Florida State survives a scare, LSU falls to Mississippi State, and Oklahoma continues to impress. Here are the five takeaways from the weekend in college football.
So Big He’s the Story Even When He Doesn’t Play
While FSU deserves praise for suspending Winston for yelling an extremely vulgar phrase in the student union, the manner in which the administration allocated the suspension was odd, at best. After announcing a half-game suspension on Wednesday, FSU decision-makers decided to lengthen the suspension to one game on Friday, citing Winston’s lack of forthrightness about the incident as revealed by a “continuing investigation.”
The simple questions that arise from this are:
1. Why didn’t FSU fully investigate the incident before handing out a punishment?
2. What specific evidence was later revealed from an incident that was live-tweeted by multiple FSU students?
Further, Winston, not aware that the full game suspension meant that he should not dress out, came onto the field and began warming-up in full uniform. ABC’s coverage of the game captured an encounter between Winston and head coach Jimbo Fisher in which Winston looked confused before heading back to the locker and emerging in jersey and sweat pants. The entire saga shows a disconnect between player, coach, and administration.
More specifically, Winston just doesn’t get it. His superb talent is betrayed by his lack of maturity and a propensity for trouble. A starting QB with a Heisman Trophy should have sufficient mentoring to prevent any of Winston’s absurd off the field actions. Either he doesn’t have it or, more likely, he doesn’t have the sense to heed it.
Florida State defeated Clemson 23-17 in overtime. FSU started sophomore QB Sean Maguire in place of QB Jameis Winston, who served a one-game suspension. Maguire went 21 for 39 with 1 TD and 2 INTs. He finished the game with a QBR of 26.4. In short, Maguire’s first career start was not a good one. Yet, 2 missed field goals and a late fumble by Clemson allowed the Seminoles to scrape by for the win.
Clemson was FSU’s toughest ACC matchup. Saturday’s win should allow the Noles to cruise to the ACC title game. Outside of the ACC, FSU will play both Notre Dame and longtime rival Florida. Both games are in Tallahassee and will be key to a potential FSU playoff berth.
The Alabama/Florida matchup was riddled with mistakes with both teams combining for seven turnovers. Nick Saban’s process-oriented team will surely right the wrongs that they committed on Saturday. The same prospect is not assured for Florida. Its offense gained only 200 yards and was dominated in time of possession. Florida’s secondary looked especially suspect, allowing Alabama’s receivers to get behind them with regularity.
Coach Will Muschamp, now in his fourth year at Florida, has had only one winning season. Florida’s tough schedule and Florida’s performance to date doesn’t lend itself to cooling the heat under Muschamp’s throne. The odds are good that this is his last season in Gainesville.
Sooners Class of Big 12
Oklahoma played solidly against West Virginia and looks to be the class of the Big 12. Currently ranked #4, the Sooners continue to be the conference’s best hope to put a team in the playoff. Potential traps for the Sooners are Texas, which upset Oklahoma last year, and Baylor, which annihilated the Sooners in Waco. The Sooners also face Kansas State, Kansas, and rival Oklahoma State.
SEC Boasts Nearly a Third of Top 25
Mississippi State’s victory over LSU in Baton Rouge vaulted the Bulldogs from unranked to #14. The SEC now has eight teams in the Top 25, including four teams in the top ten. The top seven teams haven’t changed from last week, although Florida State and Auburn had close scares.