Blowout Loss a Learning Experience

Jimbo Fisher thought this would be a measuring stick game for Florida State. What he found out is that FSU is still a long way from being one of the nation's elite football teams. What do we think of FSU now? A big win over a cupcake Samford team … and then a humbling loss to a top-10 Oklahoma team.

The big picture is that Seminoles fans should keep things in perspective. Don't get too low. Don't worry about the polls. It's just September. There are still 10 games left in the regular season.

As stunning as Oklahoma's 47-17 win over FSU may appear, the Seminoles face BYU, Wake Forest and Virginia in the coming weeks. Fans may be despondent now, but the Seminoles have more talent than all three of those teams. FSU could be 4-1 going into the next showdown – at Miami on Oct. 9.

And FSU would be 2-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, a good jump on what really is the goal this season: winning the Atlantic Division and then playing for the conference title.

That may all sound crazy after what happened on Saturday, but it is the reality of the situation.

And the reality is this: FSU looked awful on Saturday. Looked bad on national television when it had a chance to elevate the program. But a loss to Oklahoma is a non-conference loss.

The much anticipated showdown in Norman, Okla., never developed after the opening quarter.

That first drive for FSU made it appear that the offenses would put on quite a show. The Seminoles' offense moved the ball, quarterback Christian Ponder had a spectacular run down to the goal line – punctuated by a nice stiff-arm on star Oklahoma end Jeremy Beal – and FSU tied the game up at 7.

It was all downhill from there. When was the last time FSU trailed by this many touchdowns at halftime? In what was supposed to be a showdown, FSU instead was staring down the barrel of one of its most lopsided losses in school history.

Oklahoma's Landry Jones looked like the second coming of Joe Montana, throwing for 380 yards and four touchdowns. He threw simple, short swing passes into the flat and put the ball in the hands of his playmakers. And then he threw downfield and FSU couldn't stop him either.

How quickly we forget that sophomore Greg Reid and redshirt freshman Xavier Rhodes now have just four starts between them. FSU's defensive line is at fault for not putting more pressure on Jones, but Reid and Rhodes will learn from Saturday.

Ponder looked impressive on the opening drive but appeared to be overwhelmed the rest of the way. There was a pass in to "quadruple" coverage. And enough poor reads to send him back to the film room. He too will learn from Saturday.

This was an Oklahoma defense that was shredded by Utah State a week ago. But Ponder, a Heisman Trophy candidate, had one of his worst days as a starter. Not that he cares, but CP7's Heisman stock took a dive.

It was a bad day all around for the ACC. Virginia Tech pulled a Michigan, losing to Football Championship Subdivision school James Madison. And, yes, the Hokies were playing on four days' rest after the loss to Boise State.

But the loss against James Madison brought to mind FSU's near defeat in 2009 under the same circumstances – after a loss to Miami on Labor Day, the Seminoles trailed in the final minute before coming back to beat Jacksonville State.

Georgia Tech was also a victim, on the road to Kansas. So was Miami at Ohio State.

The ACC certainly won't win any debates when fans gather around the water cooler to discuss the nation's top conferences.

But keep in mind that this is September. The season is two weeks old. As bad as FSU played on Saturday, it goes down as a nonconference loss.

FSU's goals in the ACC are still within reach.


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