Tag Archives: Everett Golson

Turning Points of FSU’s season; ACC Wrap Up

This is the period of time in the college football season when you really get to reflect on your team’s season, assess what went right and wrong, and see what could have been. For the Seminoles, they were only a couple of plays from being undefeated, and a couple of plays from being 8-4. The Seminoles went through a couple quarterback changes and injuries on both sides of the ball that altered their season, but instead of running down a list of things that affected their season, I’m going to point out the pivotal moments of the Seminole’s season, positive and negative, in chronological order.

1. Seminoles stop Miami at midfield on 4th and 4 with 53 seconds left

This was one of the moments that could potentially have derailed the Seminoles’ entire season. With Miami down 29-24, they got the ball at their own 19-yard line with two minutes left with a chance to win the game. After getting a first down, the Hurricanes ultimately found themselves in a 4th and 4 situation at their own 42-yard line. With how well Brad Kaaya had been playing in the game, Seminole fans weren’t too confident in the defense’s ability to stop the Hurricanes, and were afraid they were about to watch Kaaya drive down the field and hand the ‘Noles their first loss of the season. Alas, the pass Kaaya attempted was incomplete, and the Seminoles were able to get into victory formation, and end the week at 5-0.

2. Aguayo gets his kick blocked, and returned for a touchdown against GT

This obviously had a huge impact on the Seminole’s season, and the loss had a couple trickle down effects for the team. First of all, the decision to go for a 56-yard field goal, although long, had to have been a no-brainer for Jimbo Fisher considering he had one of the best kickers in the country in Roberto Aguayo, so let’s not argue with the decision itself. The team set up for the field goal, and knowing it needed to be a low-angle kick, a Georgia Tech defender managed to get a hand on it, and that’s when everything hit the fan for the Seminoles. It didn’t look too harmful when GT picked up the loose ball, but after reversing the field and getting to the sideline, Seminole fans started to realize what was about to happen. Two terrible missed tackles by Cason Beatty and Roberto Aguayo later and the clock had struck zero with the Yellow Jackets leading 22-16. This game not only was the first loss of the season, but it also brought up the first real questions about who should be starting at quarterback for the Seminoles.

3. Sean Maguire starts for the Seminoles against Syracuse

After losing to Georgia Tech, Fisher decided to switch out quarterback Everett Golson, in favor of Sean Maguire. Maguire was the quarterback everyone expected to be the starter in the spring, but after Golson transferred in during the summer, the quarterback battle was neck and neck going into the season with Golson slightly ahead of Maguire. A slip up by Golson gave Fisher enough of a reason to see what Maguire could do. Maguire proceeded to pass for 348 yards and 3 TD’s in a 45-21 win, and supplanted Golson as the starter going into playing #1 Clemson. This game brought up questions about whether Maguire should have been starting all along, and what might have happened in the Georgia Tech game had Maguire been starting.

4. Seminoles turn the ball over on downs with 6 minutes left against Clemson

This was the part of the game that decided the outcome of the game for the Seminoles. Down 16-13, the Seminoles had the chance to drive down the field and take a 4-point lead. At midfield, the Seminoles had two opportunities to gain one yard for a first down, but Cook couldn’t gain the yard in either of his two attempts. Clemson would take possession of the ball, and score a touchdown to go up 23-13 with 2:34 remaining. Getting that first down and potentially scoring a touchdown could have changed the entire landscape of college football. With a win, the Seminoles would have had the lead in the Atlantic divisional race with a head to head win over Clemson, and with a win in that game could have overcome the loss to Georgia Tech and found themselves playing in a playoff game. Clemson however rose to the challenge, stopped Cook and preserved their undefeated season. The game gave the Seminoles their second loss of the season, and ended any dreams of grandeur for the Seminoles.

5. The Seminoles defeat Florida 27-2

At 9-2, the outlook of the 2015 season for the Seminoles had a lot riding on the outcome of this game against Florida, that was the highest profile Florida vs. Florida State game in recent years. The Gators had a chance to make a run to the playoffs if they entered the SEC Championship with only one loss, and the Seminoles had a chance to extend their 10-win season streak. The game kind of went the way people had expected early, with both defenses playing well, allowing only 13 points going into the 4th quarter. In the 4th, Dalvin Cook ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Seminoles to a victory over the hated Florida Gators. The game gave the Seminoles a 10-2 record at the end of the season, and put an exclamation point at the end of the season, after losing a couple of tough games earlier in the year.

One has to wonder what could have been for the Seminoles had they managed to win the game against Clemson, however I’m sure there are a lot of teams thinking the same thing. In all, it was a good season for the Seminoles. Although fans have become accustomed to winning more, you can’t complain too much with a ten-win season, especially when one of the losses was to the #1 team in the country who remain undefeated.

The Seminoles have a chance to end the season 11-2, when they play #18 Houston in the Chic-Fil-A Peach Bowl December 31st at noon.

