Analysis: Florida State’s Close Call

E-mail Pete Fiutak 
Follow me … @PeteFiutak 

Okay, Florida State. This was fine, but you had better go all 2013 again against Clemson on September 20th. 

It’s still August, and considering the Seminoles pulled it out, this game doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of the world. 13-0 Florida State is in the College Football Playoff no matter what, and actually, 12-1 Florida State is almost a mortal lock as long as it wins the ACC championship. The goal for this team is to not just get there, but to win it all – it’s way too early to start talking about that. For now, with a full season yet to play, the only thing that matters is whether or not the Seminoles can get into the fun, and with the way they looked against Oklahoma State, that’s not a given. 

But who’s going to tag them? Is this going to serve as a sort of wake-up call, or is the running game really going to be that rocky? Is the offensive line going to struggle like this against Clemson? Notre Dame? What about Louisville, Miami and Virginia? 

Jameis Winston has to continue to be the best player on the field – throwing for 370 yards and a touchdown and running for a spectacular 28-yard dash – but will he last if he keeps getting popped like he did by the Cowboys? 

Above everything else, this wasn’t the same team that came out spitting fire like it did against Pitt to open up last season. As much as Jameis tried to go for the jugular, and he did with his bullet to Rashad Greene – willing the throw for a 50-yard score – it’s not like the rest of the team fed off of it. Oklahoma State deserves credit for playing well and fighting its way back into the game, the 2013 Seminoles would’ve turned a 17-0 lead into a Clemson-like 51-14 laugher against an inexperienced team like this. 

Style points really don’t count for the Noles. They’re on a 17-game winning streak, and it’s going to be 18 after playing The Citadel. It’s going to be a grind after that. 

E-mail Rich Cirminiello 
Follow me … @RichCirminiello 
Earn a Ph.D. in college football … class is in session at Campus Insiders 

This could not have been a more perfect night for Florida State. 

After hearing all offseason that they’ll be favored by double-digits in every game, the Seminoles needed to be tested and occasionally popped in the mouth tonight in Texas. And that’s exactly what they got from a game Oklahoma State squad. Jimbo Fisher has been preaching to his kids for the past six months how difficult it is to win with a target on your chest. Now the coach has tangible proof to back it up. Florida State had its back against the wall, which never happened during the 2013 regular season, and yet it lived to tell about it. Now, when the staff harps in practice on the need to improve in all three phases, it’ll have the inconsistent Week 1 film to back up the necessity. 

Florida State isn’t the same team it was last fall. But it still can be. The Noles still have as much talent as any program in college football, and now they’ve got a dose of humility as well, courtesy of the Cowboys. Maybe FSU is a little hungrier after the offense was pedestrian and the D allowed J.W. Walsh to split it like a dry log. If so, it was a close-to-ideal outcome for the top-ranked team. 

By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN

This is what Florida State can expect this year. There will be no sneaking up on opponents, and no easy and clear path to a repeat. In fact, the road may be littered with potholes and detours. That’s the way life is on top, and why it’ll be so hard to repeat. 

Behind the savvy play of quarterback J.W. Walsh, a gutsy and determined Oklahoma State squad refused to give up. The Cowboys were outgained, outmanned, and outposessed, but still managed to make a game of it, because they wanted to make a statement to the world.

And they almost did.

Jameis Winston picked up right where he left off last year, and the defense was quick and athletic for FSU, but the points still came – as they almost always do – for Mike Gundy’s crew. Oklahoma State will be just fine this year. 

But tonight, we all bore witness to why the Seminoles have a leg-up on everyone in getting to the College Football Playoff. When things are tight, and when things aren’t quite humming along, out steps superman from the telephone booth to rescue the damsel in distress. 

However, instead of an “S” appearing on his chest, it’s a “J” for Jameis.