Matt Hinton, otherwise known as "Dr. Saturday" to Yahoo! readers, released a stinging article on FSU vs. OU yesterday. (Here is a link to the article.) It starts off, interestingly enough, in our favor, stating that Hinton believes "...previous disappointments notwithstanding, the buzz over a Seminole resurgence is kind of a tough one to refute on its own merits."
He goes on to say...
"...the resurgence is already well underway after the Seminoles' best season in ages under first-year head coach Jimbo Fisher. They trounced Miami in Miami, snapped a six-year losing streak against Florida with a 31-7 beatdown to close the regular season and convincingly handled SEC East champ South Carolina in the bowl game. The 'Noles' two conference losses in the regular season came by a combined six points, and they took the ACC's Atlantic Division crown outright for the first time since 2005. They finished in the top 20 of the final polls for the first time in the same span, and cracked ten wins for the first time since 2003."
It all sounds downright glowing, doesn't it? But don't settle in on that warm and squishy feeling just yet.
The remainder of the article, roughly six paragraphs, was spent on reminding everyone how poorly FSU has played vs. top 25 ranked teams over the last ten years. If you listened to Bud Elliott's Podcast with Phil Steele you could learn a bit about the belief that this is inherently flawwed. New head coach, new system, etc. So the last ten years, on a highly technical level, don't belong to Florida State any longer. But Hinton went to some legnths to specify our two big losses last season, as well. Briefly summing it up:
In their two biggest games last year, against Oklahoma in early September and Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game, the Seminoles came up a combined 41 points short.
Many Florida State fans are well aware of the track record that Virginia Tech has against top 25 talent under Frank Beamer and company. Its downright depressing to have this knowledge and watch VT represent the ACC. But now it would appear that Florida State is starting to develop a similar reputation. Two national titles be damned... What have we done lately?
So now we come to our early opportunity to prove the doubters wrong. September 17th, 2011 at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Oklahoma Sooners come to Tallahassee, and will probably enter as a top three team in the national rankings, if not the number one team outright. As Hinton's article mentions, there are very few differences between our two teams, personnel-wise, between last season and 2011. OU loses DeMarco Murray, FSU loses Christain Ponder, but pretty much all the other key players remain. He then continues to discuss factors that many of us here know ad nausium. Again, here is a link to the article. Please feel free to read it.
Now here is where we discuss the next issue. What happens if we lose? Most FSU diehards are of the belief that, win or lose, FSU can continue to have a successful season if we run the gambit in the ACC and make the BCS. For the most part, I don't disagree. But it would appear as if the voters already do.
Here is a link to the Stassen Preseason Consensus polls for the 2011 season. In it you can see that Florida State leads the ACC with an aggrigate ranking of 5th, tied with LSU. The next ACC team to be ranked in the aggrigate is Virginia Tech at 10th. Who is next? Miami... at 32nd, tied with NC State.
What does that mean? Well, lets assume we start the season ranked in the AP top five. We lose to OU. Perhaps badly. We drop out of the top 10 entirely, perhaps out of the top 15-20 depending on how badly we lose. Then what? Well, we could rebound in the rankings by soundly defeating some of our other ranked ACC opponents. But we don't have any ranked ACC opponents scheduled! We could play VT in the ACCCG, and there is a chance Florida might end up ranked (currently aggrigate ranking of 25, tied with Penn State), but neither of these games will be played until on or after November 26th. That means Florida State could go for NINE WEEKS (including the BYE) without facing a ranked team. If that remains the case, FSU might find their way back up to a top 10 ranking by December, but if we lose to VT in the ACCCG we can kiss our chances of a BCS bowl goodbye.
And the disqualifiers are already being built in. Clemson could demolish Auburn, the defending BCS National Champion, and "Auburn lost so many athletes... We picked them to finish fifth in their division in the SEC." Miami could trounce Ohio State and "Well, Ohio State is suffering from suspensions and distractions right now. I'm not sure that win really counts. No Coach Tressel, no Terell Pryor..."
In conclusion, Florida State could very well lose to Oklahoma on September 17th and go on to have a very successful season in the ACC, finishing as strong as 9-3 or 10-2, perhaps even suffering only that one loss at the hands of Oklahoma, and STILL get no respect. That is, unless we defeat VT in the ACCCG and solidly win a BCS game. But even with just that one loss, its doubtful that running the slate in the ACC this season will get us to the BCS National Title game with any other undefeated non-quals or one-loss BCS teams floating around out there.
We want to make it to a title game this season, or at least guarantee a BCS at-large berth? We MUST defeat Oklahoma. Because it doesn't look like we have many other options.
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