As dedicated FSU fans, we have all been through some tough losses over the years. Personally, I have learned that it is best to come home from a bad game and allow your thoughts to be fully developed prior to sharing them. During the day today, I have briefly read over some of the comments on fanposts and fanshots posted following last night's defeat. It is reasonable for Florida State fans to be upset with the progress, or lack of progress, the team has made since last season. The top-5 ranking at the beginning of the season certainly adds a negative effect to the 7-4 record Florida State has and losses to Wake Forest and Virginia don't help either.
However, I want to warn fans not to overreact to the 2011 season. Yes, we have failed to defeat a high quality opponent (Miami is the best team we've defeated all season). We have also lost to Wake Forest and Virginia. That shouldn't happen at Florida State. Those defeats prove that there have been flaws surrounding the team this season that were not expected entering this season. Injuries, scheduling and refs haven't helped much either. Anyone who follows FSU football knows what has happened thru the first 11 games of the season so I won't stress on it any longer.
I want to remind everyone that 2012 will be a brighter season. I'm not just an optimistic Florida State homer. Take a look at the depth chart and remind yourself which players have made impacts this season and you'll notice many of those players will be back in 2012.
- We return our starting quarterback
- Freeman and Wilder are both freshman this season
- Bert Reed is the only senior receiver among the extremely talented WR corps
- Nick O'Leary is only a freshman this season
- Zebrie Sanders is the only senior O-lineman who has been playing lately. The other guys haven't been playing the best but they are all very young and will improve.
- The only D-lineman who might be gone is Jenkins, and that all depends if he leaves for NFL early.
- Bradham is the only current senior linebacker
- Parks and Harris are senior DB's but Moody and Karlos Williams will replace Parks while Xavier Rhodes continues to replace Harris.
- Powell will be gone but Hopkins returns
We must remind ourselves of how young the team in 2011 truely is. There are numerous freshmen and sophomores who have already made a big impact on the team and they'll only get better in the offseason. Did you listen to the seniors introduced prior to the game on Saturday? No disrespect to the seniors, but there really isn't much being lost following the season. Powell and Bradham might be the biggest losses from the current starting lineup and one of them is a punter. The 'Noles also have the #2 recruiting class, as of now, that'll be enrolling next season so some of those players may also make an impact next season and seasons to come.
Some people on this site are already counting losses for next season. Clemson and Florida both come to Tallahassee next season and neither of those games are guraranteed losses. Both teams were beatable this season and they'll be beatable next season as well. Oklahoma is no longer on the schedule but games against USF, Virginia Tech and WVU do exist. The West Virginia game could and should be removed from the schedule, making the season much more managable.
@VT, Clemson, Florida, West Virginia, @USF, @Miami, Wake Forest, @NC State, Boston College, Duke, @Maryland, Murray State
That is arguable the order of FSU's schedule next season from toughest to easiest, assuming WVU remains on schedule. It is a very do-able schedule for a team that returns majority of its contributing players. Yes, this season has sucked, but brighter days are ahead. We aren't in a situation like Miami is currently in: poor 2011 season + scandal + 2011 team filled with seniors.
A win against Florida next Saturday will bring some relief to the disappointing 2011 season but certainly won't make-up for the 4 losses. However, regardless of this season's record, remind yourself that very little will be lost during the off-season, setting up a positive 2012 season.