As The Dust Settles

What a crazy weekend of college football.  It is somewhat rare when something that is hyped up actually delivers, but this weekend’s slate of games that had been hyped all week as one of the years best surely did just that.  There were six matchups between Top 25 teams that already promised six teams in the Top 25 taking a loss.  The fact that an additional five Top 25 teams lost to unranked teams and you had one of the most insane weekends of college football I can remember.

It all kicked off with Arizona’s upset of #2 Oregon on Thursday night, continued with #18 BYU being knocked off by Utah State, and concluded early Sunday morning with #8 UCLA upset by Utah.  In between, #3 Alabama, #4 Oklahoma, #6 Texas A&M, #14 Stanford, #15 LSU, #16 USC, #17 Wisconsin, and #19 Nebraska all suffered losses.  At one point on late Saturday afternoon, games between #3 Alabama and #11 Ole Miss, #4 Oklahoma and #25 TCU, and #9 Notre Dame and #14 Stanford were all coming down to the wire at the same time.

Speaking of “down to the wire”, maybe we need to redefine what that means, either that or explain it to someone at ESPN.  In a short blurb on ESPN Sunday morning the reporter said “the Seminoles struggle and take Wake Forest down to the wire” before going in to all the upsets.  Look, as an FSU fan I’m not overly pleased with the way the offense played in the first half, but to say that the game was a struggle is just trying to push an agenda.  Late in the 3rd quarter Wake Forest had more penalty yards than total yards and the game was over as the Noles had a 4 score lead.  How anyone in their right mind can determine from that game that the it came “down to the wire” just baffles me.

What this weekend did for me was solidify the idea that the Noles just need to keep winning and they’ll find themselves in the playoff.  That’s really the new goal.  Ranking are fun for water cooler bater, message board arguing, and Twitter quips, but just get to that final four and then settle it on the field.  If Auburn were to jump the Noles in the next couple of weeks to #1, fine.  Just win.   Now, will the Noles be able to just keep winning? That’s a good question and certainly doesn’t look as promising as it once might have.  It’s been a bit of an odd season for the Noles thus far and, five games into the season, there are still plenty of questions that we don’t have complete answers for.

It’s hard at this point to even completely judge Florida State.  Would you believe if I told you that we still haven’t seen FSU’s team at full strength?  In each game, the Noles have been down a starter either on offense or defense.  They’ve played a full game without their top defender.  They’ve plead a full game without their Heisman winning quarterback.  The defense still isn’t to full strength but this past Saturday they were dominating.  Yes, it was against a putrid Wake Forest offense, but they did what they were supposed to do and they looked the part.  Lorenzo Featherston and Jacob Pugh have given the Noles a shot in the arm.  Markus Eligwe finally was back at linebacker, but starting linebacker Terrance Smith and starting defensive tackle were out.  Matthew Thomas might be coming back before long, too.  With the emergence of some of the younger players, PJ Williams and Ronald Darby getting healthier, Eligwe returning, and Thomas possibly coming back the rest of the season could see a markedly improved defense in Tallahassee.

If the Noles can finally put together some full games, I still like Florida State against just about everybody in the country.  In the meantime, though, just keep winning, just keep getting better, and let the carnage happen around the college football world as you prepare for the College Football Playoff.

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