#2 FSU True Top Dog In College Football Right Now


Florida State University is one of the big boys. You don't even have to follow the sport religiously to recognize the tradition and success of their program. While the Seminoles have been on the uptick in recruiting since 2010, when Offensive Coordinator Jimbo Fisher took over for legendary sideline roamer Bobby Bowden, last year's BCS bid and eventual Orange Bowl Championship was not nearly the statement that it should have been.

We can thank a spunky yet fully outmatched Northern Illinois team, led by the "We plan on wearing them down... have them on their knees—and then just keep pounding away" braggadocio from Heisman outsider Jordan Lynch for the delayed return to glory in Tallahassee. In 2013, however, FSU has looked like they packed their entire squad and placed them in a dynastic time machine, bringing back the tremendous speed on the edges, strength in the trenches, and big-game playmakers that were the norm in the 1990s.

What's the cause of all these blowout wins? How, back in October, did the fifth-ranked team in the country dominate the third-ranked squad by more than five touchdowns on the road? And realistically, with the BCS Rankings growing more and more important each week, is this a team that deserves the "elite" label?

For all intents and purposes, there really is no debate. Florida State is the absolute, undisputed heavyweight champ of the collegiate pigskin world. The proof is also not as complicated as the pundits may make it seem, either.

"I mean, it's really not that much pressure this year" Sophomore WR Kelvin Benjamin said after Tuesday's practice. "We really just go out there and have fun-it's just football at the end of the day..."

Fun. A novel concept, huh? Far from the no-frills, barely any smiles business approach indoctrinated in the other T-Town, and clearly not the mantra prevailing over the Meyer regime in Columbus. In a fluid landscape that seems to embrace iconoclastic ideals of offensive fashion and play-tempo, FSU is the "just right" bowl of porridge. They don't play at break-neck speed like Oregon or Baylor. They're more explosive and exciting than the Alabama/Stanford crowd, with the latter honestly resembling watching paint dry when they have the ball on O.

The 'Noles' secret weapon is their swagger, exemplified by young signal-caller Jameis Winston, which allows them to play with a looseness and passion for the game. These Seminoles know they're good, but now they're also putting in all the mental work they need to maximize their potential. In describing the defense during practices, and the overall mindset of his squad, Senior Linebacker Telvin Smith said he believes that "We've always had the players to do it, but now the players have said 'OK, let's turn around and actually look and learn, you know, while we're doing it'... It's just clicking."

Oh, and in case anyone thinks that the albatross in the room is hanging over the team, think again. Though a local report is shedding new light into the likelihood, or potential dismissal, of any possible charges stemming from the sexual assault investigation surrounding Winston, it is obvious that his teammates haven't been adversely affected by the potential distraction.

While destroying the Syracuse Orangemen in Doak Campbell this past Saturday, a few of the 'Noles were caught by social media playing the nostalgic time-passing game 'Hangman' on the sidelines with whiteboards normally used to dissect strategy by coaches during changes of possession. When asked what was the word that one of his comrades in the secondary was trying to guess, standout Senior DB Terrence Brooks sheepishly explained "That's a mystery-that's what keeps it going...[P.J. Williams] was definitely trying to get the word; I was just surprised he didn't get it...It was funny at the time until I thought we were gonna get ripped for it..."

Are the Crimson Tide, as the two-time defending champs, a solid #1 in the land? As much as it can be boring/irritating to admit, yes. Does Ohio State, Baylor, or even Oregon still have a chance of climbing to the mountaintop in the homestretch? I believe so. But make no mistake, the only sure bet for Pasadena is Florida State. They are hungrier, happier, and honestly more talented than anyone else out there. Fear the spear, indeed...

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