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Florida State wins back-to-back ACC titles, set for Pasadena

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No. 1 Florida State (13-0, 9-0 ACC) may have gotten off to a slow start, but the Seminoles had few problems putting away No. 20 Duke (10-3, 6-3) in the ACC Championship Game Saturday in Charlotte. After winning their second straight ACC championship with a 45-7 victory over the Blue Devils, the Seminoles are now set to travel to Pasadena to play in the final BCS Championship Game.

Jameis Winston, the Heisman favorite showed a number of freshman moments that had been missing for much of the season. Credit some of that to Duke, but there were moments when Winston may have been trying to force some plays to happen that just were not there. A couple of overthrown passes were picked off by Duke’s secondary, but Winston still had a good night with 295 passing yards and three touchdowns. Winston is the only lock to receive a trip to New York for next weekend’s Heisman Trophy presentation, and it he is the clear favorite. His top target in this championship game was Kelvin Benjamin, who hauled in two touchdown passes from the redshirt freshman quarterback.

Up 38-0 in the fourth quarter, Jimbo Fisher kept his starters in with nothing to prove. The decision may have led to one of the uglier moments of the game, when Duke safety Dwayne Norman led with the crown of his helmet in to the chest of Florida State’s Nick O’Leary on a pass over the middle to the end zone. After Winston had already completed one long pass to move the Seminoles down field, he went right back to the air for O’Leary but threw a bit high. That left O’Leary wide open for a hit to the chest, but Norman was ejected after being called for targeting. Norman will have to sit out the first half of Duke’s bowl game, but why Fisher had his starters in there at that point in the game and why they were throwing deep to pile on is certainly worth some criticism and questioning. Florida State was not in a position to need any style points and Winston is already the runaway favorite for the Heisman Trophy. This was a poor decision by Fisher. Florida State picked up the touchdown shortly after with Devonta Freeman scoring from seven-yards out to go up 45-0.

With Ohio State losing in the Big Ten championship game against Michigan State, it looks certain to be Florida State and Auburn for the BCS Championship this season. We will find out for sure Sunday night when the bowl pairings become official with the final BCS standings of the season.

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45 Responses to “Florida State wins back-to-back ACC titles, set for Pasadena”
  1. Deb says: Dec 7, 2013 11:42 PM

    Congratulations to FSU on a great season!!

  2. realfootballfan says: Dec 7, 2013 11:45 PM

    They’re bringing that swag back to Tallahassee!!! Go get the crystal boys!!!

  3. gg206 says: Dec 7, 2013 11:50 PM

    Duke played better than I thought and were in the game middle of the 3rd and had several chances to make it close but shot themselves in the foot. The O’Leary play was bad for all involved and Jimbo should get heat for that.. Cutcliffe wanted no part of the post game hand shake and showed it with the 2 second hi and bye.. Ho Hum ACC title game

  4. realfootballfan says: Dec 7, 2013 11:55 PM

    gg206,

    You must have been watching a different game. They had 94 yards in the first half, lol. They wre thoroughly dominated outside of a couple of first quarter drives.

  5. dolphins4 says: Dec 7, 2013 11:57 PM

    It looks like Florida State is going to win the National Championship this year.

  6. jimmy53 says: Dec 7, 2013 11:59 PM

    Kevin:

    I’m so sick of the hypocritical media–when FSU wasn’t running up the score they were told they needed style points or they wouldn’t jump Oregon. Then when they demolish teams they get crap like Kevin wrote above.

    It’s like you haven’t watched an FSU game all season. The starters stay in the game until the score hits the 40′s and then they’re pulled. Also, you need to remember that they lost their 2nd string QB, and that leaves them with an extremely inexperienced 3rd stringer.

    Duke doesn’t get to talk all week about how they belong in the ACC Title game and then whine about FSU treating them like every other team they’ve played.

    If they don’t like it then don’t let them in the endzone.

  7. 8to80texansblog says: Dec 7, 2013 11:59 PM

    Should be a good game against the Tigers….

    Auburn will be BY FAR the best team the ‘Noles have seen but I think the ‘Noles are an excellent team and this will be a much better matchup than last year….

  8. bucrightoff says: Dec 8, 2013 12:01 AM

    FSU’s defense is very, very good. Auburn will need a huge rushing day to win, but can they get it? And even if they do, can they stop the Seminoles offense?

