First, it was Phil Steele, arguably the most respected voice in all of college football. In his highly regarded magazine, he shocked the college football world (or maybe just the SEC) by picking the mighty Seminoles of Florida State to triumph over the Sooners of Oklahoma in January of 2013. He contended that defense wins championships, and listed Florida State as the mightiest defensive unit in the land.
But in recent days—and maybe because of Steele’s influence—the media has fallen in love with the Seminoles. Mel Kiper Jr., David Pollack, Kirk Herbstreit, Ron Zook and Brian Jones, both from CBS, and even radio host Mark Packer have all picked FSU to play in the title game.
But is it justified? Can Florida State play twice in Miami this year?
Of course they can. And when you look at the schedule, they should.
In my opinion, the only true regular season test this year is the game against Florida. No other team on the schedule can match up with the talent that Florida State has, and that game against Florida is in Tallahassee. The Gators will have a great defense and the game will be a low-scoring slugfest, but FSU has a better offense. The Seminoles, behind a home crowd, will prevail over their in-state rival.
After the victory over UF, FSU will play in the ACC title game against the winner of the Coastal, and as long as FSU is not coming off multiple injuries from the UF game, that should be an easy win.
As I’ve said in other articles, the ACC is no better today than it was 20 or 30 years ago. The BCS record proves it. The ACC has two true show ponies: Florida State and Miami. Only a reloaded Miami would have the firepower to take down the 2012 Seminoles in the ACC title game, and as we all know, the Hurricanes are rebuilding.
The ever-growing Florida State hype machine is legitimate—it’s not out of control—and I think it’s good for the team. After suffering embarrassing losses to Clemson, Wake Forest and Virginia in 2011, this 2012 Florida State team will have plenty to prove. The preseason hype is going to give the Seminoles the confidence they need to get FSU back to being the boss of college football, and those inexplicable losses last year will keep the Tribe humble.
Confident, but humble.
Jimbo Fisher may not like mottos, but that sounds like a good one to me.