The Seminoles Are Back, but So Is Everybody Else
Florida State proved that it could once again play with the big boys, coming back from a 21-3 deficit to beat Auburn on Monday to win the BCS championship, their third overall and first since 1999.
The Seminoles, who breezed through the easy ACC schedule, scored with 13 seconds left on a pass from Jameis Winston to Kelvin Benjamin to win one of the best championship games ever.
The question remains, would Florida State have breezed through the SEC schedule and been in this game?
Maybe not, but they were in the game and finally prevented Auburn from another miracle victory.
With 2013 in the books, 2014 will be a totally different season, as the BCS is history and the new four-team playoff commences. On New Year's Day 2015, there will be a semi-final double-header before the championship game 12 days later. This year, Florida State would have played Alabama in the semi-final and Auburn would have met Michigan State. It could have been an Alabama-Michigan State final, as the Spartans' defense could have shut down Auburn, and Alabama could have beaten the Noles.
Florida State should be just as strong next year and should walk through the ACC once again, assuming Louisville will need a season to get oriented and Virginia Tech remains lost in the wilderness. The SEC will be competitive again, and Alabama will not be the overwhelming favorite going in. The Tide loses quarterback AJ McCarron, but never count out coach Nick Saban. Georgia will be better, Auburn is back, and LSU is always good as the SEC remains the best league in the country. If only they played a nine-game conference schedule!
The other usual suspects -- Oregon, Stanford, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Baylor -- should be good again, but watch Nôtre Dame next season. Quarterback Everett Golson is back after he was suspended for an academic violation. The Irish are loaded on offense, but so is their schedule. They play ten teams that appeared in bowl games this past season.
It's early, very early, but winter workouts begin soon, and before you know it, the spring games will be upon us. Charlie Strong will be trying to turn around Texas and James Franklin landed at Penn State. Strong's replacement will be Bobby Petrino -- yes that Bobby Petrino -- and t be if the issue in Louisville won't be if the players can stay out of trouble; it will be Petrino who still has to prove he can be a good soldier and keep his nose clean for a change.