thing for the newly transitioned program? See my discussion after the jump.
If you haven’t been following closely, several preseason polls/rankings and season previews have already been released, with nearly all of them having Florida State ranked. Now it’s fair to say that the Seminoles deserve to and/or have the potential to justify being ranked. But many of the polls also have the Noles ranked in the top-20 and some even in the top-15 in the nation. For a few examples, take the following polls:
SportingNews – FSU 14
CBS Sports – FSU 16
ESPN Mark Schlabach – FSU 16
To take the hype example even further, as reported in a recent Fanpost, Tim Brando (regardless of whether he did so because Jimbo was going to be a guest on his show) picked Florida State to play Alabama in the National Championship game. If you think you read that wrong, you didn’t and you’re not alone.
So it is fair to say that based on the pre-season rankings/previews and media opinions that a program which just went 7-6 last season (and three of the last four seasons), had a massive coaching overhaul (we all know it’s for the better but regardless) and hasn’t won an ACC championship since 2005 (a season in which the Noles went 8-5) is being hyped like it’s no one’s business. But is this a good or bad thing for FSU? Well, there are a couple of good arguments that I’ve heard for both sides.
First is the argument that all of this hype is a good thing. This massive amount of attention is a clear indication that the program is headed in the right direction and the fact that the media realizes that is a wonderful thing. The media is the vehicle by which many people form their opinions and get their knowledge and the fact that it has recognized the Noles as "back" or at least close is nothing but good news. This is visibly noticeable by the fact that Florida State was seventh in the nation in Spring Game attendance. Also, take into account booster numbers; according to Chantrant.com, "Last year on January 25th we had about 1,100 of our 13,000-plus members renewed. And as of January 25th this year we had 2,100. That's an 80 percent increase." In recruiting, this positive publicity can only lead to positive benefits , since recruits that may not have considered FSU now might do so since seeing the good things going on; and recruits that were considering FSU in the first place want to be part of what’s going on - tipping their commitment in FSU's favor. Also, another part to this argument is the fact that given the same season, if we start out ranked (vs. unranked), we end the season more highly ranked and therefore are more likely get a better bowl bid (more $$, prestige and puts us closer to being "back"). Also, add in the fact that the hype will only help Ponder’s Heisman campaign and that is just icing on the cake.
The other argument is that all of this hype is nothing but a bad thing. Given that realistic expectations (and Vegas odds) have us winning eight games, a lot of people with high hope for this season from the buildup will be disappointed. This is rather unfair for people to be disappointed at an eight-win season given all of the change this program has gone through, especially defensively where we were ranked 96th in the country in scoring defense and 110th in yards per game against last year and are transitioning into new coaches and zone schemes. Realistic expectations will be ballooned into expectations of an immediate ACC Championship and double-digit wins with all of this hype. Also, traditionally, the Noles have not played well while ranked in recent memory (although hopefully under the new staff this will change), as they are 6-10 in such games since the beginning of the 2006 season. So, this whole big "letdown" resulting from a realistic eight-win season (which wouldn’t be a bad thing by any stretch) could in fact create the opposite effects of those suggested by the previous argument (booster contribution, recruiting, etc.) in the future. So long term, this hype could potentially be negative.
So you have your two sides here and I’m sure there are more arguments to be made for both. So now that the hype train is headed through Tallahassee, are you on board?