The new year begins where the old one ends. That’s how calendars work, not college football.
Florida State was an absolute wrecking machine in 2013, destroying everything in its path in the ACC then extinguishing Auburn’s lucky star in the national title game.
That was last year, this is this year. Last year, Florida State was unbeatable. This year, it is not. The Seminoles don’t get to carry over any extra credit from last season.
Neither does Auburn, which was a long lost Grammatica brother away from losing at Kansas State on Thursday night, or North Carolina, which won five of its last six games in 2013 but that did not translate to any tangible value in Saturday’s 70-41 embarrassment at East Carolina.
Florida State’s not the same team, with or without Jameis Winston. Florida State mauled Clemson last year 51-14 on the road. This year? The Seminoles, with Winston on the sidelines for a one-game suspension, escaped at home with a 23-17 win in overtime.
Winston is good but you’re not seriously suggesting he’s worth 31 points. The biggest surprise, through three games, has been how ineffective the Seminoles’ offensive line has been.
Clemson, which has a talented defensive front, sacked backup Sean Maguire five times Saturday. In Week 1, the same Clemson defense got to Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason once in a 45-31 loss.
Unlike on defense, or with receiver Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State didn’t suffer significant losses on the offensive line, losing only center Bryan Stork from last year’s starters. The Seminoles should be able to put Winston, Maguire or Burt Reynolds under center and protect him.
Maybe the close call with Clemson, a loss without the heroics of defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, will wake up the Seminoles. Or maybe we need to reset our expectations with the calendar.