On Friday I-4 and I-75 saw a huge migration of Nole fans to Tampa to take on the Bulls of USF and avenge a loss in Doak a few years back. As we arrived, I noticed the droves of Seminole fans EVERYWHERE. On top of that, the “Tampanoles” (Tampa FSU Alumni) brought huge numbers which ended up making it a 50/50 crowd in Raymond James Stadium for the largest crowd to ever attend at a USF game. In fact, the numbers would have been in favor of the Noles had USF not held out their final allotment of 5,000 tickets until the morning of game day.
It was a great game, and the Noles came up with a good win, but to talk to some Seminole fans you would think the game went into overtime. There are many reasons that this game was not a simple walk through:
1. Like many teams, USF could have made their season by beating FSU on Saturday. Beating a No. 4 FSU would overshadow any record at the end of the season for the players and coaching staff.
2. Though there were some serious wake up calls for the offensive line and special teams, the score does not fully indicate how this game was controlled by FSU. I would argue that because the BCS is a point based system, the Noles played too conservatively in the 4th quarter. The passing attack was crushing USF and to start playing the clock at the beginning of the 4th quarter gave USF a way back into the game.
3. I have said it many times in these blogs that the killer for FSU will be “looking ahead” to the following weeks and not focusing on the game at hand. In this case, USF played a very different offensive game plan with a lot more draw and reverse run plays then FSU had anticipated, forcing FSU to readjust early to compensate. The less you are taking a team seriously, the longer it takes to adjust.
When watching ESPN’s recap, you would have thought that the Noles won without any trouble at all. This is mostly due to the fact that in many of the games of the day, underdog schools hung around on big teams. Some of note: Kentucky against South Carolina, in which everyone was scratching their head, Washington State hanging around on Oregon until halftime, and the most surprising to watch, LSU vs. lowly Towson. The LSU game dropped the Tigers to #4 and got the Noles the #3 spot.
Next week the travel up to North Carolina to play the Wolfpack of NC State will bring a new challenge the Noles have not faced this year; a real away game. In the past the Noles have struggled in Raleigh, and this year FSU will not be underestimating a very down NC State Program. I look to FSU to hang up 35 points on NC State and hold the Wolfpack to 17.
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