After beating the rival Florida Gators 37-7 in the Swamp, Florida State now turns its eye to the ACC championship game in Charlotte, N.C. The matchup will pit the Seminoles against the darlings of the ACC, the 2013 surprise Duke Blue Devils squad, and it should end the way the rest of Florida State's contests have finished—with a big 'Noles win.
Currently riding an eight-game win streak to a 10-2 record, the Blue Devils are the next obstacle to Florida State's BCS national championship campaign. Coach David Cutcliffe's team is riding a massive karma wave into Charlotte, and as CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman points out, it started three years ago with a Cutcliffe quote:
Cutcliffe on his football program at Duke winning an ACC title in next 5-6 yrs: "Absolutely. One hundred percent guarantee it."— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) February 4, 2010
The Blue Devils are on the verge of making good on that promise; the only problem is that it's 2013. Not 2005, when the Atlantic contender was a 7-4 Florida State team. Not 2006, when a Wake Forest team rose up to win the division. Not 2007 or 2008, when Boston College found its way into the mix.
The 2013 season is all about Florida State, and despite a slow start on the road against the Gators, Florida State did what it was supposed to do: roll to victory. As Jimbo Fisher's team has done all year, the Seminoles moved the ball at will against the opponent and put points up on the scoreboard.
This is not the "lost decade" Florida State team that was vulnerable in big spots, but it also isn't a Florida State team of old. Rather, this is Fisher's Florida State team—a unit that eschews flash and style to focus on checking off the requirements to get its title shot. This team isn't out to make statements or demand respect; it simply wins games in businesslike fashion.
Florida State is simply filling out prerequisites to get to the big stage.
That means Duke, like the Florida Gators this weekend and every team before it, is merely a box. Not the great story people will push over the airwaves and online. Not the scrappy opponent that came from behind to win games all season.
No, for Florida State, Duke is just the next box to check—and history is not on the Blue Devils' side.
More importantly, the present is not on Duke's side. With a title shot on its racket, now is not the time to expect a letdown from the Seminoles.
Now is when the meetings count the most, when the practice reps matter in a big way. Now is when Florida State makes its final push toward a shot at greatness.
Duke is a great story. Florida State is a great team.
Florida State has been a buzz saw in 2013, and that should continue in Charlotte next week. Kudos to Duke for the double-digit wins, but Florida State won't take its foot off the gas now.