As a Seminoles fan, you had to have some hope going into the season, right?
What many fans viewed as a colossal mistake was fixed. Willie Taggart was out and in came highly respected Mike Norvell from Memphis to right the ship. Recruiting was trending up. With the pandemic in full effect, two conferences delayed their seasons, reducing the competition for slots in the Top 25 and potentially increasing television viewership. All-America candidate Marvin Wilson came back for his senior season to anchor the defense. After a camp competition, experienced quarterback James Blackmon returned as FSU’s starter. Everything was in place for Florida State to improve dramatically and get back to where the program feels like it historically belongs.
On Saturday, reality slapped the Seminoles in the face during a confounding, inexplicable loss to Georgia Tech who started a true freshman quarterback and was coming off a 3-9 campaign. What happened in Tallahassee?
New season but it’s the same team. The Seminoles jumped out to a 10-0 lead before falling apart and eventually falling 16-13 to the Yellow Jackets. Norvell summed it up well–but it sounds like something FSU fans have heard over and over again during the past three seasons.
“Collectively as a football team, we are not consistent enough. We missed out on some opportunities to get them off the field, allowed them to convert of 50 percent of the third downs which extended some drives. We just had some miscommunication, things that we absolutely cannot have in all phases. We had some critical penalties, some dropped passes, and obviously the three turnovers is something that absolutely hurt our football team,” Norvell said.
Norvell was very careful not to single out Blackmon for his late-game turnover deep in FSU territory that allowed Georgia Tech to get the game-winning score. Blackmon fumbled twice in the fourth quarter, protecting the ball much like he has in previous seasons–not well enough. Florida State does not seem to have a lot of good options yet to replace him at QB. Sophomore Jordan Travis got some snaps but he is not much of a passer at this point in his career. Travis makes his mark running the football, another area where the Seminoles to improve.
“We’re still growing. We are in the infant stage of where we are going as an offense,” Norvell said in his post-game press conference. Still, in Tallahassee, the rebuild looks like it might be a long one.
The Big 12 started off with a whimper as three of its teams dropped home games to Sun Belt schools. Iowa State lost to Louisiana, Kansas State fell to Arkansas State and Kansas was bludgeoned by Coastal Carolina! So far, Oklahoma and Texas look to be the only Big 12 schools with a chance but perhaps Oklahoma State can get it going with star running back Chuba Hubbard trying to go for the Heisman Trophy.
There will be a lot of things you will not agree with in my top 25. A quick reminder on how I rank teams: I care about who you have beaten or lost to on the field, not how good I think your team is or what I think would happen if two teams met on a neutral field. If your team is getting slighted, go beat someone. If you think someone is ranked too high, hang on for a week or two. They will probably lose and get put in their place. For now, I am going to leave the SEC teams that have not played toward the bottom of the rankings–but be assured that Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Auburn and, possibly, LSU will eventually be among the top teams in the country.
Top 25 for the Week beginning 9/13
1. Clemson (1-0) The Tigers look the part again this year. Trevor Lawrence was dominant at Wake.
2. Oklahoma (1-0) Spencer Rattler’s debut was as impressive as expected.
3. Notre Dame (1-0) I don’t think they’re better than the top teams in the SEC but, for now, the Irish have actual results.
4. Texas (1-0) UTEP never had a chance.
5. North Carolina (1-0) Started a little slow but the Tarheels blasted falling Syracuse.
6. BYU (1-0) Did you see what they did to Navy? That was a shellacking!
7. Georgia Tech (1-0) Winning at Florida State counts for something.
8. Louisiana (1-0) Special teams were the difference in a win at Iowa State.
9. Army (2-0) They’ve scored 79 points in two games and given up only 7.
10. Memphis (1-0) They were underwhelming in their opener.
11. Coastal Carolina (1-0) Second in a row over Les Miles and Kansas!
12. Louisville (1-0) Least impressive ACC winner from last week.
13. Alabama (0-0) Expect the Crimson Tide to make the playoffs.
14. Florida (0-0) Who you got in the SEC East? Gators or Dawgs?
15. Georgia (0-0) Clearly, I have the Gators.
16. Auburn (0-0( Love their sophomore QB Bo Nix.
17. LSU (0-0) Not sure they are going to be top 10 when all is said and done.
18. UCF (0-0) They better whip GT if they want playoff consideration.
19. Appalachian State (1-0) Did enough to win but they were not impressive.
20. Miami (1-0) We’ll see if the Canes are real on Saturday when they get Louisville.
21. Texas A&M (0-0) Lots of talent but can they keep up in the SEC West?
22. Kentucky (0-0) Should I really believe in UK with a new QB and all SEC schedule?
23. Pittsburgh (1-0) Another team I am not buying.
24. Virginia Tech (0-0) This team might sneak up on people this year.
25. Arkansas State (1-1) Hit the road to beat Kansas State and then headed to Tennessee to lose to a ranked Memphis team.
Reach Mike Synan at email@example.com.