Here’s what’s happening around the ACC:

ACC HAS FOUR FIRST TEAM ALL AMERICANS

The AP All American teams were announced a couple days ago, and the ACC had four players placed on the first team. Two were named from Clemson between quarterback Deshaun Watson, and defensive end Shaq Lawson. Guard Landon Turner from North Carolina and safety Jeremy Cash from Duke were the other two. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey and runningback Dalvin Cook from Florida State were both named second team All-Americans, and the third team consists of guard Joe Thurney of NC State and cornerback Mackensie Alexander from Clemson. This is a pretty good showing for the ACC when you consider the depth of the conference. With four first teamers, the ACC placed the third most players on the first team, behind the SEC with six, and the Big Ten with five.

DESHAUN WATSON AND DALVIN COOK FINISH 3RD AND 7TH IN HEISMAN RACE

Deshaun Watson of Clemson finished in third place in the Heisman race, receiving 1,165 total votes, 831 more than the fourth place finisher. The Heisman race turned out as expected with Derrick Henry winning the trophy, and Christian McCaffrey coming in second. Beyond the top three, Dalvin Cook of Florida State finished seventh in the race, receiving 79 total votes. Of the power-5 conferences, the Big 10, Big 12, the SEC and the ACC each had two players in the top ten.

FSU vs Houston; ACC Wrap Up

The #8 Florida State Seminoles have landed in the Chic-Fil-A Peach bowl, and will face the #18 Houston Cougars at noon on December 31st. At 10-2, the Seminoles have had a great season if you take into account the type of year that was expected, and the questions they have faced at a couple key positions. The Seminoles are still coming off their biggest win of the season, and head into late December playing the best football they’ve played all year.

Some Seminole fans were a bit disappointed that they didn’t end up playing a more glamorous opponent, but once you look at this Houston team it becomes apparent that they will give the Seminoles a few problems in the game.

The first and most obvious is Houston’s rush defense. With the Seminoles, the buck stops with Dalvin Cook and their running attack. Behind Cook, the Seminoles offense averaged 5.4 yards per carry, which ranks them at 14th in the country in yards per carry. Houston’s defense, ranks 8th in defending that same category, allowing only 3.3 yards per carry to opponents. If Houston wants to win this game they will need to win this matchup, and by win I don’t necessarily mean completely shut down Cook, but Houston will need to bottle him up and limit his effectiveness if they want to be in the game by the end. Fortunately for Houston they have a defense capable of doing this, as they held the #2 rushing offense in the nation, Navy, to only 147 yards on the ground when they averaged 330 yards per game for the season.

Houston’s QB Greg Ward Jr. will also give the Seminole defense their own fair share of problems. Ward at quarterback has completed 68% of his passes this season for 16 TD’s and only 5 INT’s, these are pretty good stats, but when you add in the fact that he is also their leading rusher with 1,041 yards on the season, you start to see why this guy is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country. These are the exact kind of quarterbacks that have given Seminole defenses problems in the past. If you look at just this season, the two games the Seminoles lost have come by the hands of Justin Thomas and Deshaun Watson, but additionally in the past we’ve seen Marcus Mariota, Jacoby Brissett, and even Everett Golson give the ‘Noles problems.

Maguire will be the difference maker against Houston's 111th ranked pass defense
Maguire will be the difference maker against Houston’s 111th-ranked pass defense

With these things in mind, I think it will be a much closer game than many people anticipate. My bold prediction for this game, is that quarterback Sean Maguire for the Seminoles will have a break out game and be the reason why the Seminoles beat Houston. Maguire has been steady in the second half of the season, but he hasn’t put together a performance that has completely erased doubts about who should start at quarterback. I think the Seminoles will be put in a few third and long situations during the game, and Maguire’s play will help table the effectiveness of Houston’s rush defense. Maguire will prove to Seminole fans that he should have been the starter all season long.

Here’s what’s happening in the ACC:

CLEMSON DEFEATS UNC: PLAYOFF BERTH

Clemson defeated North Carolina 45-37 in the ACC Championship Game, to win the ACC and clinch a berth into the 2015 College Playoffs. The game ended with a terrible offside call that eliminated an onside kick recovery by UNC that would have allowed the Tarheels a chance to tie the game. Nonetheless the referees called an invisible offside, and the Tigers were able to wind the clock down. #1 Clemson now will face #4 Oklahoma in the Capital One Orange Bowl December 31st at 4pm. This game will put two of the best quarterbacks in the country against each other between potential Heisman winner Deshaun Watson and Baker Mayfield.

MIAMI HIRES MARK RICHT

After firing Al Golden, Miami had been looking for the best successor, and found exactly that in Mark Richt. Georgia fired Richt after a couple down seasons, and basically by the time the news broke he was hired by Miami. This is a great fit for a couple reasons; Richt played at Miami, and Miami had been looking for a high-profile name to lead their team. It seems as if this is the hire all Miami fans have been waiting for, and they seem poised to return to former glory with a coach like Mark Richt at the helm.

