By the time the no. 3 Florida State Seminoles walked back into their locker room at halftime their game with NC State was -- for all intents and purposes -- over. It was probably done at the two-minute mark in the first quarter when the 'Noles had already reeled off 35 points in just 19 offensive plays.
But definitely by the half.
“They told us at halftime that we were done for the rest of the game," said LB Terrance Smith last night.
FSU's starting defense didn't take the field again and their offense saw just one more possession while Jimbo Fisher rested his team.
"We got up real big, real early," said WR Kelvin Benjamin. "So I feel like it was a big boss decision to take us out because we’ve got a big game next week and he really didn’t want any injuries to occur."
The totals for FSU's starters? 42 points and 436 yards on offense. Zero points and just 85 yards allowed on defense. The performance of FSU's first team -- even with a second quarter lull by the offense -- more than spoke for itself on Saturday.
The problem is the pollsters. Not just this weekend but moving forward.
There will be voters that didn't watch Saturday's game and may not even seek out a highlight of it. There will be voters who form their opinions entirely on the basis of a box score. And with FSU currently playing BCS musical chairs with Oregon and Alabama style points matter.
“That’s a lot of stuff we were talking about on the sideline," said senior LB Telvin Smith. "You know we were trying to get those younger guys more into it and pushing those guys because when people look at this game they’re not going to say the second team of the Florida State defense, they’re going to say the Florida State defense allowed 17 points, 300-something yards."
Added senior LB Christian Jones: “We were just talking about that -- some of the guys in the locker room -- we understand the coaches are trying to keep the starters healthy, I’m not saying they’re looking forward to the next game, but, you know.
"We’ve got some younger guys that can play as well but that’s just [the coaches'] decision to do so we just went with it. But whatever the box score comes out with we know how good we are, so we don’t really need them to tell us.”
FSU knows how good they are. So does anybody that's watched them. The problem is not everyone that's voting does watch them.
FSU's fate this year will not be entirely self determined. Even if they win out a scenario exists where they could find themselves on the outside of the title game looking in. Like it or not, Florida State needs the voters' affirmation.
“I don’t care. I’m not going to go out there and embarrass this game and the integrity of how you’ve got to play. If that’s the way they’re going to do it, then they need to reevaluate," said Jimbo Fisher.
“If they can’t tell that we dominated that game early and put it away -- if that’s the way it’s going to be, and I don’t know how they’ll do it -- I just think that’s bad for college football, in my opinion. I think it’s bad for the game.”
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