Florida State's 51-14 demolition of Clemson Saturday night left two fanbases on the opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. For the Seminoles, it was pure jubilation at the conquest of a highly-rated conference opponent and the possibility of a national championship run. Over at Tomahawk Nation, they were reveling in the aftermath:
It wasn't supposed to be like this.
Florida State lost 11 players to the NFL draft. Clemson returned its dynamic quarterback and receiver duo.
Florida State had to replace seven coaches. Clemson returned its entire staff, including super offensive coordinator Chad Morris. And the Tigers were in their second year under new defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who had Clemson's defense playing much better.
The Tigers had beaten Georgia, and were hosting Florida State in Death Valley, a place where the Seminoles had not won since 2001.
And Florida State was bringing in a red-shirt freshman quarterback into perhaps the loudest venue in college football.
By the half, Death Valley was Dead Valley.
Tomahawk Nation editor Bud Elliott also had some advice for future FSU opponents: Don't bother blitzing Jameis Winston. It doesn't end well:
There are a number of reasons FSU's offense has been so good against extra rushers. I asked Jimbo Fisher about it tonight.
"Because they communicate," Fisher said when asked why his offense has been so good against the blitz. "We're very versatile, we do a lot of things with protection, our guys pick 'em up, they're able to scan and hit 'em, Jameis is able to manage 'em, know where to go with the ball when the blitz is coming and find the one-on-one because he puts the time in the film study."
Meanwhile, Clemson's own national title hopes came back to earth with a resounding thud. Shakin' the Southland is left to pick up the pieces:
Bottom line, Clemson was not prepared and has lost the ACC and the national title tonight. Its not "pulling a Clemson". We choked against a good team and lost the game. You can put that on Dabo Swinney or Chad or Venables or the players, but I don't know if this team is going to be able to run the table against the weak competition we face for the rest of this season.
The win gave Florida State, now 4-0 in ACC play, a significant advantage in the ACC Atlantic race to come. The Seminoles would have to lose two of their remaining four conference games in order to lose the division. With the conference's best team so easily dispatched, that appears unlikely.
The Seminoles face NC State next week, while Clemson travels to Maryland.