Being Florida State: Miami just the next victim on the FSU clutch tour

Follow TSS on Twitter @TheStudentSect
Author at @TheCoachBart

Someone send Zak Bagans into the Florida State locker room. Whatever sort of seances they do there at halftime are worth at least a hour on the Travel Channel.

Down 23-10 with an (Al) Golden opportunity to mentally wound Miami if they simply had scored going into the half, the Seminoles instead tossed an interception. They could have let it get to them… but they didn’t. Halftime is a moment when Florida State always regroups.

“Be 1-0 today.”

I was out today and someone referenced a statistic to me. When asked what I thought of it, I said, “The only statistic that matters is ‘are you 1-0 today?'”

As long as Florida State keeps being that, the Seminoles will be fine. The weight of public opinion, the national college football media, or their rivals be damned, all you’ve got to do in sports is win. Late in the game, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit touched on something I’ve been saying since September: everyone wanting you to fail can galvanize you.

That seems to be where Florida State is at. If you need a play, the Noles make a play. It might be at the witching hour, but they don’t care how you get there … only if you do.

This was one of the great games of the FSU-Miami rivalry, one that has seen the most fruitful of ratings for ESPN/ABC and has stood the test of time. This rivalry is unlike any other in terms of pulling in the indifferent and forcing them to want to watch.

Miami almost pulled off the upset Saturday night, but then again, so many others almost have as well. Be it a couple of weak fumbles, a missed field goal, a dropped interception, and then eventually … a pick on the final meaningful play of the football game, Miami nearly did it. But nearly doesn’t cut it.

Don’t think Miami wasn’t 150 proof for this endeavor. The Canes were. All night, they hit hard, showed optimal emotion from the beginning, and were willing to take chances. All of those have to happen to pull an upset. You have to believe you can win; play like you can; and take chances with no fear.

In the end, Florida State wins, and this time of year, it’s more special than normal.

As I write this, Arizona State is having its issues with extremely mediocre Oregon State. Mississippi State has been trending downward for a few weeks as the Bulldogs have been the hit of the headlines unlike ever before. They finally tripped up against Alabama, where — final score be damned or not — they were never really in the game. We saw that Michigan State couldn’t handle the pressure last week. Neither could Notre Dame.

Auburn hasn’t been able to handle the heat for two weeks. TCU looks like it might be on that path.

Competing for and winning titles is hard. There are no statistics, trends, or anything “numbers people” like to use which can explain it. If you haven’t been there, the climb is uphill in the face of 40-mile-per-hour winds. Both ways, like the walk your parents had to school every day.

Jameis Winston wasn’t great. But he’s made a habit of not being great until great has to be had. Florida State scored on an obtuse batted ball on a poorly-read throw which ended up in the hands of an unintended receiver for a score.

FSU wasn’t even great in the clutch, not selling a probable fumble by Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya in the final minutes by securing a clear recovery and at least forcing the officials to possibly look at it.

It doesn’t matter how you get there, however. It matters if you do. Other folks can’t handle what it takes to get there, and Florida State can. Jalen Ramsey’s last-minute pick assured that, again, there’s another chance to do this all over again. College football is fun, is it not?

You’ll need to knock these Noles out, and surely, if you keep showing up late to the party, eventually, someone will lock the doors on you.

Not this week, though. Not for these Noles, just yet.