ACC HAS NINE BOWL TEAMS

The ACC has enjoyed a pretty successful season as a whole, culminating in nine teams playing in bowl games this year. Among the teams in bowl games are Miami, Duke, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, NC State, Louisville, Florida State and Clemson. The ACC as a whole is a top-heavy conference, with only three top-25 teams, however all three of them are in the top ten. These three teams, #1 Clemson, #9 Florida State, and #10 UNC will play against #4 Oklahoma, #18 Houston and #17 Baylor, respectively in their bowl games.

Seminoles vs Gators: ACC Wrap Up

Florida State defeated Chattanooga 52-13 over the past weekend, in a game that was never really in question. At 9-2, the #13 Seminoles will now turn all of their attention towards the #12 Florida Gators.

Obviously this is a monumental game for both teams, a win for Florida State would be the highlight of their season and would keep the Noles from having their first three-loss season in a couple years. A win for Florida would keep them on track for a playoff berth if they can beat Alabama in the SEC Championship. This game also could mean a lot to the recruiting landscape in Florida, as the winner would have bragging rights within the state as the best program.

These two teams have been pretty similar throughout the season. Neither has gotten a lot of production from their offense, and both rely on their defense to win games. Both teams have their reasons for their offensive woes, but currently both have questions at quarterback. The Gators quarterback situation got sticky when Will Grier got suspended, while the Seminoles have just had a quarterback problem all season between Sean Maguire and Everett Golson. Both offenses rely on their rushing game to gain yards, and that will be no different this weekend.

On the defensive end, Florida’s defense is ranked third in the nation in points allowed per game, and the Seminoles’ defense is ranked 11th in the same category. All signs point towards this game being a low-scoring, defensive showdown that will be decided by which quarterback makes the fewest mistakes.

Whichever back has the better game will most likely determine who wins this game
Whichever back has the better game will most likely determine who wins this game

For the Seminoles, this game will come down to the matchup between their ground game, and Florida’s 8th ranked run defense. Florida State’s offense hinges on the success of their run game, and if Dalvin Cook can continue doing what he’s done all season against Florida that would bode well for their chances of winning. At quarterback, the Seminoles need to get Sean Maguire settled into the game early on with some quick and easy throws that will help him get some confidence in the beginning of the game. Maguire has shown that he can play well when he establishes some confidence and gets into a rhythm. Noles fans are hoping that he can do this early on in the game, opposed to getting into a hole quickly on the road.

The game will be played in the Swamp at night, which provides it’s own set of problems for the Seminoles as they’re 2-2 on the road and 7-0 at home. However their game against Clemson in Death Valley should help prepare this team for the fans they’re about to face in Gainesville.

In a game that will be decided by big plays and the ground game, I’ll take the Seminoles winning this game simply because of Dalvin Cook. If Cook can shred the Gators this weekend he might even find himself in the middle of the Heisman discussion, although no ACC Championship for the Noles will make Cook’s odds very slim. Florida State’s defense should be able to contain the Gator’s offense considering that the Gator’s offense hasn’t really been able to do damage against anyone. In a low scoring game, I think the Seminoles will take this one 20-13.

The game kicks off at 7:30 in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Here’s what else is happening in the ACC this weekend:

RIVALRY WEEK

Being that it is rivalry week in college football, there are numerous matchups to watch within the ACC. Georgia Tech could end their season on a positive note when Georgia comes into town to play them. Seeing as Georgia Tech has nothing left to play for, they should show up in this game against a beatable Georgia team. Clemson plays South Carolina in what has been a very disappointing season for South Carolina. Virginia Tech and Virginia face off in an interstate rival that will determine which team has the better season. One of the sneaky good matchups this weekend will be when UNC travels to NC State this weekend. At 7-4, the Wolfpack are a good team in their own right and the Tarheels will have their hands full with their high-powered offense.

 FRANK BEAMER AND VIRGINIA TECH

Virginia Tech’s game this weekend has a lot more on the line than a victory over Virginia, a victory this weekend means that the Hokies will be bowl eligible in Frank Beamer’s final year with the team. At 5-6, the Hokies haven’t had a whole lot of positives from this season, and a win against Virginia would change that. A win would allow Frank Beamer the chance to finish his last season with a winning record, and would boost morale within the program going forward. A loss would be a sad way to end Beamer’s career at Virginia Tech.

ACC NEEDS CLEMSON AND UNC TO WIN

One thing that I don’t think will happen, but would be bad for the ACC is if Clemson or UNC were to lose this weekend. A win by both teams this weekend would mean that the winner of the ACC would most likely be playing in the playoffs. A loss this weekend for either team allows the possibility of the ACC winner not playing in the playoffs. A loss by UNC this weekend would make them 10-2, making it hard for them to advance even if they did beat Clemson, and a loss by Clemson would mean that if they beat UNC they might not make it to the playoff. Even though it is hard to imagine the ACC winner not being in the playoff, a loss by either team this weekend would open up a Pandora’s box of possibilities.

Seminole’s Lose Again

The Florida State Seminoles were defeated 23-13 by #1 Clemson, who clinched the Atlantic division title with the victory.

