Jameis Winston Shines Bright, but Continued Slow Starts Will Ruin Florida State

Perry Kostidakis@perrykosContributor ISeptember 28, 2013

Full disclaimer before I start: I'm aware that FSU was not supposed to compete for a national championship this year. I'm aware that they weren't even favored to win their division, with Clemson getting all the media love. I'm aware that the team lost 11 key players to the NFL Draft, and that this team is young with not a lot of experience, that they were expected to be a year away before contending. 

So when I say that these slow starts need to stop, I'm not overreacting; I'm just aware of what this team is capable of. The talent on Florida State may not be equalled anywhere else in the country, and if they can learn to play together, then they could very well beat just about anybody in the nation. 

Jameis Winston once again looked like the messiah that the Florida State fanbase has proclaimed him as, throwing for 330 yards and four touchdowns with his only slip up coming from a deflected pass turned interception. He made a few simple mistakes, especially early on, but much like in the Nevada and Pitt games, he made up for it as the game went on, getting more and more comfortable against the Boston College defense. 

The highlight of the game came from Winston as the clock ticked down in the second half. He evaded a couple of defenders, looked downfield, found Kenny Shaw streaking down the sideline and threw up a prayer, culminating with a fantastic catch by Shaw for a score. 

But Winston can only do so much.

The defense was torched for the most points since the 2012 loss to Florida and the fifth-most in the last three years (47 to Oklahoma in 2010, 37 to UNC in 2010, UF and Clemson in 2012, 35 to Wake Forest and Clemson in 2011).

The Seminoles trailed 17-3 in the first quarter and the defense continually faced a short field as the special teams gave up several big punt and kick returns.

Against an overmatched ACC opponent like Boston College, the offense can make up for the defense's shortcomings. When teams like Clemson, Miami or even Maryland face off against the 'Noles, things might get a little more out of hand if they can't nail the fundamentals of defense.  

That's not to say this squad isn't talented nor disciplined. For all their shortcomings, the Noles can make up for it with a huge play at every time. But if this team has aspirations for a national championship, they have to learn how to finish on tackles and how to stop the run. 

Figure those out, and FSU will be a very formidable team. 

Don't, and the looming date with Clemson may be a very long night.