When you're expected to do well, you can sometimes lose the feeling of fun and pride as you continue to achieve your goals on the way there. Every goal completed feels like a task, the pressure bears down on you and looms over you every step of the way.
For me, that's what the 2012 FSU football season felt like. With a team laden with talent and legitimate national title aspirations for the first time since the early 2000s, the season felt calculated and set up. The same aura surrounded USC last year, and Florida the year that Tebow cried after losing to Alabama. Hype and expectations weigh down and destroy the fun for the player, and the effect transfers over to the fans.
Going into the 2013 season, there were a few expectations placed on the team. Yes, the hype swirling around Jameis Winston was pretty high, but other than that, the Seminoles looked to be in a rebuilding year, one that would set up a potential 2014 championship run. Jameis would work out his kinks, the 'Noles would lose two or three games and play in a second-tier bowl as the ACC's third place team.
Few, if any, expected the Seminoles to be ranked sixth in the nation and be one win away from both becoming a legitimate national title threat and having a serious Heisman contender under center.
And it makes this season so much more fun that way.
There's something thrilling about slowly clawing into the top five rather than being gifted a spot by the preseason polls. There's something about earning believers rather than trying to prove the disbelievers wrong. Cries of underrated are much more fun than those of over.
The best part, should Florida State lose to Clemson next week, is that there won't be as big a blow of devastation as there could've been had they lost to the Tigers last year. Last year, it's a typical FSU loss, unable to show up in the big game. This year, it's a slip by a team with so much potential and such a bright future.
What we're experiencing this year is such an amazing thing, and to not appreciate it is insane. Take in this next week of the unknown, since after the Clemson game, everything changes. Either the rebuilding year prediction turns out to be true, or Florida State will suddenly find itself in the midst of the national title race.
Ignorance is bliss, and to be naive for the time being is a welcome and new feeling.
Here's to the 2013 Florida State Seminoles.