It was a tied game going into the fourth quarter, but ultimately the Clemson offense exposed the Seminoles defense late with a couple seam passes and screens, which proved to be too much for defense to handle. Combine that with poor quarterback play from Sean Maguire and you have a recipe for a loss. Besides a 75-yard touchdown from Dalvin Cook on the second play of the game, the ‘Noles offense only scored six points. The loss can’t be entirely blamed on the quarterback, but one has to wonder if starting Maguire was the correct decision by coach Jimbo Fisher.

The Seminoles had a couple chances to step on Clemson’s throat early and seize all of the momentum, but failed to rise to the occasion. The first mishap was the inexplicable interception by Maguire at the 5-yard-line, in which Maguire decided to throw the ball off his back foot up to 5’7” WR Kermit Whitfield, the interception kept the game from being potentially 14-0. Once the Tigers got the ball, the Seminoles would have forced a three and out, if not for a dumb late hit penalty from cornerback Jalen Ramsey that extended Clemson’s drive.

Surprisingly Clemson never pulled away in this game, as their quarterback Deshaun Watson missed a few throws and had a few costly errors of his own. The most obvious being him spiking the ball on third down inside the Seminoles’ 20-yard-line with thirty seconds left in the first half. The Seminoles’ defense played very well, but one of the biggest takeaways from this game might be that Clemson looked very beatable.

The pivotal point of the game was obviously Clemson turning the ‘Noles over on downs after two failed rushing attempts by Dalvin Cook to get a single yard. Clemson would go on to score the game-clinching touchdown seven plays later.

What it means:

The Seminoles are now 7-2, and National Title hopes are officially dead. The hopes were already clinging to life before the loss, but now there isn’t a possible way to get to the playoff. It’s still a good season by most standards, but after winning the National Championship and making the playoffs in the past two years, two losses in a season is unfamiliar ground in recent history for Seminole fans. The success of this season for ‘Noles fans will be decided on the last game of the season by the outcome of their game against the #11 Florida Gators. A win over a contending Florida team would help people forget about the tough losses as well as give Seminole fans bragging rights, while a loss would help declare the season a failure (any season with a loss to Florida is a failure for Seminole fans.)

The biggest question for the Seminoles is who will be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season. With an eye already looking towards next season, you would think that Fisher would opt towards Maguire starting the rest of the year, as he will be back on the team next season, and Golson won’t. Whoever ultimately does end up starting won’t really affect the team much, as both are mediocre, but I do think that Maguire starting would be most beneficial going forward because at least Maguire can open up the offense and help younger players grow in the system.

Here’s what else happened in the ACC:

CLEMSON IS ATLANTIC DIVISION CHAMPS

With Clemson’s victory over Florida State they have clinched the Atlantic division within the ACC and will set their sights on the ACC Championship. Clemson’s remaining opponents until then have a combined record of 9-18, with none seemingly having any chance of beating them. What a year for Clemson. Deshaun Watson has been everything Clemson fans could have hoped for, leading Clemson’s fifteenth ranked offense in points per game. Combine that with their fourth ranked defense in terms of yards, and it doesn’t seem like this team has a weakness. The only thing this team may have to worry about until bowl season is the underrated Tarheels who they are poised to play in the ACC Championship.

UNC CAN CLINCH COASTAL DIVISION

Can someone please tell me why everyone is overlooking the Tarheels? Since the first game of the season, a game they shouldn’t have lost, the Tarheels have won every game, culminating in their two best wins of the season in the past two weeks against Pittsburgh and Duke. At 8-1, UNC is only four games a way from a possible playoff birth, the fourth of which would assumedly be against a #1 Clemson team. Quarterback Marquise Williams has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country this season, making the Tarheel offense the sixth most efficient offense in the country. Granted they haven’t had a very tough schedule, but if they can close out the season, a matchup against #1 Clemson would allow North Carolina to make up for their lack of a tough schedule. North Carolina can clinch the Coastal division with a victory and a Pittsburgh loss this weekend.

DUKE AND PITT UNRAVEL

Pittsburgh and Duke both got shredded on defense this weekend giving up a combined 108 points to UNC and Notre Dame. Both teams have now lost two games in a row when they each had a chance to win the Coastal division. Duke’s past two games have been brutal between Miami’s illegal kick return and a 35-point loss to the Tarheels. Pittsburgh has to be wondering how their season would have went if they had a bit of an easier schedule. The Panthers have lost to #4 Notre Dame, #5 Iowa, and an under ranked #23 North Carolina. These are two teams that the ACC was hoping could step up and provide some depth in the ACC after Clemson, UNC and Florida State, but it hasn’t worked out that way. One of these teams will add another loss to their record when Duke hosts Pittsburgh this weekend at noon.

As Kizer Rolls, What Does The Future Hold for Zaire?

Last spring, Brian Kelly made comments concerning the quarterback situation at Notre Dame.

