Mandel: A Seminole slide?
I've touched on this subject a few times this summer (including in the post below this one). SI.com's Stewart Mandel has posted some thoughts similar to mine. Heeyah eees zee link.
Mandel responding to a reader question:
Adam, you're not going to like this, but I have this sneaking suspicion the 'Noles are on the verge of a Penn State-like crisis. No, nothing like the 3-9 or 4-7 type debacles the Nittany Lions have experienced -- we all know there's too much talent in Tallahassee for that -- but the kind of humbling season that will leave FSU with the same, ultra-touchy conundrum the folks in Happy Valley have been dealing with the past couple of years: How do you tell a living legend like Bobby Bowden that his ship has sailed?
With an opener against Miami -- whom the 'Noles have lost to six straight times -- and a trip to deceivingly tough Boston College two weeks later, it's not unrealistic to picture FSU starting (gasp!) 0-2 in the ACC. And with potentially tough road games against Virginia, Clemson and Florida later in the season, the 'Noles could very easily finish 7-4, or even 6-5 overall. Such a season would be a far cry from some of the sub-.500 debacles Penn State fans have experienced, but it's safe to say most FSU faithful would be all the more distraught. And while it's entirely possible that a 5-3 conference record might still be good enough to win the ACC's Atlantic Division, chances are someone -- be it N.C. State, Maryland, BC or Clemson -- is due to have a breakout season.
This is an assessment I agree with completely, and would obviously be a best-case situation for everyone in that division not named FSU. If the Noles do start the conference slate 0-2, 5-3 will very likely be good enough to win the division. Unless Maryland, BC or NC State--as Mandel mentions--has a breakout year. But with last year's ineptitudes still fresh in my mind, it's hard to imagine either State or UMD breaking out and cruising to a division title. And BC will be breaking in a new quarterback this year. More likely, we'll have a huge [fracas] involving most of the teams in the division as they all attempt to claim the division one incomplete pass at a time.