‘Noles are ACC Champs!!!

For the first time in school history, the Florida State Seminoles are Atlantic Coast Conference champions. The Seminoles joined the ACC in 1992 and had only reached the ACC Championship once (2009) prior to this season but fell short in that game. However, following 12 conference victories in the regular season, the ‘Noles remained hot in the ACC tournament. Victories over a tough Miami team and the #6 ranked Blue Devils led to a matchup with #4 North Carolina in the championship and the ‘Noles prevailed with an 85-82 victory.

It was a team effort for Florida State as four players scored in double figures and another three players had 9-points. Snaer (18 points) and Dulkys (16 points) led all Florida State scorers while Loucks and Miller each scored 10 poiints. Bernard James had a total of 5 blocked shots and 6 rebounds in addition to his 9 points.

As a team, Florida State shot 59% from the field, 50% from beyond the arc and 73% from free-throw range. However, the 15 turnovers made by the ‘Noles compared to 7 made by the Tar Heels kept UNC in the ballgame unlike the previous matchup in January.

The Seminoles have a very impressive tournament resume to show off to the selection committee and will definitely receive a very good seed in the tournament. Florida State has now defeated both North Carolina (likely #1 seed in NCAA) and Duke (likely #2 seed in NCAA) twice this season for the first time ever. The official NCAA bracket will be released around 6pm tonight and the ‘Noles should be expecting a #4 seed in the tournament. However, there is a slim chance for a #3 seed but I’d go ahead and bank on a #4 seed for the garnet and gold. Congratulations to the Florida State Seminoles, 2011-2012 ACC Champions!

‘Noles advance to semi-finals

The final four in the ACC is now set: North Carolina, NC State, Duke and Florida State have all advanced to the ACC semi-finals. UNC and NC State will play at 1pm and Duke-FSU will begin around 3:30pm, following the end of the 1pm game. The Seminoles led nearly the entire game and managed to hold off Miami 82-71 to advance to the next round and eliminate the ‘Canes.

Not only did the defeat knock the Hurricanes out of the ACC tournament, but it likely also eliminated Miami from an NCAA tournament bid. Michael Snaer led all scorers with 20 points, Ian Miller had 18, Loucks and James each had 14 while Okaro White scored 11.

The Seminoles shot 48% from the floor, 56% from 3-point range and 78% from the free-throw line. Despite the pretty good shooting by the ‘Noles, Miami managed to keep the game within 10 points almost the entire time but couldn’t manage to take the lead. Florida State had 11 turnovers while the Hurricanes had 12. Next up will be a rubbermatch with the Duke Blue Devils.

ACC Tournament Bracket Set

All games will be played at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia

Thursday

  • Noon: #8 Maryland vs. #9 Wake Forest
  • 2pm: #5 NC State vs. #12 Boston College
  • 7pm: #7 Clemson vs. #10 Virginia Tech
  • 9pm: #6 Miami vs. #11 Georgia Tech

Friday

  • Noon: #1 North Carolina vs. Maryland/Wake Forest winner
  • 2pm: #4 Virginia vs. NC State/Boston College winner
  • 7pm: #2 Duke vs. Clemson/Virginia Tech winner
  • 9pm: #3 Florida State vs. Miami/Georgia Tech winner

Saturday

  • 1pm: ACC Semifinal #1
  • 3pm: ACC Semifinal #2

Sunday

  • 1pm: ACC Championship Game

 

The ‘Noles held on to defeat Clemson 80-72 Sunday afternoon on senior day to finish the season with a 12-4 record in the ACC, which is good enough for a #3 seed in the ACC tournament. The Seminoles will play in the quarterfinals Friday night against the winner of the Miami-Georgia Tech game. In the most likely scenario, Florida State will have to beat Miami, Duke and North Carolina on three consecutive days to win their first ever ACC title. However, Leornard Hamilton and his team better not be looking ahead to any game beyond Friday night if they want to avoid being one-and-done like last season.

 

Clutch ‘Noles Do It Again. FSU Wins 63-60

Thursday night’s battle with Virginia was a key game for Florida State. The ‘Noles were on a two game losing streak for the first time in over a month and had to travel on the road against a tough UVA team. The teams that do the best in the NCAA tournament aren’t always the team with the best records, it’s usually the teams that are playing the hottest when the tournament begins. The Seminoles needed to end their losing streak and regain the momentum they had during their streak of 10 wins over an 11 game period.

The ‘Noles started the game strong and jimped out to a 29-20 halftime lead over the Cavs. However, Virginia finally got hot and made a strong comeback to take the lead. Eventually, Virginia was up by 8 points with under 6-minutes to play when Bernard James was charged with a flagrant-2 foul for kicking a Virginia player while both players were on the ground. The foul led to an automatic ejection and sent UVA to the free-throw line.

Next, Okaro White committed his 5th foul of the game and was forced to leave the floor as well. The ‘Noles were withut James and While, down by 11 points with just over 4 minutes left of the game. The game now seemed to be getting out of hand and the ‘Noles were about to witness their third-consecutive defeat. Even the ESPN commentators were handing UVA the game and calling it quits. Then the comeback began.

