Since we have about three weeks until the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, here are some initial thoughts on the Florida State Seminoles. No, not expositions about Bobby Bowden's illustrious career, or that long run he had keeping FSU in the nation's top 5, or the speedy athletes mysteriously found in the south, or the hex some spurned field goal kicker must have put on Florida State's place kickers long, long ago. No, none of that (or at least not for now . . . ) just a quick look at the 2008 Noles.
8-4, 5-3 ACC. What's that mean? For one, they beat one decent non-conference opponent (Colorado, at home) and got the snot kicked out them when Florida visited Talahasee. Not too much shame there - the Gators would crush the Badgers, too. They feasted on Western Carolina and Chattanooga, and while outsiders might point to our close call with Cal Poly, I'd bet Cal Poly would feast on Western Carolina and Chattanooga, too.
So, 5-3 in the ACC. The ACC is a funny conference this season. Despite 80s and 90s powers, Miami, Florida State, and VaTech (not to mention consistently very good Boston College), the ACC just doesn't have a national title caliber team this year. What it does have, though, is a bunch of solid teams. A whole bunch. Ten of twelve are going bowling, and looking at their records against each other, every one of them is good one day, but suspect the next. The difference between 6-6 North Carolina State (PapaJohns.com Bowl), and 8-4 Virginia Tech (Orange Bowl) just isn't that big. FSU falls somewhere right in between (one Boston College loss from playing VaTech again in the ACC championship game).
The Noles even have a win over the aforementioned Orange Bowl-bound Hokies. Their three conference losses, not unlike the Badgers' five (good God, was it really 5!?!) conference losses are forgivable: Wake Forest (ok, that one sounds bad, but Wake is pretty good), Georgia Tech (who just beat pre-season #1 Georgia), and Boston College (loser of the ACC championship game). In addition to beating the Hokies, they had solid wins over Miami, Clemson, Maryland.
In short, Florida State is a solid, but not spectacular team. The Badgers will need a strong effort to beat them on what is basically their home turf.
More to come . . .