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Sorry, scribes. Florida State is still unbeaten. Jimbo Fisher, Jameis Winston, the whole lot of them. And you know what? They might just win the whole damn thing again before it’s all over.
Down 21-0 to Louisville and their statistically top shelf defense, blood was in the water. Social media, they had jokes. Oh, the jokes. Jameis Winston was done. Insert crab leg joke that seven people think is clever.
Then, Jameis Winston showed why he’s the best player in college football, why, when the fire is hot and you stick the iron in, his is the strongest.
Winston has found himself in that most unenviable place among the media. They have decided they don’t like him; he gets Interweb clicks; he allows for sports media to be chest-thumping, extra sanctimonious.
That doesn’t change the fact that it’s Winston … and everyone else until further notice.
To wit, Winston’s performance in helping lead the Noles back from 21 down wasn’t the stuff of legend this time. He benefited from a poorly thrown ball that saw two Louisville defenders plow into each other, allowing for a pretty good catch considering the receiver never saw the ball until late, and then a touchdown run.
Another touchdown pass was so wide open, Shaggy from Scooby Doo could have hit the receiver in spite of being on one of his endless trips.
The last touchdown pass to salt away the game was little more than hitting a guy in stride 4-yards-down field and then watching the blown coverage and good blocking seal it.
But in the end, Winston is Winston, and as is the most endearing quality that people can have … he just flat gets it done when it has to get done.
Folks will chide that it was against a Louisville team in transition. Hog wash. Louisville’s defense was stout coming in, and lest you think it was because of a meager schedule to this point, mind you that ESPN’s Adam Schefter Tweeted out that NFL scouts pin pointed this game as the one with the most draft-able talent on the field.
So if the NFL thinks the guys out there are worth traveling to see, don’t give me your tired rhetoric about how “it’s just a mediocre Louisville team.” Granted, they played spectacularly poorly, but part of that is Florida State, whether you want to admit it or not.
And Winston did it on what looked like one leg, displaying a toughness about him that no one really wants to admit. Teddy Bridgewater hobbling up and down the field leading his team to a win? High character gamer. Jameis Winston doing it? Whine about his dad wanting to get on the field.
Such is life for Winston, this year’s version of Johnny Manziel, where sports media has gotten to a point where “finding reasons to criticize Jameis Winston” appears on a Microsoft Outlook planned staff meeting on a weekly basis.
Winston does have his flaws. At the risk of making comparisons because that’s a flawed thing seeing as people are unique and different in their own way, Jameis looks like some sort of hybrid between Jay Cutler and “there’s no reason they should win this game but it’s going to happen” Andrew Luck.
That’s the best I can give you on Winston, who has developed a flaw of having an “arrogant arm” and trying to throw off his back foot and fit balls into windows that probably shouldn’t be thrown. Part of that is being a sophomore leader and not a freshman tasked with the “don’t do too much all the time” lecture.
Part of that is that this Florida State team is more banged up and less talented either way than last year’s. They are things he’ll have to work on, but let the first quarterback who is flawless cast the first stone (sees Tom Brady pick up stone).
At this point in the season, Jameis Winston is your Heisman guy again, whether you like it or not. Doesn’t have the stats? Who cares. The only math needed is whether or not you’re 1-0 after every game you play. Greatness isn’t measure in numbers, it’s measured in wins. Numbers are for stats nerds and sports media who prefer dissecting the games rather than just watching how they play out.
Winston is the best at the winning thing.
Maybe next week, the week down the road, the first playoff game, it all ends and they lose. Maybe, Winston one day just doesn’t have enough to overcome the troubling string of sloppy, hungover starts. That day isn’t today.
Just be 1-0 the day you play, and you’ll be fine. Winston and Florida State have done that 21 consecutive times. And they’re 0-0 again today.