Kelly stated that Notre Dame had the most talented group of QBs in the country. The rest of the country scoffed at the notion that the most talented group of slingers resided anywhere other than Columbus, Ohio.

cardale-minn

Last season Ohio State’s third string Quarterback, Cardale Jones, was able to elevate the Buckeyes to a national championship victory with help from an absolutely loaded, and otherwise healthy team. This season, the Cleveland, Ohio product has been rather unimpressive, struggling when given the opportunity to start, before being benched for JT Barrett, last year’s number two QB. While many absolutely thought that Urban Meyer could do no wrong in deciding who would be under center for the Buckeyes. Yes, the Buckeyes have been unblemished, they have also been rather unimpressive, in part due to lackluster quarterback play for much of the year.

Fast-forward to the present day, and Kelly’s comments don’t look too far-fetched.

Brian Kelly might not have been faced with quite as difficult of a decision as Meyer. Kelly had to decide between Everett Golson and Malik Zaire.

During spring practice the battle was reportedly tight, and no decision for week one against Texas had been made.

Golson then made the decision for Kelly when he bolted for Florida State University, where he was recently benched.

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Golson leaving left Kelly with one quarterback that had experience in Malik Zaire. The extent of Zaire’s experience was playing sparingly in 2014 before starting the Music City Bowl against LSU. While that was obviously minimal, it was by far the most on the roster.

Zaire would continue to gain experience with starts against Texas and Virginia before fracturing his ankle in the third quarter against Virginia.

The injury to Zaire thrust DeShone Kizer into the mix. In the UVA game and his seven starts since Kizer has been better than Irish fans could have imagined. The redshirt freshman has compiled a 6-1 record in his seven starts, with the only loss coming on the road in Death Valley in the middle of a hurricane.

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Kizer, a native of Toledo, Ohio has completed 66% of his passes for 1931 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. His most impressive stat however, could be that he has Notre Dame right in the middle of the playoff hunt, currently slated as the #4 team.

Notre Dame certainly has a solid chance to find themselves playing on New Year’s Eve with Kizer at the helm.

Notre Dame still has to win three more games to have that opportunity, but if that goal is achieved, should Kizer be placed ahead of Zaire come spring football when Zaire returns from injury?

There is the old adage that one should never lose his or her job due to an injury, but one would have to wonder if that would apply here.

Yes, the job was Zaire’s before he got hurt, but he wasn’t exactly what you would consider established as a starter. Kizer might not be either, but he is certainly on his way to getting there.

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Kelly was quoted this past week on the Rich Eisen Show, saying that he believes DeShone Kizer is a championship level QB.

That quote begs the follow-up, does he still believe Malik Zaire is a championship level signal caller as well? The easy answer would be that Coach Kelly only recruits quarterbacks that he believes are championship level players. One would have to think that if Kelly entrusted Zaire with the keys to a team with playoff aspirations, he would believe it. If it has not already been determined, this could very well be a situation that is handled in spring practice.

It is also worth noting that the position battle wouldn’t necessarily just be a two horse race as it was last spring between Golson and Zaire.

Freshman quarterback Brandon Wimbush might be the most naturally gifted of the three, but he would have to be considered a long shot to win the job. In the very limited time he has seen he has shown a knack for the big play and a big arm, two things that could bode very well for the future of Notre Dame quarterbacks.

Brian Kelly will have a big decision on his plate, just as Urban Meyer did this fall.

Meyer originally went with the National Championship winner in Cardale Jones, and later switched to JT Barrett.

Kelly could very easily have to decide between a National Championship winner and a previous starter as well.

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Time will definitely tell how this situation will be handled, just as time has already shown us that Ohio State might not have the most talented group of quarterbacks in the country. The position group in South Bend would like to have a say in that discussion.

 

Danny Cunningham can be found on Twitter at @DCunninghamCLE or reached via email at [email protected]

FSU’s QB Battle and ACC Wrap Up

Florida State’s 45-21 victory over Syracuse means a lot more than simply defeating an ACC opponent, the victory brings up questions at the most important position on offense, the quarterback.

With season long starter Everett Golson sitting out the game due to a concussion, backup Sean Maguire got the start and proceeded to pass for 348 yards, 3 touchdowns with no interceptions.

Maguire simply made the offense look the best it has all season. Most noticeably was his ability to throw down the field, which Golson has shown he isn’t consistently able to do. The plays that were being called for Maguire proved that there is more trust in his arm than Golson’s. The Seminoles haven’t been utilizing wide receiver Travis Rudolph’s speed downfield because Golson can’t be trusted to chuck it down the field. In comes Maguire, and two bombs to Rudolph later early in the game and he has two catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

Travis Rudolph had his best game of the season with Maguire under center.
Travis Rudolph had his best game of the season with Maguire under center.

Being able to stretch the field is something that the Seminole offense has been lacking all season, with this, opposing defenses have been loading the box in order to contain running back Dalvin Cook, and Golson hasn’t given any team a reason not to because he hasn’t shown that he is capable of making the defenses pay.

All of this adds up to one big question for the Seminoles leading into the biggest game of their season against newly #1 Clemson; who should be the starting quarterback?

Normally a good game by the backup quarterback in replacement of the starter isn’t enough to supplant the starter, but this isn’t an ordinary situation. The first reason is that even though Golson transferred in during the offseason and subsequently won the starting job over Maguire, Golson hasn’t performed to the level that was expected and the level coaches were hoping. Secondly is that Maguire has proved that he can lead the team to victories, he is only 2-0, but one of them was against Clemson and their top five defense last season.

Who will start is a complete unknown at this point. Coach Jimbo Fisher has said everything from saying he’s going to wait and see throughout the week, to saying that he’s not eliminating the possibility of a two quarterback system. Regardless of who starts, the success of the Seminoles season will be determined by the outcome of their next game against Clemson. A win will help people forget about their loss to Georgia Tech, while also putting them in the driver’s seat of the Atlantic division of the ACC.

If you asked me, I think the nod will be given to Maguire. It is a tough decision, but Golson just hasn’t looked like he has been in control of the ‘Noles offense at any point of the season. At times he looks scared and opts to scramble, or he throws a short pass, the offense under Golson was more of a dink and dunk offense, compared to what Maguire showed us on Saturday. Maguire’s arm brought life to the offense, and he did so without Dalvin Cook.

The Seminoles face Clemson at 3:30 on Saturday.

Here’s what else happened in the ACC this weekend:

MIAMI’S KICKOFF RETURN VS DUKE

One of the biggest plays of the season happened last weekend when Miami miraculously returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Duke to win the game as time expired. Miami, in a last ditch effort to win the game lateralled the ball eight times and managed to get by the Duke coverage team to score the game-winning touchdown, but not really. One of the Miami runners who attempted to lateral the ball was clearly down upon watching the replay, and multiple block in the back calls were missed that should have been called. The ACC has thus suspended a couple of the ACC officials from the game, admitting that the referees erred on the play. So the play that won Miami the game, shouldn’t have been a touchdown, but it was. Why the ACC can’t overturn the play and give Duke the victory is beyond me, but as it stands Miami won the game, and now has an outside shot of winning the Coastal division. It really is a shame because Duke had a lot more on the line in this game than Miami did. With the loss, Duke now is a game back from UNC in the Coastal division of the ACC.

UNC LEADS THE COASTAL DIVISION

Because of the botched kickoff return, UNC is now sitting atop the Coastal division. With Pittsburgh and Duke both losing, #21 North Carolina is now quietly 7-1 and in position to face either Clemson or Florida State in the ACC championship. The divisional race is still far from over as UNC and Duke face each other this weekend, with Duke and Pitt facing each other in two weeks. Nonetheless it seems like this UNC team is being slept on. They have the 21st ranked offense in points per game in the NCAA, and the 15th best defense in terms of points allowed. People will point to their strength of schedule, but the win over #23 Pittsburgh helped put them on the map, and how they perform in their game against Duke this weekend will go a long ways to determining how good this team really is.

FRANK BEAMER RETIRES

Frank Beamer, the long-time coach of the Virginia Tech Hokies has decided to step down as head coach after the end of the 2015 season. This wasn’t a move that was completely unexpected, but it will mark the end of an era at Virginia Tech. Beamer began coaching for Virginia Tech in 1987, leading them to 22 straight bowl games. His teams have slipped a bit over the past few seasons, which along with his age, surely played a big part in his decision to step down. Beamer will be remembered as one of the most respected coaches in college football by coaches, and by his players who all credit Beamer to being one of the biggest influences in their careers. Beamer took Virginia Tech from an independent team in 1987, to the Big East in 1991, to where they are now in the ACC in 2004. Beamer led the Hokies to four ACC Championships, three Big East Championships, and six BCS bowl game appearances. Who will be the coach in 2016 is unclear, however Beamer has stated in the past that he hopes someone on his current staff will be named his successor.

Week 9 Rundown: Are They Still Lateraling?

What a great time to be a fan of college football. The 2nd year of the new playoff system, and a third straight week with an all-time type of ending. We’re pretty spoiled. And the endings seem to be getting better. Or crazier at least. This one resulted in a game-winning touchdown on the final play with eight laterals, penalties called incorrectly, missed penalties, and refs appearing to use replay in unauthorized manners. I think everybody would be OK if those refs never oversaw a game again this season. That was horrific. With that said, the outcry for the outcome to be reversed is ridiculous. The proverbial “can of worms” and “pandora’s box” references are applicable here. It’s easy to say because the missed call happened on the last play, but what about missed calls on earlier drives that got the game to that point?

Duke was the beneficiary of three defensive pass interference calls on the previous drive (only one of which was clear-cut) that practically handed them the go-ahead score, a touchdown that didn’t definitively cross the goal-line. Overall, Miami was penalized 23 times compared to 5 for Duke (I didn’t know college basketball started already). I don’t care how undisciplined one team may be, that type of discrepancy is absurd. I do feel bad for Duke, and the refs certainly missed multiple calls on that final play, but I wouldn’t say the Blue Devils got screwed as many have suggested.

