As if things could not get worse for Florida State and first-year coach Mike Norvell, who is 2-5 as it is. Norvell has beaten COVID but not much more than if his first shot out of the box in Tallahassee.
But here comes Clemson to Doak Campbell Stadium, looking to wreak havoc in front of a mostly isolated Seminoles stadium and program, a shell of what it used to be, with the added bonus of Dabo Swinney and the No. 4 Tigers still licking their wounds after being toppled from No. 1 by an overtime loss at Notre Dame.
It’s the perfect storm for FSU, which might need to donate DNA samples for later identification. The Seminoles have lost their last five games to Clemson and have been outscored 124-24 the last two years, including a 59-10 debacle in Tallahassee in 2018 that, incredibly, was not as close as the score indicated.
In fact, the last time FSU beat Clemson was 204, when the Seminoles were defending national champions under Jimbo Fisher and in Jameis Winston’s last season before he jumped to the NFL as the top NFL Draft pick and then set about the work of setting the Bucs back for years.
It has largely been a death drop for FSU since then, one chronicled this week, and well, by ESPN, which theorized that there might not be any foreseeable end to this fall. Good theory.
Gone are the homespun days of nonstop winning of Bobby Bowden, two national titles, and those consecutive Top-5 finishes. Gone is Fisher, who was never happy no matter what and jumped to boundless riches at Texas A&M and now a No.5 ranking at Texas A&M. is Willie Taggart, who inside of two years drove the bus over the cliff, and now Norvell, who can’t even keep a healthy quarterback around.
James Blackmun had already opted out and is getting ready to transfer. The latest contestant, freshman Chubba Purdy, who made his first start against N.C. State is done for the year on his surgically repaired shoulder. FSU is down to two scholarship players at quarterback, a sophomore and freshman, for the final three games. Sophomore Joran Travis will likely get the nod against Clemson.
This should be a man-handling.
If you’re a Gator, this is one hell of a year not to have a game with FSU. Florida had won the last two seasons over FSU after dropping five in a row. But Dan Mullen was in full stride, ready to truly drop the hammer after beating Florida State soundly in his first two seasons. With the Gators No. 6, all signs point to a bloodletting. True, FSU upset North Carolina early this season, but a game with Florida and touchdown machine and Heisman contender Kyle Trask would be trouble at just the wrong time for the Seminoles, and they know it, and if they don’t, they should.
Remember when Florida State was the runaway train, and Florida was in the switchyard?
The hole is getting darker and deeper. There’s no way out, and there won’t be for a while.