This season has been full of up and downs for the Seminoles. Their season long ride has been like a roller coaster, only the ride didn't end in enjoyment.
Players have battled injuries and criticism from fans all year. Most of those fans felt they under achieved their expected goals. Maybe the pedestal was set entirely too high for a team that was coming off yet another mediocre season.
In Jimbo Fisher's first year as head coach we got to see a plethora of good, new characteristics that were lacking from this team a year ago. Heart, desire, passion and a never-quit attitude are just some of the newly noted characteristics. Although certain games ended in heartbreak they battled through adversity and found themselves in a position to win the ACC Championship. Albeit Virginia Tech took care of business, winning the game 44-33.
The season is far from over. They still have an opportunity to reach the ten win mark for the first time since 2003 when they finished the season 10-3.
Not only do they have a great chance of reaching that mark but what better way to do so by playing a familiar foe. That's right Florida State will square off against good ole' Steve Spurrier and his South Carolina Gamecocks in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on December 31st. Though he isn't dawning the blue and orange colors this time around, it's still the same ball coach that was on the opposite sidelines from 1990-2001 against the Seminoles.
This is by far his best team since he started coaching the Gamecocks back in 2005.
"We finally have the pieces we've been searching for since I took over this program," Spurrier said in a press conference. "Stephen Garcia has molded into a solid quarterback and leader. Our defense has been strong all season and then what more can I say about Marcus Lattimore than he has been our workhorse this year."
It will certainly be a difficult battle for both teams. The Seminoles are hoping that Christian Ponder will be back and healthy for the game. If not they will again turn to EJ Manuel who did a solid job against Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game.
EJ has proven that he can step into a tough situation and perform the way his coaches expect him too.
"We have all the confidence in the world when EJ is out there," Fisher said. "The players have confidence in him and he is the future of this program."
What really plagued the Seminoles last week against Virginia Tech was their defense. It definitely didn't show up and made a lot of mistakes like they did earlier in the season against Oklahoma. If they are anticipating on holding the Gamecocks offense at bay, then I suggest they step it up or Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery will be having their way with them all game.
A lot of key components will weigh into this battle. Both teams come in at 9-4 and are trying to rebound after disappoint conference championship game losses. Who will come out on top? No one is really sure, but if both defenses play like they did last week then we may have a shootout on our hands.
If the Seminoles manage to come out on top then in my eyes it has been a very successful season. Destroying both in-state rivals, beating a familiar foe in Steve Spurrier, ending the new year with a bowl win and reaching the ten win mark would be the icing on the cake. But even if they were to lose against the Gamecocks, the future is still extremely bright for these Seminoles.