By: Vaughan Sheffey (@vizzle311)
Even the most optimistic of FSU backers would most likely not have predicted the result of Saturday’s tilt in Death Valley. The undefeated Seminoles had not won at Clemson since the Chris Rix led squad of 2001 made a visit and came away with a 41-27 victory. The subsequent “Bowden Bowls” showcasing Bobby vs. son Tommy were not kind to those Florida State squads and that thought was in the back of many FSU fans’ minds going into this game (including mine). The raucous 80,000+ fans in Death Valley were primed and ready from College Gameday all the way through kickoff and it was obvious that their confidence was high.
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By: Vaughan Sheffey (@Vizzle311)
That nickname is almost too easy to come up with so I guess we all should have seen it coming. The hype was palpable going into the game vs. Pitt on September 2, both in Tallahassee and nationally. However, Jameis still was an unknown to the casual college football observer. Obviously, he exceeded even the most optimistic projections in his debut and EXPLODED onto the national scene. However, not only can you define the performance as explosive, but also extremely efficient: 25 of 27 passing (which easily could have been 26 of 27) for 356 yds, and 4 TDs. Oh and for good measure he added a rushing TD as well. His debut game was already being compared to Johnny Manziel’s first start by the time midnight struck on Sept. 3.
As an FSU diehard, it’s not hard at all to get completely wrapped up in this hype train and declare Jameis as the next great dual threat quarterback. Anyone who endured the Chris Rix years can remember longing for some kind of excitement. Rix was emblematic of the Seminole QB’s that started for Bowden in his later years: excellent overall athlete, high expectations, a few great games but overall could not quite deliver the Noles back to the elite tier in college football. What made this time even more frustrating was the up and down nature of the ACC as a football conference. Many fans will also remember Xavier Lee, who came in with expectations of being the next great one but never achieved that level. Don’t get me wrong either, I was a huge E.J. Manuel fan and loved what he did last year. However, he still did not become what we all hoped when he took over for Christian Ponder.
I am getting to my point and that is this: Don’t get caught up and crown him, at least not yet. Trust me, I want to just as much as the next FSU fan. I’m almost ready to build a shrine to him in my living room (much to the chagrin of my roommates). The real test is of course when the team travels to Clemson on October 19. If Famous Jameis can deliver in that game, then it’s really time to get excited, this I promise. If he can go into Death Valley and deliver another performance with star QB numbers but most importantly star QB EFFICIENCY, then he is the real deal and no one can dispute that.
By: Vaughan Sheffey (Twitter: @Vizzle311)
Last season: 12-2, ACC Champions (first since 2005)
Bolstered by yet another recruiting class ranked in the Top 3, Head Coach Jimbo Fisher and this year’s version of the Seminoles enter the season with expectations running high. However, it is noteworthy that the AP and Coaches Polls have them ranked at #12 and #10 respectively. This is a definite contrast to their Top 5 preseason rankings of the last 2 years and to most observers it probably seems like FSU is appropriately ranked going into this season. It is painfully obvious in 2013 that winning the perennially underpowered ACC does not garner an automatic top 5 ranking by any stretch of the imagination. In addition, the lopsided Orange Bowl victory against a completely over-matched Northern Illinois team at the end of last season capped a campaign in which the Seminoles were almost always the favorite going in. Still, it can be viewed as a successful season and returning to the top of the conference is a big step for Jimbo and his plans for returning FSU to annual contention for a national championship.
This season is a real tipping point in that the coaching staff needs and expects many of their own recruits to start living up to their potential and contribute in a big way this season. Florida State only returns 11 of 22 starters this season and were hit with more roster attrition than any other team in the ACC.