Record: 6-1, 3-1
Florida State looked as good as advertised back in September against Clemson, playing full throttle in the second half to come away with the 49-37 victory in the first matchup between two ACC Top 10 teams since 2007. The spotlight shined brightly on the Seminoles and the ACC, as Florida State moved up to No. 3 in the rankings and quarterback EJ Manuel started getting some Heisman buzz. We all declared Florida State "back."
Then NC State came along. The Wolfpack, no strangers to pulling upsets on the Seminoles, had not played well leading up to that game. Florida State looked like a sure bet, especially after jumping out to a 16-0 halftime lead. But NC State wore Florida State down, and Mike Glennon took over in the fourth quarter and led a dramatic comeback victory. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher took a large amount of heat for his play calling down the stretch, but he later defended himself and his team.
The loss essentially derailed any hopes the Seminoles had of playing for a national championship. So where does this team stand? Well, it is no longer in control of its own destiny in the ACC, but all hope is not lost. Florida State responded with a blowout win over Boston College, and still has the No. 3 total defense in the nation.
Cornellius "Tank" Carradine has played extremely well in place of injured All-American Brandon Jenkins. He and Bjoern Werner have combined for 13.5 sacks, tops in the ACC. The Seminoles are running the ball better than they have in several seasons, with a resurgent Chris Thompson, easily the ACC's comeback player of the year. Manuel leads the ACC in pass efficiency and has had more good games than bad.
But for the Seminoles to meet preseason expectations, they are going to need to win out and have NC State lose. That may end up happening, but Florida State would have much preferred to be leading the charge.
Offensive MVP: Manuel. His best game came against Clemson, when he threw for 380 yards and two touchdowns, and completed 77 percent of his passes. So far this season, he has thrown for 1,804 yards and 14 touchdowns, well on his way to setting new career highs (2,666 yards and 18 touchdowns, set last season)
Defensive MVP: Werner. Heather gave him the nod as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and there is no argument here. Werner has been a dominating force, ranking No. 2 in the ACC with 6.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss.