With half the season gone, it seems only appropriate to take a look back at the 'Noles' opponents for the first half of the season, to better determine just how well the boys in Garnet and Gold are truly doing, and get a gauge on how well their chances are to finish with an equally impressive mark in the second half of the season.
Let's take a look—
Game 1: Samford
What it told us: nothing. Samford is an average (at best) FCS opponent. While the game was supposed to be draped in historical anecdotes like "Bobby Bowden played FSU in the 1950s losing the last contest between these two teams," and "Jimbo Fisher was also a quarterback at Samford, under Terry Bowden," etc. Well, the only stat or anecdote this game provided was that Florida State dominated from the word "Greg!"
My preseason prediction: Florida State by 67.
Actual outcome: Florida State by 53.
Game 2: @Oklahoma
What it told us: For every step FSU seemed to take forward in the offseason, it was painstakingly clear that they had taken two giant steps back in Norman.
After losing convincingly to big brother Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mark Stoops went back to the drawing board. Looking for inspiration, he turned one of the Seminoles' most lopsided losses into one of its defensive successes. Since the Oklahoma game, Florida State has not allowed more than two touchdowns in a game, has one shutout (Wake Forest), and is a national leader in scoring defense, rush defense, sacks and tackles for a loss.
My preseason prediction: Oklahoma by 12.
Actual outcome: Oklahoma by 30.
Game 3: BYU
What it told us: FSU might not be in for such a long season after all. Granted, BYU was a team with their own offensive woes, breaking in a top-rated freshman recruit quarterback (Jake Heaps), as well as replacing several key losses on both sides of the ball.
But, the Seminoles' effort against BYU exceeded that of a key common foe in upstart Air Force, who managed to take the Sooners (just one week removed from the 'Noles victory) down to the wire. This vital benchmark told us that Florida State was, indeed, not as bad as their worst loss. This also put FSU back in the green in the "wins" column.
My preseason prediction: Florida State by 35.
Actual outcome: Florida State by 24.
Game 4: Wake Forest
What it told us: Florida State would finally get their much anticipated revenge over a Wake Forest team that handed them their first home shut-out loss since 1973. The silver lining to this game wasn't only that FSU won in convincing fashion, but that they managed their first shut-out victory in the Doak since that 2006 matchup.
With the win, the Seminoles moved to 3-1, and provided some much needed encouragement to the young, but up-and-coming defense.
My preseason prediction: Florida State by 34.
Actual outcome: Florida State by 31.
Game 5: @Virginia
What it told us: FSU's oft questionable passing defense could handle a top 25 passing offense. Mark Verica and the upstart Cavaliers were anything but their 2009 former selves under the new direction of head coach Mike London. For a team capable of going toe-to-toe across the country against then-ranked USC, the Cavs were hoping to spoil Florida State's season in Charlottesville.
What ended up happening was a bit of the opposite. Florida State's defensive line came out of the gate putting pressure on fifth-year senior Verica, recording six sacks on the day in addition to two interceptions. FSU's offense established three rushing scores in addition to an overwhelming 256 yards on the ground compared to Virginia's 25.
My preseason prediction: Florida State by 8.
Actual outcome: Florida State by 20.
Game 6: @Miami
What it told us: The Seminoles are the team to beat in the ACC. No disrespect to the likes of Maryland (4-1) or NC State (5-1) but the Seminoles are firmly in the driver's seat after soundly defeating the Coastal's best—and a huge rival—in Miami just a week ago.
It also told us that Jimbo Fisher is every bit as good as billed and has revitalized a once middle-of-the-pack Florida State squad. Combined with losses by USF and Florida the same week, FSU was the only BCS conference school in the state of Florida to win this past weekend and sits atop the rankings among all Florida schools.
While it is far too early to crown them "State Champions," the skies do seem to be clearing a bit since handling the Hurricanes.
My preseason prediction: Miami by 6.
Actual outcome: Florida State by 28.
My record through the mid-point of the season: 5-1, (with a win over Miami my only incorrect pick.)
*All of my preseason predictions can be located here.
So, the Seminoles have exceeded their expectations through the first six games of the year, posting a 5-1 record, compared to most experts' predictions (including mine) of a 4-2 record, with losses to Oklahoma and Miami. Jimbo's "Fishermen" are all playing like they haven't had a catch in weeks—which, incidentally, is somewhat true with regard to the lack of production from the passing game—and the resurgent Seminoles seem to be on a mission, with something to prove.
Where the Seminoles will go from here is still anybody's guess, but I still plan to take my best stab at it.
There are some entertaining games of interest that fans and experts alike may want to pay particularly close attention to heading into the second half of the season. With the Seminoles firmly in the mix for a shot at an ACC crown or, more importantly, a BCS Bowl berth, there are still plenty of games to tune into this year.
Here is a breakdown of each of those remaining contests.