Crown fits ‘Noles best, for now

Anything many of us felt certain of, or at least suspected to be

true, about the state’s three big three


football teams has been turned

upside down. Next month, who knows if Florida, Florida State and

Miami might again look nothing like what we’re seeing now.

The Gators have more problems across the board than they do

legitimate options in Urban Meyer’s ill-fitting spread attack. FSU

might finally be the best team in the state again, and Miami can

suspend any talk of being a national, and possibly ACC, title


First, a toast to Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles. They had beaten a

bunch of nobodies and were throttled 47-17 at Oklahoma, so nobody

expected them to go to Miami and roll over the Hurricanes by four

touchdowns. For now, FSU has positioned itself as a clear favorite

in the ACC Atlantic division. I’m not sure the ‘Noles are top-10

material yet, but the optimism in Tallahassee is an upgrade from

recent years. There’s a growing belief that Fisher is moving the

program in the right direction.

A month ago, FSU looked overmatched against the Sooners. It made

you wonder if the same maddening pattern of regression late in

Bobby Bowden’s tenure was repeating itself. If the UM beatdown

revealed anything, it’s that the 2010 ‘Noles appear to be

ascending, not going backward. FSU finished drives, punishing the

‘Canes with a 298-yard rushing night.

The bigger change is Mark Stoops’ defense looks fairly well

organized, harassing UM quarterback Jacory Harris into 28

incompletions. It looks nothing like that broken-down clunker of a

unit that legendary defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews couldn’t

fix in his last few seasons.

As for Miami and Florida, the only thing they have in common at

the moment is downsized expectations. On a prime-time national

stage, they were exposed as pretenders, but at least UM coach Randy

Shannon was professional enough to take responsibility for his

team’s lack of consistency. He put the burden on himself to get his

capsized ship back on the right course.

Meyer took a different route. He put the blame on his players,

without specifically naming members of the secondary, the

nonexistent pass rushers or the overrated offensive line for their

part in Saturday’s ugly 33-29 loss to LSU.

Hey, Urban. How about accepting some blame for not having your

players more prepared for the Tigers’ rather obvious fake

field-goal attempt in the final minute? At one time, you were the

special-teams coach, right?

That poorly executed play, a staple under LSU coach Les Miles,

still produced a first down and led to the game-winning touchdown.

Maybe Lucky Les wouldn’t feel so fortunate if Meyer had a

functional offense tailored to quarterback John Brantley’s skills.

Or a better leadership core. Or a play-caller in Steve Addazio that

could do something different near the goal line than keep asking

Trey Burton or Jordan Reed to be wildcat quarterbacks.

There’s still time for Florida and Miami to regain some national

respect. At least FSU is taking steps to get on that path.

It’s been a long time since the Seminoles were kings in this

state. Right now, the crown fits them best, providing they never go

back to being that team we saw at Oklahoma., (904) 359-4540