It's only 9:30 but already Tallahassee is rocking in anticipation of tonight's top ten matchup between FSU and Clemson. If the Florida State Seminoles want to be taken seriously, if they want people to stop begrudging their share of TV coverage and national hype they have to win today. They probably need to win convincingly too.
For a couple years now that proverbial "are they back?" talk has surrounded the program. The athletes have gotten bigger, better, faster, the recruiting classes have been top notch. All that needs to follow is the results. It's not unlike the Hurricanes in the late 90's when they were "back" two or three times before finally rounding that corner in 2000.
The Seminoles have the athletes to make the run this season, if the College Gameday's turnout is any indication they will have a packed house, ready to rock come 8 PM. But the mental side of the game is going to be the most important part of this matchup for both teams.
More than anything, Florida State needs to prove it's grown up as a team from last year. Not that they were immature, but as Jimbo Fisher and staff have discussed all year, they didn't have the mental makeup of a championship team.
This year's group is different, it's older with senior leadership that has been in the system now under Fisher and co. for several years now. They know what's expected, they've been to battle and they've discussed all week how this year feels different and this time having the primetime game isn't such a novelty.
But now it's time to prove it.
Florida State has to back up the talk now. This could arguably be the most difficult test Florida State faces all season. The Seminoles not only need to pass this test but they have to do it with flying colors. They need to prove to the national voters that they are not all hype.
If they don't expect them to plummet and expect the national pendulum to swing from enthusiastic to disappointed. Expect articles from the Dodd's and Mandel's of the world about why FSU isn't ready for the national stage.
This game has major ramifications for Florida State, it could make or break their whole season. It's time to prove it for the 'Noles.
I'll have lots coming for you today, keep checking back every couple hours for on-going coverage and updates from Tallahassee.