Well, we're here.
When you're ranked in the top five for an extended period of time, like Florida State has been this year, the questions of if this team could match up with the teams of the past arise. So for fun, let's go back to the last time Florida State won a national championship—the 12-0 Chris Weinke-led Seminoles.
That year, Florida State became the first team, and only team ever, to go wire to wire, meaning it started off the year No. 1 and finished there, too. It had Weinke at the helm, who would go on to win the Heisman Trophy the next year, as well as superstars like wide receiver Peter Warrick and kicker Sebastian Janikowski.
This year's edition of the Seminoles has people reminiscing about that 1999 team, as the last time the Seminoles started off 8-0, it was in fact their last championship year.
First method of comparison is to look at the opponents that the teams faced (in 2013's case, will face):
|1999 vs. 2013 opponents (result in parentheses)|
|Louisiana Tech (W 41-7)||Pittsburgh (W 41-13)|
|No. 10 Georgia Tech (W 41-25)||Nevada (W 62-7)|
|No. 20 NC State (W 42-11)||Bethune-Cookman (W 54-6)|
|at North Carolina (W 42-10)||Boston College (W 48-34)|
|at Duke (W 51-23)||No. 25 Maryland (W 63-0)|
|No.19 Miami (W 31-21)||No. 3 Clemson (W 51-14)|
|Wake Forest (W 33-10)||NC State (49-17)|
|at Clemson (W 17-14)||No. 7 Miami (41-14)|
|at Virginia (W 35-10)||Wake Forest|
|Maryland (W 49-10)||Syracuse|
|at No. 4 Florida (30-23)||Idaho|
|vs. No. 2 Virginia Tech (BCS National Championship) (W 46-29)||Florida|
FSU had to face off against four ranked teams in '99, which included two Top 10 squads in No. 10 Georgia Tech and No. 4 Florida. In 2013, the Seminoles have played three Top 25 teams but won't face another ranked opponent until bowl season unless Miami makes it back to the ACC Championship.
Offensively, both teams could score video game-type numbers, which is easy to do when you have quarterbacks like Jameis Winston and Weinke calling the shots. Weinke was a junior in 1999, and Winston, of course, is a redshirt freshman.
|Weinke vs. Winston|
|Weinke||Winston (through eight games)|
|Average Yards per Game||282.1||339.4|
When comparing the two side by side, it's insane to see how Winston matches up. Through eight games, the redshirt freshman has one touchdown less than Weinke had through 12. It's highly likely that by season's end Winston will surpass Weinke's season total for passing yards as well, with fewer interceptions.
It's also worth noting that the 1999 championship team averaged 37.5 points per game, while the 2013 edition is averaging a mind-blowing 51.1. If that can hold up, the 2013 Seminoles will end up as one of the best offensive squads to take the field for FSU.
Each team looks pretty much equal when it comes to the defensive side, though the 2013 team's issue with the run is noticeable when compared with the lockdown defense of the past. Through eight games, FSU has 10 less interceptions than the 1999 team, a margin that's manageable to make up.
|Points allowed per game||15.8||13.1|
|Rushing yards allowed per game||98.8||129.1|
|Passing yards allowed per game||205.8||158.5|
It wouldn't be a comparison without taking a look at how FSU's current receiving core matches up to Peter Warrick, who was a complete game-changer for the 'Noles. In 1999, Warrick caught for 934 yards and eight touchdowns.
The closest comparison is Rashad Greene, who has 773 yards and eight touchdowns through eight games this season. Warrick also returned punts for the 'Noles, had three rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown.
While one must take these comparisons with a grain of salt, given that comparing teams is strictly hypothetical, it is impressive that the 2013 team matches up so well with the last championship team to come through Florida State.
If the pieces fall into place, then they'll be comparable in other category: national titles.