How Would FSU Fare in the Big XII?
By BJ Bennett
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As the school administrators decide on a course of action regarding Florida State's future, the program is positioning itself for a run at the national title.
Florida State once finished in the national top four for 14 consecutive years. They have not finished in the AP top ten since. While it's clear that conference realignment isn't about anticipated wins and losses, it's at least a topic worth discussing. Progress made under head coach Jimbo Fisher and recent recruiting efforts have the Seminoles trending up. On the gridiron, are they ready for a jump to the Big XII?
The program has compiled a 38-26 league record since ACC expansion began in 2004. Here is how the Seminoles have performed, by team, against their now-division foes.
Boston College: 4-3
NC State: 5-3
Wake Forest: 4-4
Take out the Terrapins, who have arguably been the side's weakest link in recent years, and Florida State has gone 16-15 against a fairly-mediocre division. Broadening the stroke some, five conference wins overall have come against Duke post-expansion. The Blue Devils have won a total of 19 games in that span, with five of those victories coming against FCS schools. Their hasn't been a worse-performing BCS Conference team in all of college football. Minus wins against Duke and Maryland, the Seminoles have gone 27-26 versus the rest of the league since 2004.
Still looking at production from 2004-2011, Florida State has lost 14 games in November in those eight seasons. Against what would likely be a more balanced, grueling league schedule in the BIg XII, would those late season struggles be exaggerated? The annual season-ending game with Florida isn't going anywhere, meaning a potential move would likely result a brutal stretch run for the 'Noles every year.
Expectations would be high should the change occur. The Seminoles would set their sights on the top two perennial powers in the league, one of whom has long proven to be a Florida State nemesis. The 'Noles lost to Oklahoma 23-13 in Tallahassee last season, a considerable upgrade from the 47-17 shellacking taken the year before in Norman. FSU is just 1-6 all-time versus the Sooners. They have not once ever matched up with Texas.
There are many reasons for optimism looking forward for Florida State. Fisher has won 19 games in his first two seasons, advancing to the ACC Championship Game his first year. The Seminoles, under his tenure, are 4-0 against archrivals Florida and Miami. The program has won four straight bowl games, beating Wisconsin, now Big XII member West Virginia, South Carolina and Notre Dame in consecutive showings. Fisher and his staff are dominating on the recruiting trails. Players like Dustin Hopkins, Brandon Jenkins, Greg Reid, Xavier Rhodes and Bjoern Werner are all All-American candidates. FSU will be a pre-season top ten team this fall.
As the school administrators decide on a course of action regarding Florida State's future, the program is positioning itself for a run at the national title. Looking ahead, it makes sense to expect that the Seminoles would be a consistent power player in the Midwest. Looking back, however, it's a much different point of view.