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Florida State not ready to crawl into ‘elite’ group in college football

EJ Manuel

Not yet, anyway.

The opportunity was there for Florida State, an AP top-5 team hosting the top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners at home. At night. In prime time. Deion Sanders — Mr. “Prime Time” himself — couldn’t have set the stage any better.

But what followed once the first whistle blew were were two 30-minute acts of frustrating drama, ending in a tragedy, as the ‘Noles fell by a final score of 23-13. The SparkNotes of this story would tell you that Florida State failed on multiple occasions to take advantage of any and practically all opportunities that were handed to them by Oklahoma — which, if you hadn’t guessed by now, were few and far between.

There were penalties, negative plays, turnovers, squandered chances in good field position, all of which resulted in a frustrating night for a team looking to get back into the conversation of college football’s elite programs — something the ‘Noles haven’t been a part of for the last several years.

It didn’t help that FSU”s stud quarterback E.J. Manuel found his way trotting to the locker room in the second half after suffering what appeared to be an injury to his mid-section. Oklahoma just so happened to be the hardest-hitting team on a Week 3 Saturday.

It was a disappointing showing in front of a sellout crowd, and for the ACC*, which despite a signature win by Clemson over Auburn, was looking to have the conference’s preseason favorite knock off the Big 12’s top program.

(*note: if you also include a blown lead by Pittsburgh against Iowa and a rough loss by Syracuse to USC. Just sayin’) 

But all is not lost for Jimbo Fisher‘s team just yet.  As we’ve seen before, it’s better to lose early and rally late if FSU still wants a shot at the BCS title game. Looking ahead (because we do that so well), a road game at the aforementioned Clemson awaits FSU next week — a potential hangover game after a tough loss — and a trip to The Swamp to meet the Gators at the end of the season could be potential roadblocks for the Noles as they look to get back to the BCS title.

Is Florida State still a good team? Yes. Do they have a chance to get to the Orange Bowl? Absolutely. Are they back to 1990’s Bobby Bowden form? Well, they’ll only get there when they start beating the best in college football.

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31 Responses to “Florida State not ready to crawl into ‘elite’ group in college football”
  1. southernpatriots says: Sep 18, 2011 12:12 AM

    Oklahoma was the better team. Congratulations Sooners!

    FSU defensed Oklahoma fairly well. Other teams will examine now FSU did it and will try to duplicate it but unless you have the depth of quality that the Sooners have and we only know a few teams which may.

  2. trbowman says: Sep 18, 2011 12:24 AM

    It’s not like they were blown out…..

  3. freemantowilliams says: Sep 18, 2011 12:25 AM

    Fsu not elite huh? I wonder what would have happened had ou lost Landry broyles and stills. Thats the conditions we had to play under. I’m just sayin…

  4. Ben Kercheval says: Sep 18, 2011 12:32 AM

    You also played under three turnovers (2 committed by Manuel), no run game (Manuel had the most yards) and defense that did everything in their power for 50 + minutes to keep you in the game. In fact, the lone touchdown FSU did score was by Trickett (be it a crazy TD or not), so I’m not buying the injury excuse. Game plan changed with Trickett, no doubt, but for all the costly penalties and squandered opportunities, FSU was still within one score twice in the fourth quarter.

  5. ou1248 says: Sep 18, 2011 1:14 AM

    FSU’s defense was too amped up for this game. They had way too many personal foul penalties that extended several drives for the Sooners. They are lucky that the score differential wasn’t greater.

  6. southernpatriots says: Sep 18, 2011 5:32 AM

    When a team plays a premier team (such as #1 ranked Oklahoma) an effort of captitalizing on opportunities as Ben said and avoiding silly penalties as out128 stated is essential.

    It appeared to be a good defensive plan for the Seminoles and it was their defense which kept them in the game. Their offense plan (and or execution of that plan) was suspect. Jimbo Fisher did what Les Miles tries to do at LSU, he kept his team in contention with the possibity of winning in the 4th quarter. That was good game coaching. It appears FSU may not have all the personnel it needs to win against the very elite.

  7. stoopwitzer says: Sep 18, 2011 8:48 AM

    One of these days southernpariah will learn to speak without sounding like a condescending ignoramus but sadly, today is not that day. It’s all about growth really… much like FSU showed tonight. Unlike SP, they actually are on the precipice of something great…

    well, besides in their own heads that is.

  8. canetic says: Sep 18, 2011 9:15 AM

    It’s difficult to tell how good (or bad) FSU is at this point. They’ve only beaten Lousiana-Monroe and Charleston Southern, and they’ve lost to the only Div 1 team they played (at home). Next week they are at Clemson so that should be a useful barometer to determine if they are any good.

  9. gorilladunk says: Sep 18, 2011 9:17 AM

    Please save the “Manual got hurt” as an excuse. When he left the game, the ‘Noles had managed a whopping three points. If OU could get past their bug-a-boo of scoring inside the 5 yard line. this would’nt have been even close.
    @stoopwitzer..ignore the flowery language from SP, their heart is in the right place and in the end, that’s all that matters.

