**In part two of the ETSF "Show and Prove" series, Kenny tackles the program that has been tapped for greatness, with a mountain to climb to ultimately prove themselves. Florida State, you're on the clock.**
Two years ago during our Forgotten Powerhouses of College Football series, one of the programs we talked about was the Florida State Seminoles. They were a dominant team in the 1990s, only to fall to the middle of the pack in recent years. In my opinion, they were ready to make the return to glory, and while they’ve performed in a decent manner in 2009 and 2010, they still haven’t totally returned to glory.
Now that The U is on the ropes and there’s a period of transition in Gainesville with the Gators, the Seminoles have the prime edge to step to the table and reclaim its place not only in the state of Florida for college football supremacy, but in the national landscape as well.
Do they have to be in the national championship for this season to be a failure? I wouldn’t go that far, but in a time where there are four big-money BCS games (not including the national championship), Florida State has to find their way into one of them, or this season will be a complete and total failure.
No one can say that Florida State doesn’t have the talent. The ‘Noles are in the top ten of damn near every recruiting list you can find. Last season, they had the sixth-best rated recruiting class. This season, their class is number one, and next year, they’re already slated as having the second-best, including the number one rated player in the nation (and from Denton, Texas, I might add.) Getting players to don their colors isn’t the problem.
The ‘Noles fans I know love some Jimbo Fisher, and for good reason. He’s played the game at a high level during his time at Sanford and coached the game at a high level as well, as an offensive coordinator. He’s familiar with Florida State and how much they can’t wait to be back on top. If anyone is going to continue the legacy of The Great Bobby Bowden, you’re hard-pressed to find someone more prepared for the job than Coach Fisher.
Last year, Florida State won ten games and returned to the ACC Championship for the first time in five years (only to be knocked off by Mark Trible’s Virginia Tech Hokies), and they come in ranked as high as number three on some national polls this season. They have the players, the coaching, and last season’s resurgence to build off of. It’s not totally unrealistic to see them back in the national spotlight as a formidable football team. They’re already the best team in their state, no matter what The U or the Gators have to say.
They have to replace Christian Ponder, and from the look of things, they have all the confidence in the world in E.J. Manuel to get the job done. Their defense has improved significantly in the last few years as well. Everything is right on track for them do well and, from a selfish standpoint, I don’t want to keep writing about how Florida State has to return to glory or any of that. Instead, stories should be about domination just like they did not that long ago. They have a brutal back-to-back with Oklahoma and Clemson in September, and those two games will give us a pretty good indication of where Florida State is at.
It’s time for them to do the tomahawk chop all season long and roll into familiar territory as a program to be loved, hated, feared, and respected. It’s time to get it done.