Florida State is going into this weekend’s matchup with Clemson as the number 4 team in the AP Poll. The Seminoles have looked unbeatable during the first three weeks of this still young season. Both the offense and defense have been totally unstoppable in 2012, so is it actually possible that Florida State was underrated in the preseason?
The short answer is no. The Seminoles were ranked seventh in the preseason. At the time some may have even considered them overrated. After all, they started last season as a top 5 team and promptly started the season with a 2-3 record. It also didn’t help FSU’s case that starting cornerback Greg Reid was kicked off the team due to a violation of team rules and the Seminoles lost star defense end Brandon Jenkins to a season ending injury.
Yet, the Seminoles now look untouchable. The same defense that has lost two starters, has given up a total of three points in three games. The Florida State defense is currently ranked as the best defense in the country. It is hard to argue with that considering that the defense shut out Wake Forest on Saturday. The Demon Deacons have been a thorn in the Seminoles side in recent history, winning four of the past six matchups before Saturday’s beat down.
The offense is not to be outdone by this defense either. FSU currently ranks second nationally in scoring, averaging 58.7 points per game. Quarterback E.J. Manuel has been solid in his first three games, throwing for 525 yards and six touchdowns, but the real story so far this season has been the running game.
The Seminoles are currently ranked 11th nationally in rushing, averaging 279 yards on the ground per game. In the Wake Forest game tail back Chris Thompson ran the ball nine times for 197 yards and two touchdowns. The fact that Florida State’s running game has been so successful has contributed to Manuel’s production in the passing game.
If the FSU offense and defense can continue to play like this, then there just might be a spot in the BCS National Championship game waiting for them come January. Hindsight is 20-20 but as of now it appears that the Seminoles were in fact underrated. However, Florida State must be wary of two teams on its schedule this season. The first is this weekend’s top 10 matchup with Clemson, and the other is on Thursday November 8th against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
If Florida State overlooks either of these opponents then this impressive start will all be for naught.