No. 9 Florida State has open date; Hokies up next
Although ninth-ranked Florida State is most likely out of the
national title picture, the Seminoles head into their bye week with
most of their preseason goals at hand if they can avoid being upset
a second time.
Florida State (8-1, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) most likely
lost its chance at getting to the BCS championship game when it
inexplicably blew a 16-point halftime lead at North Carolina State
earlier this month. But the Seminoles have rebounded impressively
with three ACC straight wins, outscoring their opponents 132-34 in
And thanks to North Carolina’s win last weekend over North
Carolina State, the Seminoles have been handed a second chance at
winning the ACC championship and a BCS trip to the Orange Bowl,
albeit most likely on New Year’s Day.
”Now that we’re back on that pedestal, we have to take
advantage of it,” junior safety Lamarcus Joyner said. ”We need
this to get our minds right and come back together and play what’s
out there for us.”
Weighed down by the under-performing ACC and a weak
nonconference schedule, it’s hard to find a path for Florida State
to the national title game with a half dozen unbeaten teams
remaining and some with one loss who benefit from a superior
strength of schedule that factors into the BCS ratings formula.
Coach Jimbo Fisher gave his players Monday off with Saturday’s
open date, giving him 12 days to get ready for a visit to Virginia
Tech, where the Seminoles lost 40-21 in their last trip to
Blacksburg, Va., in 2007.
”That’s one of the toughest environments there is,” Fisher
said. ”I’m anxious to see how this team will grow and handle that
The Seminoles are 2-1 away from home this year, averaging 26.7
points on the road compared with 54 at home.
The only time they left Florida’s boundaries, they lost – 17-16
at North Carolina State. And Florida State’s next two games are not
only on the road, but well north at Virginia Tech and Maryland,
where the weather can also become a factor.
”We just need to play one at a time,” Fisher said. ”We need
to play better … and learn to play on the road well.”
Senior wide receiver Rodney Smith says Saturday’s open date
comes just in time for a lot of banged up Seminoles to get healthy
before their Nov. 8 visit to Virginia Tech, which is always a tough
game for Florida State.
”We will go through some rehab to get our bodies back
together,” said Smith, who has caught 26 passes for 435 yards and
three touchdowns. ”This week is going to help us.”
The Seminoles lead the ACC in virtually all offensive and
defensive categories and are second nationally in total defense and
fourth in total offense.
”There’ a reason Florida State was predicted to win the
national championship,” Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell said after
the Blue Devils were swamped 48-7 last Saturday. ”We saw
The Seminoles have been especially good at holding down their
opponent’s key playmakers. Duke’s record-setting receiver, Conner
Vernon, managed only a dozen yards on three catches against the
It’s been a point of pride for the Florida State defense, which
earlier in the season also smothered Wake Forest’s Michael
”If you’re a threat and get our attention, we need to take care
of that,” Joyner said.
And now it’s those trips to Virginia Tech and Maryland before
the season finale at home against eighth-ranked Florida in what
could be a matchup of once-beaten teams.
But first, as Fisher repeats and repeats, first things first and
that means Virginia Tech.
”They’re going to be waiting for us,” he said.