There's this heavy veil - a lingering flatulence - permeating the ethos of Tomahawk Nation these days. Shared by most, but visible to all, FSU fans cannot help but realize the following truthitude:
I can't help but wonder if OU beat us twice. I'll give credit to Clemson's Chad Morris and Tajh Boyd for taking advantage of the extra plays and 21-point swing due to penalties. But a 5-point victory at home under those conditions hardly makes Clemson a world-beater. But at the end of the day, the Noles did not take care of business.
Yes, a national championship run disappeared while Kenny Stills played elevator over Greg Reid. And FSU will need to win out in their conference schedule and hope Clemson stumbles twice to lock-up the division.
But this season is far from over.
Prior to hosting OU and visiting Clemson, FSU had not gone without a rushing TD in back-to-back games since '07 (@ #10 BC; at #9 VT). That was Trickett's first year here at FSU, featuring Daron Rose, Jacky Claude, Ryan McMahon, David Overmeyer, and Shannon Boatman. If you remember, Trick got these guys and promptly put them on Jenny Craig. So perhaps the finer points of run and pass blocking eluded us that year.
This year has featured FSU's lowest rushing TD total through the first 4 games (3) since that 2007 (4). The first 4 opponents of 2007 only featured 1 ranked opponent (Clemson) who would finish the season at 9-4, a 2-win UAB team, 6-7 Colorado (who would later lose their 12/30 bowl game to --> ), and a 7-6 'Bama team under then-1st-year HC Nick Saban. FSU's high-water mark this season is just over 4.6 yards per carry against a bad FCS team.
Conversely, FSU hasn't held ranked opponents to less than 3 yards per carry in back-to-back games since...well, sometime back before 2007. Against its last 3 Top-10 ranked opponents FSU's rushing defense (sacks removed) has given up 2.35 (Clemson), 3.11 (OU), and 2.55 ypc (OU '10). Before that, FSU had given up YPCs of 8.50 (UF '09), 7.22 (UF '08), and 3.65 (VT '07) to Top 10 teams. FSU is clearly benefiting from a mature, stout, and play-reading defensive line. Gone are the days of Wild-man out-of-control play from an FSU Front 4.
Fun fact about the '11 Wake team; they have yet to play a defensive snap where they were losing. That's not too bad a feat, even if NCSU and BC are horrible. Golly, that's a bad BC team. Just terrible.
Per RA_Johnston over at BSD, NT Ramon Booi sustained a severe MCL sprain in pre-season and is questionable for FSU. Running a 3-4 with downlinemen of 255, 260, and 255, no doubt is Wake dependent on shooting gaps and creating havoc for protection schemes. If FSU can get a hat from everyone of its blockers on Wake's players in the box, FSU can run wild. But whiffs will result in a lot of 2 yards-or-less rushes. I'm thinking FSU has some decent success running the ball against Wake's 3-4 front. I like Grobe to disguise their pre-snap gap alignments (i.e., walking around) to promote OL confusion.
And finally, FSU opened +13 on most lines and has continued to shrink down to +10. The 3-point drop occurred from 10/4 to 10/5. This suggests that heavy public betting is against the Noles. However, the drop went from +13 to +11 without anyone really talking about it publicly; so I'll only credit the last point drop to heavy public betting. The first two points...suggest something else.