Led by Michael Snaer, Ian Miller and Dulkys, the ‘Noles began hitting shot after shot. Suddenly the ‘Noles tie the game up at 60-60 with less than a minute remaining. Virginia was 17-0 when scoring 60 points in a game and FSU was 17-0 when leading at halftime. One of those streaks had to give in the final 50 seconds of the game.

A UVA turnover with 35 seconds remaining in the game gave the Seminoles the final possession of the game. Most people, including the commentators, were expecting Snaer to take the final shot like he did against Duke and Virginia Tech. However, this time it was Ian Miller. With a defender in his face, Miller shot a fade-away three pointer over the hands of the defender and drilled it. The ‘Noles were up 63-60 with less than one second remaining in the game and secured their 11th ACC win of the season.

ACC Standings:

  • Duke 13-2
  • UNC 13-2
  • FSU 11-4
  • Virginia 8-7
  • Miami 8-7
  • NC State 8-7
  • Clemson 8-7
  • Maryland 6-9
  • Virginia Tech 4-11
  • Wake Forest 4-11
  • Boston College 4-11
  • Georgia Tech 3-12

Florida State clinches #3 ACC seed

For the third consecutive year, the Seminoles will hold the #3 seed in the ACC tournament. The good news is that each of the top 4 seeds in the tournament receive a bye and won’t begin play until the quarterfinals. As the number 3 seed, the ‘Noles will face the winner of the #6 and #11 game, which at this point will be NC State/Miami vs. BC/Wake Forest/VT. Chances are the ‘Noles will face the #6 seed in the quarterfinals and that didn’t work to well for Florida State last season when they lost to the 6th seeded Hokies. The Seminoles have never won the ACC tournament although they certainly have the capability of doing so after defeating both Duke and UNC this season. All of the ACC seeding will become official after the season finale on Sunday. Check back at that time for a full rundown of the 2012 ACC tournament in Atlanta, Georgia.

2012 Florida State Football Schedule Released

  • September 1st: Murray State
  • September 8th: Savannah State
  • September 15th: Wake Forest
  • September 22nd: Clemson
  • September 29th: @ USF
  • October 6th: @ NC State
  • October 13th: Boston College
  • October 20th: @ Miami
  • October 27th: Duke
  • November 3rd: Bye Week
  • November 8th (THURSDAY): @ Virginia Tech
  • November 17th: @ Maryland
  • November 24th: Florida

Thank you ACC, you did a fantastic job creating the 2012 Florida State football schedule. The 12-game schedule is about as good of a schedule as the ‘Noles could have asked for given the predetermined matchups. Here;s a break down of the pros and cons to the 2012 schedule.

Pros:

  1. Florida State will have a very easy schedule leading up to the most important game of the season against Clemson. Yes, this game will be more important than the Florida, Miami, USF and Virginia Tech games as it will likely decide the Atlantic Division champion. Two FCS opponents and Wake Forest to start the season should allow the ‘Noles to get rid of any rust from the offseason while maintaining a healthy lineup.
  2. Miami game is in between Boston College and Duke. Yes, Miami will be pretty bad next season after losing a ton of talent from the 2011 squad. However, it is still a rivalry game and will be played in Miami so having it played in between games against two of the worst ACC teams  is a good thing for Florida State.
  3. Florida State essentially has two bye weeks prior to the crucial Virginia Tech Thursday night showdown. Not only did the ACC give FSU the week off prior to the VT game, but the prior game will be in Tallahassee against a weak Duke team. This is much better than traveling to Boston College on a 4-day rest like last season.
  4. Limited time away from Florida. Florida State will have 7 home games in 2012. And among the 5 road games, 2 of them will be played in Florida (@ USF and @ Miami). Also, only once during the 2012 season will the ‘Noles have back-to-back games out of the state of Florida.

Cons:

  1. Back-to-back road games following a high-energy Clemson game. As stated earlier, the matchup against Clemson is the most important game of the season. However, following that game, FSU will travel to Tampa to gain revenge on USF. Teams are highly prone to letdowns following an emotional win or loss and USF is a team that can take advantage of this. Then following the USF game, FSU must travel to play an improved NC State team in a tough environment.
  2. Playing in Blacksburg, Virginia on a Thursday night. Yes, the ‘Noles will benefit from plenty of rest and prep time prior to traveling to Virginia Tech. However, it is difficult to find a more difficult stadium to play in on a Thursday night than Lane Stadium.

The ‘Noles should be favored in almost every single game of the regular season. Depending on how well the Hokies are playing, the ‘Noles might be the underdogs in that matchup given the time and location of the game. Clemson and Florida both must travel to Tallahassee, making the ‘Noles the likely favorites in each of those games. The ACC didn’t screw the Seminoles over as they did last season. Each of the tougher games in 2012 are spread out pretty well for the most part unlike the Oklahoma and Clemson games in 2011.

