Admit it. You’re rooting against Florida State.
You’re not the only one.
The Seminoles have become Public Enemy No. 1 in college football, with their scofflaw of a quarterback, a coach who conveniently seems to look the other way at the slightest hint of trouble, and an administration that has come to epitomize the misplaced priorities of big-time athletics.
Yet no matter how hard you pull against them, the Noles just keep on winning.
They could very well finish this season like they ended the last — with Jameis Winston holding the Heisman Trophy and the whole team celebrating another national championship.
“When everyone is against you, it’s a reality check,” Winston says. “We get that chip back on our shoulders.”
In spite of all the hate (and, partly, because of it), Florida State is putting together one of the great runs in college football history.
The Seminoles won their 24th straight game on Thursday night, rallying from a 21-0 deficit on the road to beat Louisville 42-31. Only 25 teams in the history of college football have put together longer winning streaks, the most recent being Miami’s 34-game masterpiece from 2000-03.
“I think there’s more pressure when you’re winning,” former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said Friday, chatting by phone from his home in Tallahassee. “I imagine right now that (head coach) Jimbo Fisher and the other coaches and the other players would hate to have that streak broken. They haven’t been beaten in two years. Every time they play, they’ve got to protect that streak.”
Look for it to carry on at least until the new four-team playoff. Florida State (8-0) has home games remaining against Virginia (4-4), Boston College (5-3) and Florida (3-3), plus a trip to Miami to face the no-longer-fearsome Hurricanes (5-3). Then there’s the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game against whatever mediocre team emerges from whatever they call the ACC’s other division.
At that point, the Seminoles should be 13-0 and riding a 29-game winning streak, tied for the 12th-longest in the history of the NCAA’s top division.
“We keep finding a way,” receiver Rashad Greene says. “That’s character, that’s guts, to go out there and keep your poise and stay into the game and never think you’re out of it. This is a different type of team. We figure out a way to win every week.”
Indeed, the Seminoles aren’t nearly as dominant as they were in 2013, when they set a scoring record and blew out everyone they faced until a thrilling victory over Auburn in the national championship game.
But in some ways, what they’ve done this season is even more impressive.
Five times, they’ve trailed at halftime.
Five times, they’ve done what they needed to do over the final two quarters.
“It’s amazing to me,” Bowden says. “They’ve have to fight right down to the wire so many times. But they continue to win. That’s the name of the game. That’s the only stat that counts.”
For all the criticism of Fisher over his lax disciplinary methods, he’s clearly a master at shielding his team from the turmoil. He calls it “eliminating clutter,” one of those familiar coaching clich
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.