  9. realfootballfan says: Dec 8, 2013 12:08 AM

    Yes, the Auburn running game and Malzahn’s style presents a style that FSU hasn’t seen much, but so does our offense for them. Also, they will have roughly athletes that can match us, although top to bottom FSU is stacked over almost any other team in the nation. I think the difference is that FSU’s defense is special this year, which is rarely mentioned about this team. Stoops had them playing fundamentally good defensive football, but Pruitt has increased the aggressiveness and has them ball hawking, literally destroying teams every week. I was skeptical especially after that Boston College game, but he’s impressed me in his first year as DC.

  10. gg206 says: Dec 8, 2013 12:08 AM

    @realfootballfan.. I was watching the same game as you. Duke played tough defense and had a offense that was in position to score. I’m not saying they were gonna win, they stayed in the game into the 3rd at 17-0 and for that team against a beast FSU team and that from conference, that’s pretty damn good in my book.

  11. jimmy53 says: Dec 8, 2013 12:13 AM

    gg206: At the end of the first half FSU was on pace for 536 yards of offense and to cover a 30 point spread. Also, I believe FSU held Duke to less than 10 yards of offense in the entire 2nd quarter.

    Was it closer than expected–yes. But it was still a dominant 1st half—don’t let the talking heads force feed you your opinion. Just because they said it was a poor first half, didn’t mean it was actually so.

  12. nickp91 says: Dec 8, 2013 12:14 AM

    Big win for FSU

  13. detectivejimmymcnulty says: Dec 8, 2013 12:14 AM

    The end of game shanagins canbe boiled down to Winston wanting to clinch the Heisman for sure. I have no problem with it because there’s no guarantee he’ll be in the position to win (see: Manziel, Johnny). Don’t want them to score? Simple, stop them.

  14. 8to80texansblog says: Dec 8, 2013 12:14 AM

    Auburn’s weakness is their defense and FSU’s offense is good enough to exploit it.

    But Auburn’s rushing attack is good enough to give even the best defense fits…. just ask Bama…

    I still lean towards FSU in this game but Tre Mason is a beast and should be #2 in Heisman voting…

  15. noleitup says: Dec 8, 2013 12:15 AM

    Good game duke fans. If youll hang on to cutcliffe youll will only get better. I wasnt able to unclinch my butt cheeks until the middle of the 3rd and no other team was able to do that to my noles. Celebrate my fellow nole fans the night is ours.

  16. raysfan1 says: Dec 8, 2013 12:20 AM

    FSU’s starters were still in on that drive for one reason. Winston threw his second pick on the preceding drive, and Fisher did not want to take him out with that being the end of his night. Herbstreit pointed out during the game that he would leave him in one more drive for that reason as well.

    Also, he had 330 passing yards on the night, not 295.

  17. realfootballfan says: Dec 8, 2013 12:23 AM

    8to80texansblog,

    No doubt. Jimbo and Jeremy Pruitt will be calling up their mentor to get his opinions on what went wrong with Alabama’s approach against them and what to not do. I just heard a stat that Missouri went from 2 in rushing defense to 9 in the SEC in one day. Ouch.

    I know FSU can throw on them, but lost in Winston’s season is that FSU pounds the rock as well, conventionally instead of the way they do, but FSU does run the ball quite a bit.

  18. raysfan1 says: Dec 8, 2013 12:26 AM

    As for the Duke player who got ejected…The hit was not malicious. He was just trying to make a play. The problem is he did put his head down and lead with his helmet. That is dangerous, not just for the receiver but for that defender as well–which is why that new rule is in place.

  19. detectivejimmymcnulty says: Dec 8, 2013 12:26 AM

    One year too late for the 4 team playoff. Of course would the 4th be Ohio State or Stanford? Either way (1) FSU (2) Auburn (3) Alabama and (4) Stanford/Ohio State would be epic. Imagine an Auburn v. Alabama rematch and FSU v. either the physical Stanford team or the high scoring Ohio State. Those all would make great games before “The Game.”

  20. frank booth says: Dec 8, 2013 12:27 AM

    Bummer for Florida State- now they actually have to beat a team that has played a reasonably difficult schedule. It looked like we were going to have to see a battle of two undefeated teams with schedules ranked 60+ in the nation before tonight. Florida State can’t even play a decent team in their conference championship game.

  21. fruitcovejag says: Dec 8, 2013 12:28 AM

    Exactly jimmy53. If Cutcliffe is angry about the score, he needs to be upset at his team. This is the championship game for crying out loud! FSU won in their typical fashion regardless of opponent: blowout. If I were an FSU fan, I’d rather play Auburn than Alabama. This is a much better matchup for FSU. This would have been a good year for the 4 team playoff. FSU plays Alabama, 1 vs 4. And Auburn plays Michigan State, 2 vs 3. Can’t have everything….