Another benefit is having West Virginia off the schedule. Although many FSU fans would have loved to watch that game in Tally on September 8th, having Savannah State on the schedule instead will help the ‘Noles remain healthy prior to the start of the ACC season as well as make the road to an undefeated season more possible. If WVU didn’t back out, FSU would be facing two teams they lost to last season (WF and Clemson) in between West Virginia and USF. That would be a tough way to begin the season. Thankfully we can all feel at ease as the 2012 schedule is definitely in Florida State’s favor.

 

Savannah State joins the Florida State 2012 schedule

The search for a replacement for West Virginia is finally over as a matchup with Savannah State on September 8th has been announced. Savannah State is a division 1-AA opponent and will be the second D1-AA school on the Florida State schedule. That means the ‘Noles must win 7 games to become bowl eligible instead of the usual 6 games. However, given the talent and expectations of this team, becoming bowl eligible isn’t much of a concern.

There seems to be a bit of backlash from fans resulting from Florida State’s decision to play Savannah State next season. However, I don’t think that type of backlash is warranted given the situation the ‘Noles were in. Due to the fact that West Virginia waitied until the last moment to back out of the game with FSU next season, most BCS schools already had their 2012 schedules completely set by the time the ‘Noles began searching for an opponent.

As for those BCS schools who did have a week available for the ‘Noles, there was another issue that existed. Florida State didn’t want to play another non-conference game on the road. Currently, the 2013 matchup at West Virginia is still in place (although I highly doubt this game will be played either). Also, the ACC will be moving to a 9-game conference schedule beginning as early as the 2013 season once Pittsburgh and Syracuse officially join the conference. Once that happens, there will be seasons when FSU is forced to play 5 road ACC games. Add to that the fact Florida State will be playing at Florida in 2013 and you see why Florida State can’t afford to play another game on the road in 2013.

There are three ways around playing another non-conference road game in 2013:

  1. Find a D1-A opponent that’ll travel to Tallahassee in 2012 and not receive a return trip. This is what Florida State was trying to do when they reached out teams. However, none of the D1-A schools would bite on the offer and who could blame them? Why would a school want to travel to Tallahassee and not have a return trip from the ‘Noles? Schools like Boise State and Oklahoma were among those who declined the offer.
  2. Have the home-and-home series be played on the road in 2012 and in Tallahassee in 2013. The reason why Florida State didn’t want to do this is because losing the West Virginia game is already expected to cost Florida State up to $2 million in ticket sales. Plus, scheduling a road game will hurt the local economy that relies on Florida State home games as a benefitial boost. Hosting a game against a D1-AA will at least generate some ticket sales and help the local economy more than a road game. Even if only 70,000 fans attend the game, it’ll still bring in nearly $3 million in ticket sales.
  3. The third and final option is what Florida State was forced to go with: host a D1-AA school in Tallahassee in place of West Virginia. With all the D1-A options gone, Florida State had to make the move of scheduling a second D1-AA opponent and that’s when they found Savannah State.

Given the situation Florida State was in, the ‘Noles did the second best thing they could have done. I believe scheduling a weak D1-A program such as Louisiana-Monroe or Akron would have been the best option, but the ‘Noles weren’t able to find an available team willing to play.

Scheduling Savannah State was still smarter than scheduling an Oklahoma or West Virginia caliber team.If you don’t believe me, take a look at what happened last season. The game against Oklahoma virtually cost Florida State a shot at the national title as well as a shot at the ACC championship all in one weel. The entire Florida State offense took a major beating against Oklahoma that ended up costing the team against Clemson and Wake Forest.

However, a team like Virginia Tech played Appalachian State, East Carolina, Arkansas State and Marshall for it’s non-conference schedule. Despite losing to Clemson twice in 2011, the Hokies still managed to receive a BCS at-large bid despite the weak schedule. The current BCS formula simply does not reward tough scheduling. Voters seem to only care about wins and losses rather than strength of schedule.

Here’s a great example of how strength of schedule has been meaningless in deciding the BCS national championship matchup. Among the teams that were ranked 3rd in the BCS standings heading into bowl season, TCU in 2010 is the only team that had a worse SOS than the team ranked 2nd.

  • 2007: #3 Virginia Tech SOS: 39th (2nd place SOS: 40th)
  • 2008: #3 Texas SOS: 6th (2nd place SOS: 20th)
  • 2009: #3 Cincy SOS: 46th (2nd place SOS: 47th)
  • 2011: #3 Oklahoma State SOS:4th (2nd place SOS: 16th)

There remains some fear in fans that if FSU were to go undefeated, they could be passed up in the national championship by two other undefeated teams. Since 2002, there has only been two seasons when three BCS teams have gone undefeated in the same season. It happened in 2004 when undefeated Auburn failed to make the national championship game and in 2009 when undefeated Cincinnati missed out on the national championship (and it was already pointed out the Cincy had a tougher SOS than the #2 ranked team).

So having Savannah State replace West Virginia on the 2012 schedule should not make reaching a national title game anymore difficult for the ‘Noles. The biggest nagatives in the schedule change are money and excitment, two things West Virginia would have brought with it when it came to Tallahassee.