  10. jmb795 says: Sep 18, 2011 9:21 AM

    OU is probably the best team in the nation. The game was tied in the 4th quarter. I’d say FSU’s improvement is pretty evident.

  11. southernpatriots says: Sep 18, 2011 9:38 AM


    We are fans of FSU, and most especially fans of its coach, Jimbo Fisher, a truly great man. We know he and his wife Candi personally and hope they do very well at FSU, as we told them when they left us. We support the foundation he and his beloved wife has established for their precious son and other children suffering from Fanconi anemia. We have also sent several emails to Coach Fisher and to his AD Randy Spetman asking them to consider joining the SEC, as Texas A & M is doing.

    Two dear friends are alums and boosters of FSU and are close to Coach Bowden and we have met him on several occasions. Bobby is another great man and a great motivator. He is a great inspiration to all those afflicted with cancer, which has affected our family.

    Of course, FSU is rebuilding or building, whichever you prefer. However, they did not take advantage of numerous opportunities to win the game. We know Coach Fisher and his assistants will make this clear to the team and they will try to shore up those weaknesses.

    Other teams are also rebuilding/building and they will lose games this season. Should we each time say, “They are re/building so we will not give credit to their opponents when they win.” “They are re/building, so we will personally demean other posters if we misinterpret what they post and if we think in any way they are not overly supportive of our team?”

    You may not be, but you act like a jerk with your comments. Why do you need in any way to make any of your comments to be acussatory or demeaning to any other poster? It demeans you, not us.

    Come to an upcoming LSU home game and enjoy the best in Cajun cuisine and Southern and Cajun hospitality. Tell us you are a fan of any other team than LSU and get served first and receive an additional free gift!

    Have a great day!

  12. prscorpio29 says: Sep 18, 2011 9:53 AM

    FSU was playing just as lethal on defense. Their defense was flying around and keeping them in the game. So I’d say the are closer then expected.

  13. jaxhombre says: Sep 18, 2011 9:55 AM

    I’m a gator fan but they did not embarrass themselves. They were in that game for a long time.

  14. WingT says: Sep 18, 2011 10:23 AM

    To win on the road in a hostile environment is impressive anyway you look at it. Oklahoma’s defense was swarming. Those were some of the hardest hits I have seen all year. They fly to the ball and deliver the wood . FSU fought hard until the last play of the game. They will get better as the year goes along.

  15. stoopwitzer says: Sep 18, 2011 10:39 AM

    Verbose is the word SP. you should learn it and try to avoiding defining it.

  16. alligatorsnapper says: Sep 18, 2011 10:55 AM

    @stoop…judgmental and presumptuous are words you practice and should try to avoid in the future.

    You are not required to read any southernpatriots postings any more than you are required to read any others. We want to read them and enjoy them. Don’t act like you are speaking for the CFT family as a whole with your postings, because you aren’t.

    Get out and help others. It will help you feel better. I do and it helps me.

    I read through all this thread and like all others it is an opinion thread. There is no need to be personally abusive for someone’s opinion. That is not the best of college football fans. You can express your opinion and do it without attacking any other poster.

  17. chiefagc5675 says: Sep 18, 2011 11:48 AM

    I watched the game and no one mentioned what I saw as an important difference in the teams.
    Manuel got hurt and for 2 or 3 plays the video showed him in obvious pain- looking toward the sideline- and I don’t think it was just to get the play- a non-redneck coach would have taken him out (the guy’s name is jimbo so there’s no guessing involved there) there was a shot showing jimbo kicking at the ground- I guess he was upset that his best bet to win was hurt. It’s a freakin game rednecks- not a war. The coach
    took a chance at further injury because his priority was winning- not the safety of one of his best players.

  18. lakesidegator says: Sep 18, 2011 1:38 PM

    Good point, Chief. Even if some haters thumb you down.

  19. WingT says: Sep 18, 2011 2:06 PM

    Chief – another viewpoint might suggest that Manuel did not take himself out of the game. We all know that Manuel is not a redneck…go figure

  20. chiefagc5675 says: Sep 18, 2011 2:37 PM

    WingT (guess that nic means you’re old)
    Wasn’t it fourth down when he came out? Your last sentence makes no sense except to others who learned to misspeak our language in Florida. The elipsis means something was left out- what did you leave out?

  21. WingT says: Sep 18, 2011 2:55 PM

    Chief, old is a state of mind.

    I see your point regarding the use of an ellipsis
    ( notice that I spelled it correctly). I have been using it improperly up ’til now. I have made a note of it and will try hard to correctly apply it in the future. I was simply using it as a pause in my post.

    Now back to the original point that I was trying to make. Usually players take themselves out of the game when they are hurt. How was Jimbo ( the redneck as you call him) suppose to know that Manuel couldn’t go? I know that Manuel pitifully kept looking to the sidelines but I never saw him give the signal to “take me out”.