  22. realfootballfan says: Dec 8, 2013 12:31 AM

    frank booth,

    I don’t think any of our fan base have been worried about who we’re playing from when Alabama was number 1 until today when it’s been up in the air who we’d be playing. Our boys are ready.

  23. frank booth says: Dec 8, 2013 12:34 AM

    Maybe so- but FSU hasn’t faced any tough competition yet, as their schedule ranking shows-

  24. gg206 says: Dec 8, 2013 12:36 AM

    I support FSU athletics all day but if I have to hear FSU fans like some of y’all quoting stats all night about how much yardage Duke had then I’m gonna be sick. I don’t need Brent and Herbstreit feeding me opinions, the eye test can suffice just well. Duke was in the game till about midway through the 3rd regardless of how much yardage either team had.. And if you FSU fans wanna keep talking, here’s this..remember if your team was on pace for 500+ yards and only had a 17/24 pt lead over a clearly inferior opponent, then who’s responsible for that? Like I mentioned, Duke played better than I expected.. They weren’t gonna win but I give them credit as you should as well…Be humble and give credit when it’s Due FSU fans.. Don’t let that smoke and mirrors SEC team look more sympathetic in the championship game because their fans don’t look like entitled pricks..

  25. fruitcovejag says: Dec 8, 2013 12:37 AM

    Frank Booth are you an OSU fan? Better for the fans that they got exposed in their conference championship than the NC like they have in the past!

  26. frank booth says: Dec 8, 2013 12:45 AM

    No, not an OSU or Auburn fan. OSU has had a similar easy schedule like FSU. Michigan State is a better team than Duke. Duke had their first winning season after 18 years, and they’ll probably crawl back into their hole after this fluke season.

    It doesn’t matter now. We’ll find out how good FSU is when they play Auburn.

  27. fruitcovejag says: Dec 8, 2013 12:46 AM

    Yes we will. Sorry Frank!

  28. frank booth says: Dec 8, 2013 12:48 AM

    Sorry about what?

  29. detectivejimmymcnulty says: Dec 8, 2013 12:50 AM

    I think Duke had a few contributing freshman @frank

  30. realfootballfan says: Dec 8, 2013 12:51 AM

    gg206 ,

    If you read what I said during this game, I clearly blamed Jimbo for it and hope he got that nonsense out of his system tonight. He was trying for the knockout punch stubbornly when all we had to do was take what they were giving us in shorter plays.

    Why you were worried when Duke couldn’t move the ball past the first quarter I don’t know, but go back and look at the game. Duke had 2 promising drives early in the game, one of which ended in a missed FG. That was the extent of their success. Not to mention that FSU fumbled on the 3 going in early in the game, otherwise it would have been 24-0. Duke was dominated, and no one has to sugar coat that because that’s what happened tonight.

    Now, if you’re a spoiled fan thinking because they’ve been getting up 35-0 on people all year in the first quarter that they were in trouble, that’s an expectation thing and could be considered a bit unrealistic that you felt if they don’t automatically do that every game, then they’re on upset watch.

  31. realfootballfan says: Dec 8, 2013 12:54 AM

    frank booth,

    You sound mad, lol. Who would you rather see there, buddy. Do you propose we do the Auburn vs. Alabama thing again like a couple of years ago. The SEC is clearly the best conference and rightly so their conference champion is in the game. Other than them, FSU has been the best team in the country.

  32. frank booth says: Dec 8, 2013 1:01 AM

    Yes, I’m extremely mad. I can’t find other things in my life to interest me so I spend my time trying to live vicariously through sports teams and other outlets.

    I think this is certainly better than FSU playing Ohio State. I think it’s silly that so many of these top programs play such easy schedules. But it’s not really about competition at this level. It’s about revenue, and playing tough schedules with potential losses can hurt revenue.

  33. realfootballfan says: Dec 8, 2013 1:08 AM

    ,

    I didn’t know rooting for your alma mater is considered “living vicariously through these players,” lol. Yea, you sound mad about something for this to have worked out pretty well with the two best teams playing next month. If you hate how it played out, why are you here yapping about it? Sounds like a waste of time for a great thinker like yourself, lol.

  34. frank booth says: Dec 8, 2013 1:19 AM

    No, I think rooting for your alma mater or your favorite team is great. I just don’t get mad when teams I’m rooting for lose. I think it’s fine the way it played out, should be an interesting game.

    Would it make you feel better if I were mad about something?

