FSU Beat: Big Thursday Night Test Looming

When Florida State takes on Virginia Tech in Blacksburg tonight, their entire season, and whether or not it’s considered a success, is on the line. An argument can be made that this is always the case for a team that entered the season with the type of expectations placed on the 2012 Seminoles, but this is especially true for a road game against a struggling Hokies squad.

As of now, Florida State is a double digit favorite. It doesn’t take wonderful memory to realize that this was the case earlier in the year when the Noles went up to North Carolina to face NC State. Then ranked #3, the Seminoles dropped their fifth game under Jimbo Fisher in which they were favored by double digits. This loss, like seemingly all of Jimbo Fisher’s career losses, is one that Seminole fans have a hard time letting go of, not just because it should not have happened, but because even in the final moments of the game there were questionable decisions made.

Since Jimbo Fisher took over in 2010, Florida State is 27-9. Six of the nine losses during the Jimbo Fisher era, have been determined by a touchdown or less. Five of those six fall into the underdog upset category. It is these close and unnecessary losses that keep a strong contingent of fans and media members questioning whether Jimbo Fisher is the ultimate answer for this program, or simply a very good program manager that could facilitate Florida State’s transition back to relevance.

This year, Fisher and the Noles are ranked in the top 10 nationally in 10 different statistical categories. Their starting QB is 2nd in the nation in pass efficiency and their ground game is on pace to double its productivity from 2011 both in yardage and in TD’s scored. The Seminoles lead the nation in yards per play gained and allowed. They have been overwhelmingly dominant by most statistical measures. While all of these facts are impressive, and the marks of a program that is insanely better than the one of Bobby Bowden’s final years, none of it will matter in the court of public opinion and national perception if Florida State fails to win the ACC.

Winning the conference, especially in an exceptionally down year for the ACC, is Florida State’s main focus. A road game against Virginia Tech is the most formidable of two final tests remaining between FSU and a shot at their first conference title in seven years. While the Seminole’s dominance has been evident throughout the season, their relatively lackluster performance on the road is entirely undeniable. Sleep walking and lapses in focus are not going to get the job done against the Hokies, who are fighting to reach bowl eligibility. Despite a dismal record, Virginia Tech is still the best defense FSU will have faced all season and Lane Stadium is not a friendly environment for any opponent, let alone a top 10 contender on a Thursday night.

 

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Adam Tolliver, @primediscussion on TwitterAdam Tolliver is an Atlanta, GA native and college football enthusiast who has been covering Florida State Seminole sports for three years. He is currently a contributor at Tomahawknation.com and XOFan.com, where he consistently delivers honest and accurate commentary and reporting regarding Florida State Seminole Football and Men’s Basketball. You can find Adam’s personal twitter account @primediscussion, where he spouts out about all things under the sun, or you can follow @Unconquered_FSU, which is exclusively dedicated to FSU Sports.

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