Florida State won its 26th straight college football game Saturday night, 30-26 on the road against a game Miami team.
The Seminoles did so after trailing at halftime for the sixth time in the past 11 games.
What Florida State is not this year, has been covered (notably in this space Sept. 22). Maybe it’s time to give the Seminoles credit for what they are, instead of knocking them for what they’re not?
There are 128 major Division I football teams, Florida State and Marshall are the only two without a loss.
There are 65 teams (including Notre Dame) in the Power 5 conferences, FSU is the only one unbeaten with two weeks left in the regular season.
Florida State’s not the juggernaut it was last year in going 14-0 and winning the national title. That team won by an average of 39.5 points. This team has won by an average of 14.3 points.
That team trailed in the second half only once – in the national title game against Auburn – all season. This team trailed N.C. State and Louisville 24-7. It was down 23-7 Saturday to Miami, trailed in the fourth quarter to Notre Dame and Clemson.
But, just like last year, FSU (10-0) has won every game it has played.
And FSU’s schedule is significantly tougher this season. The Noles already faced Oklahoma State and Notre Dame out of the ACC and will play Florida in two weeks. They traded Maryland for Louisville in the ACC.
Neither Mississippi State (Southern Mississippi, Alabama-Birmingham and South Alabama) nor Texas Christian (Minnesota, Southern Methodist, Samford) has a nonconference schedule to match FSU’s. That didn’t prevent the College Football Playoff committee from dropping the Seminoles to No. 3 last week (behind a one-loss Oregon team).
Perhaps the most amazing part about this Florida State team is how it wins in spite of itself.
FSU’s turnover margin is minus-1, that’s the same as Penn State, Rutgers, Wyoming and Louisiana-Lafayette.
To put that in perspective, two teams ranked among the top four of the College Football Playoff with FSU are Oregon (plus-15) and TCU (plus-14).
Let’s look at 2014 another way: Quarterback Jameis Winston won the Heisman Trophy last year as the best player in college football.
Winston has been turnover-prone in the first half of most games this season, but he has been excellent in the clutch.
Still, on this FSU team, Winston is the third-best player. Sophomore safety Jalen Ramsey, and his unbelievably long arms, was incredible against Saturday night with an interception, forced fumble, blocked extra-point attempt and four pass break-ups. He also was instrumental in the comeback at N.C. State on Sept. 27.
Going back to the Louisville game Oct. 30, freshman running back Dalvin Cook, not Winston, has been FSU’s best weapon on offense. Cook’s 26-yard touchdown run with 3 minutes, 5 seconds left gave the Seminoles their first and only lead.
The Seminoles are not the team they were, but they’re better than you think and certainly the most resilient team in the country.