This was the year for Florida State. Jimbo Fisher was entering his third year as head coach and the program had finally become fully his, with his stamp of approval across all aspects from practice to nutrition to recruiting. His roster was stacked with 5-star talent and his offense was led by an efficient fifth-year quarterback. The ACC offered up average competition and the Seminoles’ schedule favored them in nearly every match.
Florida State started off 5-0, and after a drubbing of top-10 Clemson, was declared to be finally back by the media and fans across the country. Then the Seminoles traveled to Raleigh. Florida State led 16-0 at halftime and Fisher called the game conservatively, choosing to punt rather than attempt a 51-yard field goal with his seasoned kicker who has already broken the ACC all-time scoring record and is on pace to break the NCAA’s record. That choice summed up the game and the Seminoles didn’t score a point in the second half, while North Carolina State scored 17.
One loss and a nightmare set in Raleigh later, Florida State became irrelevant in the BCS title conversation.
Fans expected more from Fisher. They trusted his system, his beloved process, his post-practice comments and they bought in. Then they got burned. A Wolf Pack-sized burn. It’s a burn that still seems to sting every time BCS standings are released and FSU sits at the bottom of the Top 10.
Fisher isn’t concerning himself with that.
“They are what they are,” Fisher said about the first BCS rankings in October. “We’ve got to play our schedule and everybody plays their schedule and we’ll see where we’re at at the end.”
He hasn’t changed his sentiments much over the course of a month and wants his team to focus on winning the rest of their games.
“Let’s wait until the end of the deal and see what happens,” he said. “I don’t let it frustrate me because I can’t control it.”
Fisher realizes that he sounds just like his head coaching counterparts around the country when talking about BCS standings being out of his control. The only difference seems to be that some of his counterparts, like his coaching role model Nick Saban, or Oregon’s Chip Kelly or Kansas State’s Bill Snyder know that when the final standings are released, their teams have serviceable shots at being in the coveted top two spots. Fisher’s team doesn’t.
Fisher’s point about overlooking the BCS and the computer rankings that he doesn’t understand reiterates that what’s gone is gone and there is no point dwelling on what never was. Florida State’s title hopes this season entered the ‘would’ve, could’ve, should’ve’ category after the freefall in Raleigh.
Six games into the season, the Seminoles’ championship hopes became as good as gone when their resume showed an ugly loss, two victories over FCS teams and no help from an ACC schedule that is weak at its best and inept at its worst. So Fisher is focused on what he can control from this point out. That starts with quieting the critics as his team goes into Blacksburg in what has turned into a career-game for the coach. Win, and his team likely punches its ticket to an ACC Championship or lose, and face further questioning about his ability to take Florida State back to where the program should be.
Fisher and the Seminoles have moved on. And as what seems to be the trend for the last decade, this season’s college football elite have moved on past them. Ousted from BCS relevancy, Florida State will set its sights on its first ACC Championship since 2005 and an Orange Bowl win. Then we can all go back to talking about how maybe 2013 will be Florida State’s year.