Florida State rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter against Louisville, then began the march to drop the Cardinals to 0-4 in ACC and continue the squandering of Lamar Jackson’s college career.
What followed was a fitting snapshot of the Seminoles’ season to date. James Blackman fumbled at the Louisville 21-yard line, Lamar Jackson did what he does and led a drive down the field and — after Jimbo Fisher iced UL kicker Blanton Creque on a miss — Creque booted through the game-winner.
Florida State’s third ACC loss by six points or fewer, and second defeat this month allowing a game-winning drive in the final seconds, drops the Seminoles to 2-4. The cancellation of a Week 2 game with UL-Monroe means the Noles play just five more games, necessitating a 4-1 finish to reach the postseason.
Would this be a bad time to mention that, prior to the season, I picked Florida State to reach the College Football Playoff?
Yes, in one of my dumber projections, I projected the Seminoles at 12-1 — and the one coming via Clemson. Against all precedent, I picked against Alabama. In a season opener. With Nick Saban opposite a former assistant.
Clearly, I am a clod.
There’s a popular theory backed with some evidence suggesting a body-blow effect for opponents of the Crimson Tide. This season has taken the theory to new heights, however. Keep in mind, the Seminoles were standing toe-to-toe with the Crimson Tide for a half with some great defensive play, but able to mount no offense. Special teams misfires in the early third quarter began the deluge, and the loss of quarterback Deondre Francois later in the contest cast a pall over the Seminoles that has yet to clear.
Blackman’s show flashes of brilliance. The drive he led against rival Miami that gave Florida State a fleeting lead was the stuff of legend, were it not for the Hurricanes responding on the ensuing possession. Blackman did come through with the game-winning strike against Wake Forest, however, on an afternoon his offensive line left him prone.
Still, Blackman’s looked very much like a freshman. The fumble against Louisville was a freshman mistake.
Would Florida State be in better shape with Francois at quarterback? Easy as it might be to say unequivocally yes, the Seminoles have offensive issues not so easily solved with a quarterback change.
Offensive line play is a major issue — Wake Forest set a program record for tackles for loss in the Sept. 30 meeting, and NC State’s talented defensive front teed off on Blackman the week prior — and defensive coordinator Charles Kelly’s defense has not been as dominant as a side with Josh Sweat, Derwin James and other elite talents perhaps should be.
Just be careful suggesting coaching is an issue to Jimbo Fisher.
Jimbo Fisher just got into it with a fan who yelled “get new coaches.” Fisher said “walk your a— down here and say it.”
— Garry Smits (@gsmitter) October 21, 2017
Florida State may have been really, really bad in the 1970s, but Bobby Bowden’s arrival changed the program’s direction immediately. 1981 was the last time the Noles missed the postseason.
The final five isn’t unmanageable, despite a road trip to Death Valley. Yeah, that was the only regular-season loss I projected for this Florida State team. Idiot.