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E.J. Manuel stands in disbelief as FSU loses 17-16.
Saturday night proved do not fall for the hype for hype's sake.
Coming into this season, Seminoles fans knew that Florida State would likely win that elusive ACC Championship Game and make the Orange Bowl. I myself predicted a 12-2 record for Florida State.
As moans that words cannot understand came out of every Tallahassee apartment, the reality set in. Florida State is no longer mediocre, but the Seminoles are trapped in a predictable pattern.
It seems that the Seminoles are always one year behind their annual prognostication.
Think about it—they've been just behind the expectation curve every year of the Jimbo Fisher era.
Anyone who saw the 2010 edition of Florida State knows the team's record was slightly deceptive. Yes, the Seminoles finally turned the tables on the Hurricanes and Gators, but they were blown out by Oklahoma, lost a homecoming game to an inferior UNC team, had to nail a 55-yard field goal to beat Clemson, and "blew out" Boston College at home by a measly five points.
And they didn't even win the ACC Atlantic on their own. The Seminoles sat at 8-3 going against a crumbling Gators team. It took a Maryland upset over NC State for the Seminoles to even win the Atlantic Division. Virginia Tech then beat FSU; the same Hokies team that got upset at home by FCS James Madison!!!
The Seminoles could have easily gone 4-4 in the ACC and 7-5 overall in 2010.
But the false sense of hope a 10-4 finish made people think the Seminoles were talented, not just lucky.
In 2011, injuries plagued the Seminoles. Injuries or not, losses to Wake Forest and Virginia were inexcusable. The Seminoles could have easily finished 10-2 and won the ACC Championship. But the team wasn't ready.
It makes little sense that Seminole fans should have expected a national championship from a team that hasn't even won an ACC Championship. So this year, the Seminoles will likely have to settle for the Orange Bowl (not too bad of a consolation prize).
So 2010 was a recovery from Bowden's forgettable last season. 2011 was becoming competitive in big games. 2012 was becoming relevant in big games and winning the ACC. Based on this logic, the Seminoles should play for the national championship in 2013.