  35. realfootballfan says: Dec 8, 2013 1:27 AM

    frank booth,

    Neither do I. FSU has been mediocre for a decade after 2003. I wasn’t bitching and moaning about it, but it’s great that they’re back. I hope you weren’t mad about anything, just didn’t get your logic about how teams don’t play anyone. FSU built it’s reputation on going anywhere to play anyone. They just did a home and home with Oklahoma. We open the season with Oklahoma State next year. We play Miami and Florida every year regardless if they’re up or down. Alabama clearly plays anyone since they’ve had Michigan, Virginia Tech, and us on their schedule recently. Auburn had a home and home scheduled with us a few years back that got cancelled for some reason. LSU plays Oregon, Virginia Tech, and other top programs to open their season. Just saying, you are kind of criticizing the wrong programs here since these teams that are in the game have a recent history of playing anyone they can work out a schedule with, so didn’t understand what you were particularly ranting about.

  36. jhagman99 says: Dec 8, 2013 1:27 AM

    He’s just a cranky old fart who tries to sound contrarian for the sake of it. Its kinda like how gatorfan is about going into conniptions over at his moms house when he repeatedly gets whipped. Internets…serious business.

  37. frank booth says: Dec 8, 2013 1:36 AM

    That’s fair- you’re right, I’m wrong. Miami and Florida are perennially good teams and FSU typically plays a competitive schedule- not so much this year, but mainly because Florida was in a down year and Miami was just OK. Ohio State, on the other hand, and Wisconsin, to name two, feast off of easy schedules.

  38. hittfamily says: Dec 8, 2013 1:38 AM

    Auburn is gonna get smoked. These recievers are amazing. That defense is amazing. Those runningbacks are amazing. That kicker is amazing. That quarterback is amazing.

    Seriously, name one thing Auburn does better than FSU.

  39. frank booth says: Dec 8, 2013 1:39 AM

    Hag Man- You’re really hurting my feelings.

  40. realfootballfan says: Dec 8, 2013 1:43 AM

    jhagman99,

    Yea, he said he wasn’t mad but was ranting about something that’s just not true, especially for FSU. Bobby Bowden built the program on the premise that we would play anybody anywhere or maybe he’s forgotten us going to Nebraska, Penn State, Tennessee, etc. and winning a lot of those games I might add.

    I’m also loving how fast the SEC and Auburn fans are talking their big s and how they’re going to drag us down the field. Sounds a lot like Buckeye fan until tonight, don’t you think?

    SEC fans, it’s your worst nightmare. A team built in Alabama’s image. We’re not Oklahoma, Ohio State, or Oregon. You’ll find that out in roughly a month’s time about the horses we’ve got that can match any team in the SEC and outclasses Auburn accross the board. And before you say I don’t know them, I know them very well because my sister is a graduate and a huge fan; just like a cousin of mine is an Alabama graduate and a huge fan of theirs, so I do my homework on who we’d be clashing at the top with eventually.

  41. realfootballfan says: Dec 8, 2013 1:53 AM

    frank booth,

    That’s our fault? Clemson also beat GA when they were at their strongest, and they shouldn’t have been on the same field with FSU. I don’t get into this nonsense because you should be able to see. Like I said in a previous post, FSU isn’t number one because of who they beat, they’re number one because they have first round draft picks across the board on their team. Btw, it’s been that way; go check the draft from last April. It just all came together this year under this freshman QB who’s night and day better than EJ Manuel was and Jeremy Pruitt took the defense to another level. There are people seriously who say they would take Winston number 1 overall if he were eligible today. Timmy Jernigan is a first round pick. Cameron Irving is a first round pick. Freeman, Wilder, and Williams will all play on Sunday. Green and Benjamin will be playing on Sunday. Green was the number 2 receiver in his class coming in behind Sammy Watkins. They collectively have the best secondary in the country. You obviously don’t know any of this because you’re concerned with what conference we play in. The ACC stunk back in the 90′s too and FSU was destroying teams nationally then, too. They can’t control who’s in the conference, or maybe you’ll be happier when Notre Dame and Louisville come on board next year? It’s not like they didn’t try to get into the SEC even though they were blocked by Florida to let you know they’re hardly scared to step on the field with anyone.

  42. frank booth says: Dec 8, 2013 2:12 AM

    No, I was saying the opposite- Florida was in a down year and Miami was just OK this year- I told you that you were right and I was wrong- Read my post from 1:36

  43. bonniebengal says: Dec 8, 2013 3:00 AM

    Go Noles!

  44. fiverings37 says: Dec 8, 2013 10:29 AM

    Duke. Bunch of late/illegal hit cheap shot artists. They deserved every bit of that beat down.

  45. fiverings37 says: Dec 8, 2013 10:29 AM

    Go Noles! Bring on Auburn!

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