Sunday November 23rd, 2014

Are you not entertained?

Florida State’s tendencies shouldn’t surprise anyone by now, but they still do. This team's knack for comebacks this season is almost as common as the war chant in Doak Campbell Stadium. The No. 3 Seminoles capped their latest rally with a 20-17 win over Boston College on Saturday. They are often down, but never out. That’s what matters, as Florida State is 11-0 (8-0 ACC) and staring at a playoff bid.

We’ve seen this movie a number of times already with the ‘Noles. Prior to this week quarterback Jameis Winston and company had trailed at halftime on five different occasions in 2014. They had fought back from four fourth-quarter deficits -- against Clemson, Notre Dame, Louisville and Miami -- and never lost. Thanks to a late 12-play, 66-yard drive, punctuated by a 26-yard Robert Aguayo field goal, they survived again. Winston passed for 281 yards with a score and a pick, and the ‘Noles beat the Eagles (6-5, 3-4) to stay in the hunt for a playoff berth.

Perhaps no other team has a clearer path to the inaugural College Football Playoff -- win out, and the Seminoles are certainly in -- yet coach Jimbo Fisher’s squad has looked as vulnerable as any contender. Last year’s Florida State team was machine-like in its dominance; this fall’s version seems all too human. Why else would it have to claw back against an NC State program that is now 2-5 in ACC play? Why else would a Notre Dame team that has since dropped games to Northwestern and Louisville make the ‘Noles work so relentlessly for a victory at home? If this is indeed a championship roster, it has a strange way of showing it.

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Of course, that all depends on one’s perspective. Some might view Florida State as a team that handles adversity better than any other. Others might see an ACC power that doesn’t quite have the moxie to repeat last season’s success. Either way, the question among most college football followers is not if the Seminoles’ struggles will catch up to them, but when. At that point, how will they respond?

Based on the most recent playoff rankings, Florida State’s best victories have come over No. 22 Clemson and No. 24 Louisville. The selection committee has already made its reservations about the undefeated ‘Noles’ clear, as they sit behind one-loss Alabama and one-loss Oregon. That’s either an indictment of the team’s schedule or its struggles putting away lower-caliber competition. Or both.

Few would argue this Florida State team is as good as last year’s group, but one can’t help but wonder if the issues surrounding the 2014 Seminoles will ultimately come back to bite them. They’ll host Florida next Saturday before playing Georgia Tech in the ACC title game. Win both, and it’s on to a semifinal. And then what?

Will the 'Noles make one too many mistakes? Or will they mount a run toward another national title? For better or for worse Florida State is unbeaten. That’s exactly where it wants to be right now -- no matter how it got here.

Florida State 2014 Schedule
date opponent result
Aug. 30 Oklahoma State W, 37-31
Sept. 6 Citadel W, 37-12
Sept. 20 Clemson W, 23-17 (OT)
Sept. 27 at NC State W, 56-41
Oct. 4 Wake Forest W, 43-3
Oct. 11 at Syracuse W, 38-20
Oct. 18 Notre Dame W, 31-27
Oct. 30 at Louisville W, 42-31
Nov. 8 Virginia W, 34-20
Nov. 15 at Miami W, 30-26
Nov. 22 Boston College W, 20-17
Nov. 29 Florida ?
Dec. 6 Georgia Tech ?

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