The stage was set for No. 10 Florida State to prove the BCS computers wrong. With 15 minutes to play and a 10-point lead at home, the Seminoles failed to deliver against their in-state rival, and No. 4 Florida won 37-26.
This was a demoralizing defeat for Jimbo Fisher’s team, as the Gators scored 24 unanswered points at the beginning of the fourth quarter and kept their remote chance at a spot in the national championship game alive.
It was a fitting end to the regular season for the Gators and the Seminoles, as the SEC continued to assert its dominance over the rest of the nation’s conferences.
With three teams in the Top 5 of the BCS Standings heading into this week, the SEC has been head and shoulders above every other league in terms of depth and level of competition.
This match gave the Seminoles a chance to prove that No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia may be national powerhouses, but Florida's No. 4 ranking was inflated.
An FSU victory would have proved that the Gators climb from No. 23 in the preseason poll to a team on the cusp of being in the national championship game was not deserved, and that Florida was simply riding the coattails of the other SEC teams through another flaw in the BCS rankings system. But this result affirmed the SEC’s dominance.
Even if the result had ended up being close, there would have been an argument that the best ACC team from this season could compete with the second-tier teams in the SEC. But even that does not appear to be true.
The fact that the SEC is the best conference in college football was never on the line in this game. But the result shows that the level of competition in the ACC simply isn’t close to what the SEC offers. The Big 12 and the Pac-12 may offer better competition, but neither of the conferences have as many elites teams as the SEC.
Florida State and its fans certainly felt slighted by the discrepancy between these two teams' rankings heading into this matchup, despite both having the same record.
But when the chips were down and the Seminoles had the chance to settle that argument on the field, they came up completely empty.
This was another dominant year for the SEC, and the Gators’ win is yet another piece of evidence showing the gap between the nation’s best conference and every other league.