For more than a week, the investigation of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston regarding an alleged sexual assault in December of 2012 has been at the epicenter of the college football world. In less than 10 days since TMZ broke the story last week, there have already been several twists in this Tallahassee tale.
For the purpose of this story, we won’t recount every single development, as they bear no importance here. The crux of this tale is whether or not Winston is charged with a crime. As of Friday afternoon, the state attorney’s office did not expect that decision to be reached until early next week or later, citing loose ends that need to be tied up.
With FSU sitting a No. 2 in the BCS rankings and in line to potentially win an ACC title and compete for a national championship, it goes without saying that this football team has a lot riding on that decision. Winston is their best player, and without him, the Seminoles would not be in this position, or likely be able to achieve the lofty goals still ahead of them.
But there’s another team’s fate also hanging in the balance – the Alabama Crimson Tide. Regardless of how the investigation plays out, it will be bad for the nation’s No. 1 team.
Why, you ask? It’s simple.
If charges are not filed, Winston will be allowed to finish out the season with Florida State, and Alabama will likely have to face the phenomenal freshman in the BCS title game. Assuming the Tide wins out, of course.
On the other hand, if Winston is charged, he will be automatically suspended from the team and possibly dismissed, depending on the subsequent trial and verdict. In that scenario, he would undoubtedly resurface on the college football landscape as the starting quarterback for the 2015 Auburn Tigers, which would play, you guessed it, Alabama at the end of that season.
He would join Cam Newton and Nick Marshall in the fraternity of talented youngsters who got themselves dismissed from a powerhouse Southern program only to get a second chance at Auburn and a shot at the Crimson Tide.
Controversy surrounded Newton his entire college career, starting with a laptop stolen from a Florida dorm room, to pay-for-play allegations swirling around Auburn during their 2010 BCS championship season, in which Newton orchestrated the greatest comeback in Iron Bowl history at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Marshall followed a similar path to the Plains. He was dismissed from Georgia in 2012 before following Newton’s path through junior college and back into the SEC at Auburn. He has an opportunity to derail Bama’s title run next weekend and put the Tigers in the SEC Championship game.
If that happens, this bad-kid-turned-reborn-Auburn-QB-who-comes-back-to-bite-Bama trend will be deemed a legitimate plague in Tuscaloosa, AL. Depending on what happens in the coming days, Winston could be the next superbug from across the state to afflict the Crimson Tide.
Either way, there’s no escaping this fundamental truth: Alabama’s and Winston’s fates are intertwined.