Bobby Bowden said it best a week ago when he told the crowd of reporters that there wasn't any secret to winning in college football.
"Just get the best players," Bowden said.
As we noted in the preview (and damn that Miami kicker for missing and making the score 41 to 14 instead of 41 to 17), Florida State has far superior players to Miami. After watching in person, I'll stand by the assertion that only three or four of Miami's starters would hold the same title for Florida State.
You can really tell the difference when looking at the players from field level. Miami's players are definitely bigger than last year, but many of the linemen are fat. Florida State has 300-pounders who look much different. As FSU was whipping Miami along the lines in the second half, I thought the strength and conditioning program of FSU (almost a carbon copy of LSU and Alabama) shown through. Much credit to strength coach Vic Viloria. Of course, the starting material he gets to mold into dominant football machines is better than what Miami has had.
FSU has strongly out-recruited Miami, and these really are programs of a different class. I thought about this a lot last night as I walked by FSU's ridiculous indoor practice facility. Miami doesn't even have a stadium. FSU set a record for attendance tonight with 84,409. The Hurricanes' fan support is pathetic.
-There were 30+ four and five-star recruits in attendance. FSU made sure that Miami could not tell them that they are just a player or two away from being on Florida State's level. That's important.
-Miami really executed its "don't get blown out" plan to perfection -- but with a few wrinkles. Miami often used no huddle, but no huddle does not mean hurry up. Miami would go sans huddle to prevent Florida State from substituting, then run the clock all the way down. The teams combined for just 20 possessions, which is hardly anything at all. Even so, FSU actually won the time of possession battle 38 minutes to 22.
-It was very telling about the game and the state of the programs at halftime when Miami fans celebrated being down a touchdown and Florida State fans were very disappointed in being up a score. Miami played almost a flawless first half, with Stephen Morris making two awesome touchdown throws.
-The Noles made great halftime adjustments. On both sides. Just great.
-September 7, 2009 -- the last time Miami won a game in Tallahassee.
-September 10, 2004 -- the last time Miami beat Florida State in Miami.
-Florida State has now won seven of nine games in the series. If Miami earns the right to lose to FSU in Charlotte at the ACC Championship Game, it will be eight of ten. And next year, it's Jameis Winston in Miami.
-After a 12-7 start as a coach, Jimbo Fisher is on a 27-3 run. Meanwhile, in Gainesville...
-If FSU beats Wake Forest this weekend, Fisher will be 40-10 as a coach. Other coaches who have achieved that mark as a first time head coach include Urban Meyer, Pete Carroll, Mark Richt, Chip Kelly, Bob Stoops and Larry Coker.
-Florida State crushed Miami on third down. The Seminoles were 11 of 15, which according to the AP, was the worst percentage Miami has allowed to any team since at least 1995. This follow an 8 of 12 performance at Clemson.
-Florida State had been passing on first downs to set up the run. With Miami playing such soft coverage, FSU flipped the script and ran the football much more often, a more than 2/1 ration on first down.
-Duke Johnson is done for the year with a broken ankle. That really sucks for Miami. Duke is a great kid and a great competitor. He is by far Miami's best player.
-Mario Edwards Jr. is very, very good. He's not prototypical 4-3 defensive end stylistically, but he is very talented nonetheless. It is almost impossible to set the edge against him in the run game. And he had a very nice pass rush at times.
-If 21-29 for 325 yards and two interceptions is a bad game from a red-shirt freshman quarterback, Jimbo Fisher will take that all day.
-I'm not saying that Florida State has the best offensive line in the country. But I'm not sure which lines I would want over it at this point. Clemson and Miami have legitimately improved defensive lines, and FSU's offensive line stoned both.
-FSU has outscored its three ranked opponents 155-28.
-Devonta Freeman has 60 career touches against Miami for 377 yards. The Miami Central High star is a Hurricanes killer.
-Jimbo Fisher is so, so good at having a feel for when call screen passes.
"When you're out there playing against family and friends and two top teams, emotions are at the verge," cornerback Lamarcus Joyner said. "We were able to keep our wits about each other and calm down and start playing smart football. The score doesn't determine how physical that team is and how good of a team that is. It was tough, it was emotional, it was hard-nosed football and we needed that test."
The fight removed any lingering respect the Seminoles had for the Hurricanes. "After that skirmish, it was over," Winston said. "All that nice stuff, all the GameDay stuff with them being compared to us, it was over. We didn't care about it any more. We knew we had one goal, and that was to beat them bad."