There WERE other games

It’s a good thing there was the Miami-Duke craziness because the rest of the day was fairly ho-hum. That was somewhat expected with many of the Top 10 teams on a bye. Two teams that put a scare into their respective conference however were Clemson and Stanford. The Tigers were able to outpace the NC State Wolfpack 56-41 in a trap game. A letdown after the dominating effort against Miami last week would have been expected, particularly with Florida State on deck this week. This was one of those games you just hope to escape with a win. “Outpace” isn’t exactly the word I would use as far as Stanford is concerned. They appeared to be channeling their Week 1 offense, putting up only three points by halftime. In elements which you would have thought would benefit the Cardinal, they looked sluggish but were saved in the second half by Kevin Hogan’s running against Washington State. A loss from Stanford or Clemson would have been a devastating blow to the Pac-12 and ACC’s playoff chances. With the dearth of quality teams, both conferences an ill-afford to have their eventual champion suffer another loss.

That risk will not go away this week, at least for the ACC. As previously mentioned, the Clemson Tigers have a battle with Florida State this Saturday in a game that will be the Tigers biggest challenge by far the rest of the way. The Seminoles had an impressive victory last week, topping Syracuse 45-21 with both QB Everett Golson and star RB Dalvin Cook sidelines due to injuries. A Florida State win on Saturday would likely spell doom for the ACC’s playoff chances, and maybe Notre Dame’s as well.

Those Fighting Irish played in the only game between ranked teams last weekend. While most expected Notre Dame to win handily, Temple not only hung around but had a chance to win in the final minutes. The Irish should have a few easy weeks before closing the year at Stanford. It doesn’t seem Temple has gotten the notoriety as the other ranked teams from the American Conference (Houston and Memphis), but this game shows that they have as good a chance as any to claim the Group of 5 New Year’s Six bowl slot. Memphis had another easy win, pulling away in the second half against Tulane while Houston had a dominating performance in beating Vanderbilt 34-0. It’s gonna be a great match-up on November 14th to see Memphis QB Paxton Lynch go up against Houston’s secondary.

It was a relatively quiet week in the SEC with top two contenders Alabama and LSU off. They’ll battle in Tuscaloosa this Saturday in what will be one of the best match-ups between highly ranked teams. It also may be a playoff elimination game with great defenses and Heisman contending running backs. Where have you seen that before? Something you won’t see in that ‘Bama-LSU game is what we witnessed in Lubbock. The Oklahoma State Cowboys gave up 38 points in the first half to Texas Tech…and still won the game. The final score ended up being 70-53 as the Cowboys continue to light up the scoreboard on their way to victories. They sit at 8-0, but having yet to play TCU, Baylor, or Oklahoma, it’s hard to tell if they’re actually any good. They’ll get to chance to prove they are when they get the Horned Frogs at home this Saturday. That game will likely result in another shootout, but TCU’s defense may have a decent chance of stopping (slowing?) OSU’s offense enough to get out with a win. The Horned Frogs have been getting players back on defense and playing much better on that side of the ball. They’ve allowed just 31 points in their last two games and held West Virginia to just 10 this past week.

Will the Horned Frogs’ performance be enough to get them into the Top 4? The initial Playoff Committee Rankings will be revealed today and the Big 12 could start this year where the ended last year, on the outside looking in.

Top 4

Clemson

Baylor

Ohio State

TCU

What FSU’s Loss Means

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple days, you’ve probably seen the Seminoles’ blocked field goal attempt that Georgia Tech subsequently returned for a touchdown to give the Yellow Jackets the lead and win the game as time expired. At 6-1, the Seminoles are now ranked 17th, and trail Clemson by a game in the Atlantic division of the ACC.

I’m not here to talk about why the Seminoles lost, or what they could have done, or how bad their kick coverage was once the field goal got blocked, I’m just going to focus on what the loss means for Florida State going forward.

First and foremost, National Title hopes are most likely over for the ‘Noles. Of course there is always a chance for the Seminoles to go undefeated the rest of the way and slide into the fourth playoff spot, but based off of what we saw on Saturday night, going undefeated the rest of the season doesn’t seem very likely. Sure the Seminoles could defeat #3 Clemson in two weeks, but Clemson just defeated Miami 58-0, and Miami took the ‘Noles to the last drive of the game. Oh yea, and the Seminoles finish the season at #11 Florida. Florida State fans can still hold on to the glimmer of hope that remains, but all signs point to this loss forcing them out of the playoff picture.

Surprisingly the loss actually doesn’t do a whole lot to diminish ACC title hopes for the Seminoles. With only one loss, and due to the way the Atlantic division is shaping up, a win at Clemson would put the ‘Noles in the driver seat to win the Atlantic division and advance to the ACC Championship. Unfortunately Clemson might be the best team in the country and defeating them will be a very tall task for the ‘Noles. The result of the game against Clemson will either definitively end the Seminoles title chances, or catapult them back up the rankings.

Although Dalvin Cook’s Heisman chances were slim before the loss, this loss basically signals the end of those dreams for Cook. Realistically the only way that Cook could have won the Heisman was if the Noles went undefeated, finished with a higher ranking than LSU, and LSU’s Leonard Fournette would have to have had a slump at some point in the season. Alas, Florida State has lost, LSU hasn’t, and Cook didn’t have a “Cook-like” performance in the loss to Georgia Tech.

