Two of the most prestigious programs in all of college football, meeting on
the gridiron in what some are calling the greatest opening game of all-time.
The storylines are endless.
The build-up is gigantic.
The winner will certainly be considered a lock to make it to the playoffs.
It’s easy to start playing hypotheticals and chalking up wins for every game
on the schedule after winning an opening game of this magnitude. But what is a
realistic outcome for the loser?
Let’s take a step back from all of the hoopla surrounding this game and
evaluate what a loss to the Crimson Tide would mean for the Seminoles.
Quite simply, the Noles would most likely have to win out in order to make it
back in the playoff picture. Losing to the best team in the country by a small margin
shouldn’t push FSU out of the top six or seven spots. This would set them up to
regain their lofty ranking if a higher ranked team should falter.
Given the difficulty of their schedule, there are situations in which FSU could
lose two games and still make the playoffs. More specifically, corralling the reigning
Heisman Trophy winner to beat Louisville, a win over rivals Miami and Florida, and
a statement victory in Death Valley over Clemson should be enough to prove to the
committee that this is a playoff-caliber team.
The good news for Noles’ fans is that Florida State should be favored in all of
those match-ups as three of those teams are breaking in a new quarterback and the
other game is a revenge game against Louisville at home.
One thing Florida State must avoid is losing by multiple touchdowns, much
like USC did to Alabama in last season’s opener. Alabama steamrolled the Trojans,
52-3, causing them to plummet out of the top 25. An opening loss like that could
destroy the team’s moral, and threaten the entire season. USC lost 2 of their next 3
games (both to ranked opponents) after getting their tails whipped by Alabama.
If the Noles were to lose this Labor Day weekend, Jimbo Fisher and staff will
have to make sure the team can put that loss behind them with the ACC still up for
grabs. Games of this magnitude have a tendency to suck the life out of a team after
losing because they’ve put so much time and effort in to preparing for this game. But good teams can bounce back. After last season’s rough start, USC fought their way back, becoming one of the hottest teams in the nation by the year’s end.
Florida State fans couldn’t have asked for a better time to play Alabama. If
FSU runs the table after losing opening weekend to the No. 1 team in the country,
one thing is for certain; they’ll be coming for revenge.