So, you want to know what happened. Why, exactly, has Florida State gone 7-6 the past two seasons?
Well, Drew Weatherford actually had an answer yesterday -- and no, he said, it's not for a lack of talent.
"I think we had an identity crisis at some point," Weatherford said. "I can't put my finger on when that was, but we got to the point where we were relying on being Florida State way more than we were relying on us getting the job done. We were walking onto the field and thinking because we had a spear on our helmet, because we were Florida State, because we had won two national championships, been in the top five 14 years in a row, that was enough. ... That's not what it's all about. Good teams have a lot of chemistry and a lot of intangible things that make great teams, championship teams."
That's a reasonable enough answer, but good teams also have consistent quarterback play and a running game that opens up the passing game, neither of which FSU has had the past two seasons.
Last year, FSU averaged 30 more rushing yards per game than it did in 2006 and the Seminoles were still eighth in the ACC in rushing offense with 127.5 yards per game. Weatherford has shown progress, cutting his interceptions from 11 in 2006 to just three last season -- the fewest of any quarterback in the league. But whether or not he keeps his job all season, let alone the first few games, is a question mark.
Is this the year Florida State makes its comeback? Probably not. They've got suspensions. They've got questions. They've got youth.
The good news? They've also got leadership. About eight weeks ago, a few players formed a group of mainly seniors to take ownership of the team, and act as a liaison between the players and the coaches.
One or two players from every position meet every Wednesday with a guest speaker who talks about everything from finances to sex, drugs, alcohol and health issues. On Thursdays, the group gets together again and makes a list of ideas or problems to take to coach Bobby Bowden. They now realize they have to make their own history, not live on the tradition of those who played before them.
"I know when I first got here in 2005, you look at the legacy that was built there, and sometimes you do get complacent," said defensive end Everette Brown "... You think I've got that spear on my helmet so when we go out there on the field, everybody is going to lay down and everything will fall into place. We've got the big stadium with all the trophies. Well, I'm a part of that. Well, you didn't earn any of that. You didn't play in that national championship game. You didn't play in the ACC championship. What are you going to do to build onto the legacy before you? We're all about now. We're taking one game at a time, not going to overlook anybody and go out there with a chip on our shoulder and prove to everybody that once again, we're Florida State."