For Florida State fans, the loss was a brutal reminder that Everett Golson is not Jameis Winston. With Winston, Seminole fans had become accustomed to winning every game that they played in the past couple of seasons, having ridden one of the best college quarterbacks in recent history. The loss bring with it the realization that maybe expectations for this team were a little too high, assuming that a new quarterback would be able to jump in and bring the Seminoles to another playoff. It also served as a much needed reality check to Seminole fans that National Title runs are hard to come by and shouldn’t define the success of a season. In a vacuum, a team that loses the #1 overall draft pick to the NFL, has a new quarterback, and loses key players on defense forcing the team to rely on less-experiences players would most likely result in a few more losses. That’s exactly what is happening for the 2015-16 Seminoles.

The Seminoles will look to get back on track this weekend at home with Syracuse coming into town, before heading to Death Valley to take on #3 Clemson.

ACC WRAP UP 10/21

The rich got richer in the ACC this weekend, with a couple of teams pulling away from the pack in division races. The Atlantic division is the two horse race that everyone thought it would be between #6 Clemson and #9 Florida State, but the Coastal division is as wide open as it gets. Three teams sit at 5-1 atop the Coastal division being #23 Duke, #25 Pittsburgh and North Carolina, with Miami looking up at 4-2.

Here’s what else we learned in the ACC this weekend:

PITTSBURGH IS REAL

Qadree Ollison has rushed for 559 yards in replacement of the injured James Conner
Qadree Ollison has rushed for 559 yards in replacement of the injured James Conner

 This Pittsburgh team is doing exactly what they weren’t doing last season; finishing close games. Their game this past weekend against Georgia Tech is the perfect example. With 8:13 remaining in a tie game, the Panthers took seven minutes off the clock, and hit a 56-yard field goal that ended up being the game winner. Pittsburgh is now 4-1 in one score games this season. Pittsburgh has a well-rounded offense between QB Nathan Peterman, RB Qadree Ollison and WR Tyler Boyd, and also have the tenth ranked defense in the nation in yards allowed. It’s unclear exactly how good this team is since they haven’t had a very hard schedule to date, but that will quickly change as they face UNC, #11 Notre Dame and #23 Duke in the next month.

MARQUISE WILLIAMS HAS BEEN PLAYING GREAT

Since North Carolina’s loss the first game of the season, quarterback Marquise Williams has responded with a 14:3 touchdown to turnover ratio, leading the team to five straight victories. This is the way that Tarheel fans were hoping Williams would be able to play and is exactly what the Tarheels need if they want to win the Coastal division. Although they haven’t had a very tough schedule, it is still nice to see Williams clicking on all cylinders as they head into the defining part of their schedule. Williams will look to prove he can keep this play going when it really matters with divisional matchups in each of the next five weeks.

 GOLSON GETTING COMFORTABLE IN FSU OFFENSE

As Florida State’s season has progressed, QB Everett Golson has noticeably been getting more and more comfortable in the Seminole offense with every week. Since their bye week three weeks ago Golson has completed 71/102 passes for 865 yards, 5 TD’s and 0 interceptions. Of course, everything that the Noles do on offense is reliant on RB Dalvin Cook’s success, but that doesn’t change the fact that Golson has played very well. Despite looking a bit shaky in the beginning of the year at times, he still hasn’t turned the ball over all season and now is starting to develop trust in his teammates and vice-versa, allowing him to just go out there and control the game. With a dynamic running back in Cook, the Seminoles don’t need Golson to single-handily beat opponents, they just need him to do what he has been doing which is spread the ball around enough to make defenses respect the pass, and not turn the ball over.

GT HAS HAD THE HARDEST SCHEDULE IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Something that has been overlooked during Georgia Tech’s five game losing streak is the quality of their opponents. As the teams are currently ranked now, Georgia Tech’s past five games have been against #11 Notre Dame, #23 Duke, a 5-1 UNC team, #6 Clemson, and #25 Pittsburgh, with things not getting any easier as #9 FSU comes into town this weekend. Their schedule after this weekend gets much easier to round out the season, but unfortunately the Yellow Jacket’s season is beyond all repair, sitting at 2-5 for the season and 0-4 within the ACC.

 

Campus Pressbox 29: Notre Dame Mid-Season Update

Ben Belden (@BBeldenCLE) joins Damien Bowman (@damienbowman) to talk about Notre Dame. Ben questions some of Brian Kelly’s decision-making, but backs him on his decision to go for two against Clemson a few weeks ago. He speculate on how soon Urban Meyer can move to South Bend. Stanford, Kevin Hogan and Everett Golson also appear. Michigan Wolverines cameo included.

Topics:

  • Brian Kelly
  • Urban Meyer
  • Notre Dame vs. Clemson
  • Notre Dame 2015 Expectations
  • Notre Dame, TCU and Bayor – easiest path to the playoff?
  • Notre Dame vs. Stanford
  • Kevin Hogan
  • Everett Golson/Florida State
  • Notre Dame/Michigan Rivalry

Links:

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