Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, September 19, 2014 at 8:00 PM
Just a few weeks into the season, and fans of the Florida State Seminoles have to be VERY concerned about the mindset of the defending college National Champions. Through two games, and assorted off-the-field headlines, the team has yet to show any inkling that they’re ready to play at an elite level. There have been short stretches that were reminiscent of last season. But, for the most part, it’s been a pretty stunning September as the team prepares for revenge-minded Clemson in its ACC opener that will be nationally televised Saturday Night.
*The Seminoles started with an unimpressive 37-31 survival as a 19-point favorite over Oklahoma State. Sure, Okie State may be better than people thought this year. But, not TWO TOUCHDOWNS better. Florida State’s defense had replaced fire with arrogance (the athleticism was still there). Florida State’s offense would follow up an electric play with a boneheaded decision that was more about showing off than trying to win a game. Clearly, the team had spent the summer celebrating last year rather than preparing for this year.
*That was followed by a 37-12 scrimmage win over the Citadel. Normally a 25-point victory margin isn’t any cause for concern. Florida State was favored by 56! Citadel is a glorified high school team of future heroes, while FSU was supposed to be an NFL team in college uniforms. Florida State scored 19 points less than the pointspread (failing to even “score the spread” is usually a great red flag for an overrated team). They missed expectations by 31 points.
*This past week, Jameis Winston got in trouble for publicly shouting a viral obscenity in an extremely conspicuous way. Not only was the content offensive…but it was clearly a “Hey, look at me, I can get away with anything” taunt at authority. Florida State did decide to suspend him for the first half against Clemson. Hey, they can’t risk losing their conference opener by suspending him for a full game! You couldn’t imagine many other college quarterbacks doing what Winston did in such a public way. This isn’t how champions behave! It’s how former champions implode.
There’s still plenty of time to get everyone on the same page. And, the 2014 schedule is fairly easy in what looks to be another down year for the ACC. Clemson presents a real threat talent-wise (particularly with Winston missing a half). But, Clemson was dominated by the Georgia team that lost last week at South Carolina.
Is Florida State going to fear anyone on their schedule? We’ve already run through the key elements of this week’s preview boxes for FSU. Here’s a quick look at Clemson.
Head Coach: Dabo Swinney
Quarterback: Cole Stoudt (Senior, game manager, struggled at Georgia)
Clemson (+8) lost at Georgia 45-21
Clemson (-34) beat South Carolina State 73-7
Clemson had an extra week to get ready, and didn’t make any dumb headlines with their free time. They certainly spent a lot of time watching last season’s humiliation on their home turf. No way Clemson wins if they play at the same level they did at Georgia. Can they match what Oklahoma State did and make it a game? The market is still pretty skeptical, even with the Winston suspension.
Las Vegas Line: Florida State by 15, total of 60.5
Florida State showed last year that they can toy with Clemson if so inclined. But, the 2013 team was on a mission…and crushed opponents while toying with them. So far in 2014, it’s all about the toys and not so much about the crushing. Some pundits are picking a Clemson upset here because of FSU’s seemingly disinterested mindset. That could definitely happen. Or, we could see a replay of Clemson/Georgia that gets out of hand. Heaven forbid we get a replay of last year’s rout.
JIM HURLEY has some strong ideas about how this one is going to play out. But, Clemson/FSU will only be part of the final ticket if it’s truly a BEST BET. The huge Saturday schedule is full of great opportunities. You’ll be able to purchase the final word Saturday morning right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about seasonal packages, or combination packages for football and baseball, call us in the office Saturday before first kick at 1-888-777-4155.
Back to the NFL tomorrow with our Sunday Night TV preview. Here’s the schedule for the next few days on these pages…
Sunday: NFL Sunday Night TV Preview…Pittsburgh at Carolina
Monday: NFL Monday Night TV Preview…Chicago at the NY Jets
Tuesday: College Football Notes
Wednesday: NFL Notes
Far too many champions lose their discipline after climbing to the top of the mountain. That’s never happened to JIM HURLEY! He’s been a WORLD CHAMPION for years, and is still at the peak of his game right now. Don’t make a move in Saturday college football until you hear what JIM HURLEY has to say!