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BCS Champions! Disrespected Florida State Ends SEC Streak in Dramatic Fashion

In Sports on January 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Florida State BCS Champions

Is it possible to be a double-digit favorite in the BCS Championship Game and also be disrespected?  In the case of the Florida State Seminoles, the answer is a resounding YES!

The instant classic that took place in last night’s final BCS Championship Game will be remembered years from now for the 80-yard drive that Jameis Winston orchestrated with just over a minute left to play. Winston, the Hesiman Trophy quarterback, showed why he is considered the best player in college football.  However, his off-the-field issues nearly derailed the Seminoles’ championship run.  While Winston is clearly the MVP of the team, he is merely one of the reasons that Florida State earned their first national championship since 1999.  He couldn’t have done it without the two game-changing plays that took place on special teams, or the defense that stiffened in the second half after struggling early on, or his offensive teammates for that matter.

Florida State was, quite simply, the best team in college football this year.  With the exception of the game against Boston College and last night’s BCS Championship Game, they dominated every opponent.  They went on the road and crushed Clemson when both teams were undefeated; the same Clemson team that defeated Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.  They destroyed Duke in the ACC Championship Game; the same Duke team that nearly defeated Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M in the Chic-Fil-A Bowl.

Despite Florida State’s dominance throughout the year, there was talk of voters leapfrogging Ohio State over them into the BCS Championship Game if the Buckeyes won the Big Ten and Winston was unavailable to play.  As insulting as that would have been, it would have been worse if, Florida State,  an undefeated major conference team, was leapfrogged by a one-loss SEC team because of strength of schedule and the perception that all SEC teams are superior to the rest of the country.

Last night proved what a terrible injustice it would have been to the players who earned the right to play for a national championship.  Maybe Florida State wouldn’t have won without Winston, but the rest of the team deserved the chance to find out.

Winston stepped up and played his best when it mattered most, and as the quarterback and leader of the team, he will get the lion’s share of the credit.  However, without the contributions from special teams and defense, he never would have been in position to take his team down the field to win the game.

Football, at every level, is the ultimate team game.  Individual players can make a huge difference, but they cannot win by themselves.

The praise that Winston is getting for his performance is well-deserved.  To his credit, he always makes it a point to praise his teammates and coaches for their contributions.

Time has a way of glossing over the little things in life, especially when it comes to major sporting events.  Winston’s game-winning drive will always be remembered by the masses, but Florida State fans won’t soon forget Jimbo Fisher’s gutsy, fake punt that turned the tide in the game.  Nor will they forget Levonte Whitfield’s 100-yard kickoff return, P.J. Williams’ interception, the touchdown dive by Chad Abrams or the dramatic game-winning catch by Kelvin Benjamin.

Few among us will miss the BCS when college football finally starts its 4-team playoff next season.  Thankfully, the BCS got this one right, and it was rewarded with a game for the ages that delighted all of the college football fans who had grown weary of SEC dominance.  The SEC may have their streak of BCS Championships, but Florida State will be the last ones to ever hoist the crystal football.  A deserving champion if ever there was one!

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