FSU won’t win ACC this year but do you realize how rare that is?


Florida State won’t be going to the ACC Championship game next month and that’s a real letdown for fans who have come to expect it. Take the long view on this thing, however, and recognize that nobody has dominated their conference in recent years like the Seminoles have.

Since joining the ACC in 1992, FSU has won or shared the league title 15 times. In the early years the Seminoles won or shared nine ACC titles in a row. Check out the following chart of the other Power Five conferences during the same time frame.


League       Most titles won since ‘92       Most consecutive since ‘92

SEC                           Florida (7)                                    Florida (4) 1993-96

Big Ten                    Ohio State (10)                            Ohio State (5) 2005-09

Pac 12                       USC, Oregon (9)                          USC (7) 2002-08

Big 12                       Oklahoma (7)                               Nebraska (4) 1992-95

(Note: Numbers reflect conference titles won or shared)


CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 07: (L-R) Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Florida State Seminoles talks to head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers before their game at Memorial Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CLEMSON, SC – NOVEMBER 07: (L-R) Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Florida State Seminoles talks to head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers before their game at Memorial Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Fifteen ACC titles for FSU in 22 years isn’t just a lot. It’s a ridiculous level of domination, the kind that wasn’t supposed to be possible after Miami and Virginia Tech joined the league in 2004.

If that doesn’t ease the pain for Seminole followers, maybe this will. Jimbo Fisher has used a ton of young players this year, tying for third nationally with 28 true freshmen or redshirt freshmen seeing game action. What’s more, he’ll be a recruiting monster for years to come. That means No. 1 Clemson won’t be getting a hammerlock on the ACC, and neither will anybody else when it comes to competing with FSU.

Hey, no winning streak lasts forever. Under Bobby Bowden and Jimbo, the Seminoles have always gotten all they’ve got coming to them and a whole bunch of what everybody else wishes they had.

Oh, by the way, FSU still has a chance to claim the unofficial state championship by beating Florida on Nov. 28. That’s never a bad thing, no matter how the rest of the season and the rest of the nation are going.

[Learning from the Heat’s Big Three and their ugly 9-8 start five years ago]

[Mike Leach interviewed for the UM job in 2006 and lobbied hard for it in 2010]

[Don’t sweat the small stuff with early College Football Playoff rankings, and it’s all small stuff]


Don’t sweat the small stuff with early CFP rankings, and it’s all small stuff

Don’t be shocked that half of the teams in the College Football Playoff’s top four already have a loss.

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 12: Head Coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after defeating the Oregon Ducks 42 to 20 in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX – Head Coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after defeating the Oregon Ducks 42 to 20 in the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Or that the Florida Gators and several other one-loss teams way out on the fringes of this discussion still think they have a shot.

Or that close calls against lame opponents don’t hurt a team in the rankings half as much as you would think.

[A Veterans Day story about Yogi Berra and D-Day]

[Mike Leach interviewed for UM job in 2006 and lobbied hard for it in 2010]

[Dan Campbell has luxury that Todd Bowles didn’t have as Dolphins’ interim coach]

Only four of the last 10 national champions finished unbeaten. It’s a fairly unrealistic expectation that any particular team would roll through a season without so much as a serious scare. That’s what makes this so fun, and why growing anxious over rankings with so many games to play is such a waste of energy.

Oh, by the way, eventual champion Ohio State was 7-1 and No. 14 in the CFP rankings at this same time last season.

The following chart shows the records and losses and significant close calls of recent champions. Bottom line, it ain’t over until it’s over.


Year   Champion          Record       Loss                       Close calls

2014   Ohio State         14-1           Va. Tech               2 OT’s at Penn State

2013   FSU                     14-0           None                     34-31 over Auburn

2012   Alabama             13-1           Texas A&M         By 4 over Tenn and Ga

2011   Alabama             12-1           LSU                       None

2010   Auburn               14-0           None                     28-27 over Bama

2009   Alabama             14-0           None                     12-10 over Tennessee

2008   Florida               13-1           Ole Miss                None

2007   LSU                     12-2           Ky, Ark                  28-24 over Florida

2006   Florida               13-1           Auburn                 By 1 over Tenn & SC

2005   Texas                 13-0           None                       25-22 over Ohio St.

Draft Demonstrates How Little Muschamp, Golden Achieved With Pro Prospects

Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden shakes hands with Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher after a game at Sun Life Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Miami’s Al Golden have some ground to make up on other big-time coaches like Urban Meyer and Mark Helfrich. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The first College Football Playoff showed us that Urban Meyer is the best coach in college football today, consistently getting the most from his talent. But the recent NFL Draft showed us that he’s going to be even more of a pain in the long term.

For all the attention given to Jimbo Fisher’s 39-3 record at FSU over the last three years, and it is well deserved, Meyer is 38-3 in his three seasons at Ohio State and likely would have gotten even more done if his opening 12-0 team in 2012 wasn’t on NCAA probation and ineligible for the postseason.

Wait, it gets worse with data from the draft.

Jimbo, a spectacular recruiter, led the nation with 11 players selected in the 2015 NFL draft. Included in that was the No. 1 overall pick, quarterback Jameis Winston.

Urban, on the other hand, got shut out altogether in the first round and had only five players drafted from his Buckeyes team. He was down to his third quarterback by the end of the season and won the national championship anyway.

Conclusion: Meyer already has piled up enormous depth and will continue to develop young players at a rate far beyond most coaches. This is cumulative Nick Saban stuff, but not even Alabama could do anything with Ohio State when they met in the national semifinals on New Year’s Day. No reason to think that Jim Harbaugh will be able to catch up to Urban in the Big Ten anytime soon either.

If any of this makes you cringe, better not read on. The NFL draft has some ugly stuff to say about Florida and Miami.

Here is a chart showing the total number of overall draft picks selected from some prominent schools over the last two years.

In the opinion of NFL personnel pros, Florida’s Will Muschamp had more potential professional-quality talent among his upperclassmen than Meyer did, yet still managed to go 11-13 in his last two seasons with the Gators. If anything, Jeremy Foley should have pulled the rug out from under Muschamp sooner.

Also, Miami is in a class with Ohio State and Oregon when it comes to potential pros on its roster. Problem is, those other two teams played in January’s National Championship Game.

Miami’s Al Golden, meanwhile, is losing steam with two minor bowl losses and a 6-7 record last year. Looks like Al is getting the minimum from his guys. Anything less than an ACC title game appearance in 2015 and he should be gone, too.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for an overachiever, it’s Mark Helfrich, who got an in-house promotion when Chip Kelly left Oregon for the NFL. Hasn’t done much wrong since, going 24-4 and doing it without the advantage of an abundant Florida recruiting harvest in his own backyard.

Would Florida have done better hiring Helfrich instead of Jim McElwain? Could be, but it’s a moot point. The Gators program has dipped to a point where a guy like Helfrich, supported by Phil Knight’s Nike money, is out of reach.