It may be Boston College vs. Florida State gameday, but there is still time to fit in an interview from our FSU Seminoles friends at Chop Chat.
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We asked their editor, David Visser, some questions about this afternoon’s meeting against the Seminoles, in what is a very big game for them as they seek consecutive national championships. If the Eagles play their cards right, they could demolish Florida State’s hopes, but the ‘Noles are determined not to let that happen.
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5. Boston College was one of only two teams last season to give the Seminoles a game. Do you expect to see a similarly competitive effort for the Eagles, and just how many things would have to break against Florida State for them to have a shot?
DV: I do think BC has a legitimate shot in this game. Steve Addazio is one of my favorite coaches in college football, as I think he gets the most out of his players and always has them up for big games.
Specifically, the Eagles will need to do what so many other teams have done this year against FSU: get up early. As Boston College is much more a running attack, they need a lead to protect, not a deficit to erase, a scenario that could result in a blowout.
BC will need to play over the top and keep Jameis Winston in front of them, hoping that his first-half mistakes continue. The problem there is that the Eagles have been atrocious forcing turnovers this year.
There’s certainly hope for Tyler Murphy and the Eagles’ offense, as the ‘Noles have struggled against mobile quarterbacks this year (see NC State’s Jacoby Brissett, who built a 24-7 lead against Florida State, albeit in Raleigh). But, again, they need to find the end-zone early, as FSU’s halftime adjustments have been spot on of late. The chore there is punching it in against FSU’s No. 6 red-zone defense.
4. Florida State has mounted some substantial second-half comebacks this season. What makes the Seminoles such a good team late in the game?
DV: The aforementioned halftime adjustments have played a huge part, to be certain. Furthermore, unlike last year’s ‘Noles, this team has struggled with the role of frontrunner all season, preferring instead to summon devastating counter punches, often in furious flurries, and pummeling opponents when it matters most.
The 2013 team’s performances were more joyful, more celebratory. This year’s squad is more cold-blooded, often toying with opponents until it decides it’s had enough and is ready to collect the win.
3. Jameis Winston clearly has not been distracted by his off-the-field issues. In your estimation, how has his 2014 season compared to 2013? Is it a sure bet he declares for the NFL Draft this winter?
DV: I would disagree and say that I think he’s been a little distracted early in games. What you have to understand about Winston is that he is perhaps, the most competitive athlete I’ve ever seen. He races the other quarterbacks out of FSU’s indoor practice facility when the ‘Noles head outside to prepare (and he certainly doesn’t need to).
That being said, I think he’s heard the deafening negativity about FSU this year and that he wants desperately to silence the critics—and he presses. And honestly, who can blame him given the CFP Rankings favoring two one-loss teams over the undefeated, defending national champions riding a 26-game win streak? It’s gotten to the point that simply winning isn’t good enough anymore.
Regarding Winston going pro after this season, I can’t imagine him wanting to return to face the often entirely unfair and even inaccurate treatment he’s received from the national media. I’d be shocked if he came back.
2. The numbers say Florida State’s run defense is decent, 36th in the nation and allowing just under 140 yards per game. Based on what you have seen so far, do you think they will handle the Boston College run game?
DV: “Handle them”? I wouldn’t go that far. BC will get its yards, as did Miami’s Duke Johnson. But the ‘Noles linebackers are much stronger against the run than the pass, and FSU will make Murphy win this one through the air.
That’s the rub for BC: they’ll ultimately be dependent on the arm of the ACC QB with the worst completion percentage to lead the Eagles to victory. FSU’s secondary has given up some big plays this year, but the continuing evolution of Jalen Ramsey should be a mjor concern for Murphy and the BC offense.
1. Does Florida State run its win streak to 27 games and beat the Eagles again, or is a monumental upset brewing in Tallahassee?
DV: When I began pouring over the numbers for this game early in the week, the possibility of a BC upset grew in my mind, and I thought it would be a close contest decided in the fourth quarter.
Then the tragic events of Thursday morning transpired on the FSU campus. I feel like FSU football players want to take up for their fellow students, who have stayed in the Seminoles’ corner throughout this run, despite the myriad naysayers.
Doak Campbell Stadium was already going to be emotional on Saturday, given the fact that it’s Senior Day. Thursday’s nightmare will have it at a fever pitch. Sunday marks the 30th anniversary of Doug Flutie’s “Miracle in Miami,” but I don’t think Saturday will provide a panhandle parallel.
Boston College will break some runs, but FSU plays best when its back is against the wall, and that’s very much the feeling throughout the Tallahassee community right now.