Has anyone seen Florida State?
You know, the Seminole program which hasn't had a losing season since Gerald Ford was the President.
The program that, despite last season's 7-6 free fall, has posted a 54-13 record over the past five seasons.
The program that came into this season with an eager new young coach in Willie Taggart, who promised to re-generate the Seminoles after Jimbo Fisher's swine dive and then exit last season for the riches of Texas A&M
[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
There was no question the talent is there.
Fisher did many things both good and bad, in his tenure at FSU, but the shelves were stocked with 4 and 5 star athletes, including 8 starters on offense and a fully recovered quarterback in Deondre Francois and an All American quality running back in Cam Akers as well as No. 11 (in the country) recruiting class.
But between the end of spring practice and the start of the season on Sept. 3rd against Virginia Tech at Doak Campbell Stadium, something happened.
FSU didn't show up in a fumbling, lackluster performance against the Hokies. They barely showed up in what was supposed to be a walk-over against an FBS opponent in Samford two weeks ago and they were totally invisible in a 30-7 road loss at Syracuse in their Atlantic Coast Conference opener last Saturday.
The numbers told some of the story.
A 1-2 start, an 80-46 deficit in points allowed against points scored, including an incredible 5 point a game average against FBS competition, the bottom feeder of the 130 FBS schools. Counting the fourth quarter comeback against Samford, FSU has been ahead in games this season for a total of 4 minutes
In some places in the college football universe this type of beginning would produce a shrug and ""things will get better'' since it was only three games into the season.
But at FSU, the bar is set higher. Taggart, who came to FSU from Oregon, but who had Florida roots and was regarded as a rising star, learned through social media that no fewer than 7 Go Fund accounts had been set up after the loss to Syracuse to gather money to buy out his contract.
On Tuesday, the team called a ""players only'' meeting which is never a good sign.
And what should be regarded as a mere tune up for the rest of the ACC season with Saturday's home game against 1-2 Northern Illinois, is now being regarded with a huge dose of uncertainty.
Taggart has not ducked the issue of what is wrong, but he doesn't seem have an answer on how to fix it.
""We've got to take care of our business,'' he said. ""Trust our techniques and rules about what we're being taught. We have to get better on the football field and not panic. Our fans, students, alumni, former players deserve a team that plays better.
""I am confident that we will get it done. But all the words and coaching cliches in existence that we will do better will not help us play better. We should be upset with ourselves.'
There is no question that last statement is true, which is the main reason for the players only gathering on Tuesday.
""I think we got a lot out of it, "" FSU wide receiver Keith Gavin told the Tallahassee Democrat. ""We just want to get better, start over, continue to do what we do, execute more.''
FSU better find the answer by Saturday. After that comes road games at Louisville and Miami and their annual meeting with Clemson.
The 2018 college football season is still in its infancy and it is still too early to term any game a "make or break'' event, but Northern Illinois is perilously close to falling into that category.
THE HEIGHTS--(An outsiders observations of what is going on at Boston College, aka The Heights)V
Here's a phrase I didn't expect to write this season. "Unbeaten and No. 23 ranked Boston College will travel to winless Purdue on Saturday.''
BC may indeed be the real thing. The Eagles are looking for their first 4-0 start since the 2007 season. They are ranked (AP) for the first time since November of 2008. And they are facing a Purdue team (for the first time) which is 0-3, but has lost its three games by a total of 8 points
""They (Purdue) remind me of us a year ago,'' said BC coach Steve Addazio. ""Very close games. It's a developing team that's scary. I think they're talented. I think they're tough.''
Addazio says his team was at that level a year ago and has moved forward. "I think part of our maturation process program right now is to be able to take on one of these games, go get that done. That's not easy.
""I think our guys are pretty good. They know that (praise, rankings) is like Kool-Aide. Don't drink that now. Just go about your business, just find a way (to win). That's kind of our mindset.''
Three weeks into the season and the ACC has six unbeaten teams (Clemson, Virginia Tech Syracuse, NC State, Boston College and Duke), which matches the SEC...North Carolina will play its first home game of the season on Saturday (against Pittsburgh) since November 18, 20017....Study in contrasts. BC is 3-0 for the first time in a decade, Clemson is 3-0 for the fourth time in five seasons and 7th in last eight years....Miami will host Florida International on Saturday, which marks a reunion for FIU coach Butch Davis, who coached the Hurricanes for 6 seasons and compiled a 51-20 record,..Pittsburgh is looking for its first ACC win over North Carolina with 5 consecutive losses, but the last 7 games between the two schools have been decided by a TD or less. Speaking about rivalries--sort of--Duke and NC Central will play at Duke on Saturday, The NC Central campus is 4.5 miles away.[/membership]