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Hefferon: Seminoles easy to root for (Oct. 31)

By Jack Hefferon | Wednesday, October 30, 2013

 

Growing up in New York, I had kind of an odd connection to Florida State. My grandpa got me an FSU sweatshirt on a trip one year, and it was pretty much the most comfortable piece of cotton ever sewn together. I wore it constantly, and as it got a reputation, I received other Florida State gear and people assumed I was a fan, although I never had a reason to root for the team.

Until now.

Florida State is ranked third in the BCS standings this week; last week, the Seminoles were in second. Voters and computers pushed Oregon past the Seminoles over the weekend, with two main factors playing into the rankings change.

First, FSU came out and imposed its will on North Carolina State, scoring four touchdowns in the first nine minutes and cruising to a 42-0 halftime lead over the Wolfpack. But then the ‘Noles chose to call off the dogs for the second half, benching their starters and surrendering potential style points on the way to a comfortable 49-17 win. The second half shouldn’t change the quality of the win, but the final score seems to weigh on voters far more than it should.

A second reason for the Seminoles’ drop also has to do with voters, namely their head coach, Jimbo Fisher. Fisher receives a vote in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, but he did not put his undefeated team at No. 1 in his ballot this week, as he suggested that Alabama’s dominance over the past years gives them claim to the honor of the top spot.

That modesty and restraint is a welcome change in college football, where the lack of a playoff system has motivated some teams to try and game the system for a shot at a title.

Fisher himself is a fun figure to root for. Out of the recent crop of fantastically named coaches at southern schools (Houston Nutt, Kliff Kingsbury and Dabo Swinney come to mind), it’s still hard to beat a guy named Jimbo Fisher. 

He honed his craft under Les Miles at LSU before waiting out the retirement of legendary Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden, and his teams are fun to watch. This year’s squad is particularly attention grabbing, as first-year quarterback phenom Jameis Winston pushed himself to the forefront of the Heisman race through his many highlight reel plays.

Florida State went on the road to play then-No. 3 Clemson in Death Valley 11 days ago and gave the Tigers a thorough undressing in a 51-14 primetime win. The Seminoles will have another chance to make a statement this weekend, when they host No. 7 Miami for their second top-10, College Gameday-featured matchup in three weeks.

The Hurricanes are also undefeated on the year, and Fisher gave credit to both teams’ success in a press conference earlier this week, saying, “You ain’t undefeated for no reason.”

Fisher has earned my respect by coaching an entertaining team, and showing a restraint that is uncommon in today’s college sports world. He’s won me over with one heck of a classic Florida panhandle name. Plus, he’s playing the villainous Miami Hurricanes this weekend, which is enough to make anyone a Florida State fan come Saturday night.

But pulling off the first triple negative I’ve ever seen in the English language? That’s enough to send me searching the attic for a decade-old sweatshirt. 

FSU 37, Miami 17.

 

Contact Jack Hefferon at wheffero@nd.edu.
The views expressed in this Sports Authority are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.