  22. chiefagc5675 says: Sep 18, 2011 4:21 PM

    Wing T
    Thank you for letting me know I spelled ellipsis wrong. I hate to make mistakes like that. I use a – as a pause but many don’t. I haven’t used ellipsis in 25 years or so but that’s not an excuse.
    I know that pros take themselves out
    and college stars do also but whatever FSU fans think of Manuel- most of the country doesn’t know him. He looked to me as though he wanted to come out but maybe he wondered what the redneck FSU fans would think of that and instead tried to get Jimbo to take him out- as he should have judging from Manuel’s facial expressions between plays.
    I think we’re just going to have to agree to disagree about this. It’s just my opinion
    that to southerners, football is more than a game- that’s why so many of them say “we” when they talk about their favorite team.
    I had a chance to see a film of a football game played in the 60’s or 70’s recently and I miss those days. No end zone dances- act like you’ve been there before and you expect to return. No gorilla acting out after a sack- they just got up and got ready for the next play- no taunting- at least nothing that fans would know about- there could have been trash talking but there were no stupid personal fouls because they couldn’t control their emotions. Today almost every kickoff and punt return has the same dumb penalty- blocking in the back- guys who do that are too dumb to be in college. In my opinion.

  23. WingT says: Sep 18, 2011 5:15 PM

    Chief – I hear you regarding the old days and the lack of celebrating after a score, let alone a key play. The players had more respect for the game and they played with sportsmanship, which seems to be lacking in today’s game.

    It’s true that southerners seem to have a greater passion for the game of college football – is that a bad thing?

    When you called me out on the ellipsis thing I had to go to goggle to figure out what the H it meant, lol. I was so happy to see that you had misspelled the word :) We all make mistakes !

    I would love to know what you mean by your use of the label “redneck”. Doesn’t seem like a flattering way to describe a loyal fan base or head coach.

  24. southernpatriots says: Sep 18, 2011 6:13 PM

    WingT: From what you have written reminiscing of your youth, we know your father was a hard worker as was ours. Our father and grandfather worked at jobs and then came home after working 8 hours to work 8 more hours in the fields.

    Though they were Cajuns, they worked in the high humidity and high heat in the summer time and quickly became tanned, sometimes burned on the backs of their necks, resulting in red necks.

    That was originally a term of description, not degrogatory, just descriptive that the men did farm work or worked in the open air, sometimes laying railroad tracks, working on road beds, hoeing corn, beans, and cotton, putting up roofs and shingles, etc. Most of the work required being bent over somewhat, and working. People today make it whatever they want it to be and it no longer has the connotation it did when the term originated.

    Deb and our family discussed this some time ago when through another poster a negative connotation was intended. Yet, most American ancestors were “rednecks.” Most Americans several centuries ago and even into the present day (far less today) were participants in an agrarian economy, with most people working and living on farms or in rural areas, especially as Americans pushed westward from the original 13 colonies.

  25. WingT says: Sep 18, 2011 7:00 PM

    Thanks SouthernPatriots. I needed that.

  26. southernpatriots says: Sep 18, 2011 7:02 PM

    WingT: Thank you. You are more than welcome, always!

  27. djt3010 says: Sep 20, 2011 11:03 PM

    Bobby Bowden never beat the Sooners, never! Bobby had elite top ranked teams without a win against the Sooners. Just because of one loss to the #1 ranked team doesn’t mean they are not one of the elite teams this year. The Noles are a very good football team. The Clemson game will tell us more. If the Noles beat Clemson, they could very well be one of the elite teams of 2011.

  28. southernpatriots says: Sep 20, 2011 11:14 PM

    djt3010: We agree. Clemson is a test and there are many other games remaining. Loss v. #1 is no disgrace and does not a season ruin.

  29. lakesidegator says: Sep 25, 2011 8:12 PM

    Okay, so what now? F$U lost to Cremson. And now there is no way to determine how good/bad they are, since they don’t play much of a schedule for the rest of the season. And THAT is why they need to go to the SEC.

  30. southernpatriots says: Sep 25, 2011 10:04 PM

    lakesidegator: You have some great points. We were quite upset at FSU losing to Cremson. Apparently, they were overranked. And we really love Jimbo Fisher and his wife Candi, ever since they were at LSU. Apparently, they aren’t quite there yet.

  31. lakesidegator says: Sep 26, 2011 11:17 PM

    And that’s just fine, with the understanding that I recognize that beating the likes of Miami, Va Tech, and Florida could give the Noles somethings to savor. But the fans will “verbally elaborate” upon the other wins that are almost CERTAIN to unfold due to the unbelievable weakness of the conference schedule. That’s the problem with me, with those fans AND the media poles that put such emphasis upon the “loss column” in the rankings. I mean, F$U not losing to GaTech, Wake, Maryland, NCSt, Va, etc., year in and year out, is really expected, such as to numb the poll voters…inappropriately…to the true standing of the team, as compared to the teams in tougher conferences.

    And seriously, forget the USC bowl game last year. that was certainly a fluke, in my opinion, since the Lat left soooooo early in the game.

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