Remember the times when a Miami-Florida State football game was a circle-the-date game each season?
Remember when the winner was in the national championship picture almost automatically?
Remember when both the Seminoles and Canes were automatic write ins for Top 10 slots in your pre-season selections?[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
Ah, those were the days my friends, but we are only a week into the 2018 college football season and both teams are already in the discard pile in the weekly rankings after losses which dropped Miami from No. 8 in the pre-season Associated Press rankings to No. 21 and dumped FSU from No. 19 to out of the Top 25.
Miami opened its season on Sunday night in Arlington, Texas with a 33-17 stink bomb against LSU. The Canes, despite losing their final three games last season, came into the game with a Top 10 ranking against the No. 25 ranked Tigers.
It looked like the pollsters had their rankings mixed up.
The Canes, including QB Malik Rosier, showed nothing from the start and got worse. ""The whole game was a huge learning experience,'' said Rosier, whose starting job would be in more jeopardy, were it not for the fact that two redshirt freshman and a true freshman are on the depth chart behind him. Malik had two interceptions, including a pick six and was sacked four times.
Miami coach Mark Richt was asked about any changes at QB that could be coming--although presumably not this week since the Canes' should get healthy against Savannah State, which lost to UAB, 52-0 in its opener last week.
""We are always going to play who we think gives us the best chance to win,'' said Richt. ""And if we're ever in the position to let another guy play, then we will do that.''
After Savannah State, the Canes' face Toledo, FIU and North Carolina before their annual meeting with FSU. So they should get healthy and happy in the next few games.
But there is also the growing concern that the losing streak which is now four games may be more representative of where Miami football is right now than their 10-game winning streak to start the season.
On Monday night, there was nothing but head scratching time in Seminole nation after Virginia Tech took apart FSU, 24-3 in Willie Taggart's first game as coach.
""A tough loss,'' said Taggart, who came to FSU from Oregon for his dream job after Jimbo Fisher bolted to Texas A&M. ""Not what any of us expected.''
You think? Five turnovers and four trips to the red zone which produced 0 points was not part of the game plan. ""We hadn't seen this the entire training camp,'' said Taggart, who had hoped this game would jump start the Seminoles back into their normal Top 10 neighborhood, not the 7-6 wipe out of last season.
When asked if some of the lustre of the season had been lost, Taggart did not dodge the question ""You lose, of course, there's a little damper, but its not the end of the world.'' he said.
FSU QB Deondre Francois, who had an inauspicious return from a season-ending knee injury a year ago, put it simply, ""We're going to see what kind of team we are and how we handle the situation,'' said Francois.
There might be more angst coming for FSU. After their game against Samford next week, the Seminoles have road games at Syracuse and Louisville sandwiched around a home game against Northern Illinois.
All of those games are winnable, but none of them are locks.
Conversely, Virginia Tech, with a roster loaded with youngsters but with an experienced and talented quarterback in Josh Jackson, with a solid young coach in Justin Fuente and experienced veteran in defensive coordinator Bud Foster looked like well, Virginia Tech, the best team in the ACC Coastal Division, which it has been for most of the past decade.
If you are looking for omens, they are all good coming out of Boston College right now. Start with last week's opening 55-21 win over UMass. The 598 yards of offense was the most posted by any Steve Addazio coached BC team.
Sophomore QB Anthony Brown showed he is completely recovered from last year's season ending knee injury. Brown completed 15 of 21 passes for 279 yards and four TDs.
So dominant were the Eagles' who piled up a 41-7 halftime lead. ""We ran 57 plays in the first half,'' said Addazio, who pulled his starters by halftime and figures to be able to do the same thing on Saturday against FCS opponent Holy Cross. ""That's as good as you're going to get.''
Wait, it gets better for the Eagles. Two tough opponents on the BC schedule FSU and Miami both looked horrible (and beatable) in their season openers. Two other opponents, Purdue and Temple also lost their openers (including a loss by Temple to FCS rival Villanova).
After Holy Cross, BC hits the road for a couple of weeks for a Thursday night game at Wake Forest (which beat Tulane in its opener, but needed OT to do it) and against Purdue the following Saturday.
Then Temple comes to The Heights.
When the season began, many observers thought the Eagles needed a 4-1 or a 5-0 start to reach the magic 8-win barrier they wanted to break this season. With Louisville, FSU and Miami all losing, only Virginia Tech showed some teeth in the first week of the season.
It is way to early to make any serious projections yet, but the signs are more positive than they have been for many years for the Eagles to soar to new heights this season.
In last week's opening games, nine QBs in the country rushed for more than 100 yards. Three of them--Syracuse's Eric Dungey (200 yards) in a win over Western Michigan, Wake's Sam Hartman (128 yards) in an overtime win over Tulane and Virginia's Bryce Perkins (108 yards and 2 TDs) in a win over Richmond, came from the ACC....If Duke beats Northwestern on Saturday, the Blue Devils will have their fifth 2-0 start in their last six seasons....The Jimbo Fisher-Dabo Swinney rivalry will pick up on Saturday night when Texas A&M hosts Clemson. The two men are 4-4 against each other, but Swinney has won the last three games....Pitt and Penn State, will meet for the 99th time on Saturday in one of the oldest rivalries in the East. The two teams are finishing a three game series after a 16-year break. Unfortunately, there are no other future meetings scheduled between the two teams.[/membership]