Well go ahead and cross Florida State off the list of national title contenders. The Seminoles should expect to plummet down the rankings. At best they can hope that other top teams losing will cushion their fall a little and they'll stay in the top 12, at worst they'll be in the back end of the teens or even high 20's.
After playing a poor first half offensively, the Seminoles came out and laid an egg in the second half. As in zero points, 120 total yards and very little sense of purpose.
I wouldn't expect great turnout at Doak Campbell the next time Florida State comes home, reading the rapid reaction on twitter and across the internet, this is the kind of loss that's going to send a large contingent of the fanbase for the exits. After a decade of mediocrity, a mistake-filled second half of action against an overmatched NC State team is not going to engender a ton of good will from some fans.
Others will stick by their team, but either way expect the national media to turn sharply against Florida State for failing to live up to the "we're back" hype.
In the same day UF downed a top-4 LSU team and announced they were back to the country, the Seminoles fell in the night cap and the writing is on the wall once again that they are not.
This Florida State team is still extremely talented, there is no lack of ability on both sides of the ball, but their national title hopes are done and an ACC Championship and Orange Bowl berth is likely going to be a best case scenario.
Looking at the game, before even delving into the stats it comes down to two plays. Two key plays.
Well before that, Florida State should have never let it be this close, so ignoring the obvious fact that the Seminoles let NC State hang around and make it a game, they also let it come down to two huge key plays. The first came with about ten minutes left in the fourth quarter when EJ Manuel spun backwards and took a 15-yard sack to knock Florida State out of field goal range. Jimbo Fisher got conservative, opted to punt instead of attempt a 52-yard field goal, and instead of potentially going up 19-10, instead the game stayed within six points.
The second, was the second blocked punt in as many weeks. This time it was only partial, but the difference was probably about 35-40 yards. Instead NC State took over in Florida State territory with just enough time to score. Jimbo Fisher said this week you lose 80% of the games you have a punt blocked against you. The 'Noles dodged a bullet last week, this week the odds caught them.
Either way, this is a devastating loss to the Florida State program as a whole. Without a ton of marquee games to right the ship, with Virginia Tech and Miami losing today and with UF facing a tough road, FSU could end up as a one-loss team and barely crack the title conversation again.
If UF can win out and FSU can follow suit, an end of season matchup between an unbeaten UF and a one-loss FSU team could give Florida State a shot. But frankly, that's unlikely.
Odds are the lights went out on Florida State's national title hopes this evening.