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.