I know it's hard out there being a Florida State fan. Playing in a conference that is beneath you, wanting more of the cut than everyone else despite the ACC's commitment to sharing everything, making memories, and being friends.
And yet, the Noles want more. They're jealous of their brothers in Gainesville for having it all. They make themselves feel better by finding ways to make fun of their other brothers in Miami. It's a great family dynamic.
For now. Almost a year after the FSU-to-the Big 12 rumors that started the #goacc movement in the first place, the grant of media rights deal is bringing calm to a conference that is unrecognizable as the ACC of old.
Florida State president Eric Barron seems pleased. But Florida State fans aren't. So it's not surprising to see the folks in Tallahassee questioning what exactly the grant of rights does for Florida State other than ensnare them even further. Why couldn't they be in the Big 12? Why hasn't the SEC come calling? Why aren't they given more respect by commissioner John Swofford?
Fans point to conspiracies, but it might be a little simpler than that. While game show contestants get lovely parting gifts, maybe the Seminoles got some lovely staying gifts. Here is what each of the ACC teams gave to the cause, I'm pretty sure:
- Clemson provided Florida State with a slightly used Tommy Bowden. It is out of its original packaging, but it is still good, they swear.
- Syracuse promised never to let Jim Boeheim come to the Christmas party ever again after he spent two hours talking about the situations in Darfur and Raleigh.
- Duke donated the rights to their planned Gothic Wonderland theme park. It just makes more sense to be in Florida anyway.
- Maryland just drove off in a cloud of Old Bay, blasting "Turtle Power" in their Honda Civic CRX.
- UNC offered to give about 1,000 BLT sandwiches from Merritt's.
- N.C. State said they'd let Florida State have Russell Wilson next time.
- Wake Forest sent every carton of Winstons made in 2013 because they remembered how much Jimbo loves them.
- Virginia shipped a first-press vinyl copy of Under The Table and Dreaming, the official album of Charlottesville.
- Georgia Tech didn't send anything. Paul Johnson doesn't believe in charity.
- Miami will shoot theirs over as soon as they get off probation in 2068.
- Virginia Tech's present was intercepted by the federal government after the robots became self-aware and broke out of the wrapping paper.
- Boston College mailed a $50 Applebee's gift card.
- Notre Dame was going to send a gift, but you said no gifts, and they're new to this and don't really understand how the ACC works yet.
- Pittsburgh sent Spilly.
- Louisville let Florida State try two million free Doritos Locos Double Down Cheesy Papa's Favorite Pot Pie Pizzas®.
And the league as a whole agreed not to spoil the last season of Breaking Bad for Bobby Bowden. We all know you're still catching up, and we would hate for anyone to spoil that for you. We just want you to be happy.
But Florida State fans are never happy. They're trapped in their Samuel Beckett play of an existence somewhere between those trash cans from Endgame, the urns from Play, or the buried earth of Happy Days. Beckett writes in Endgame there is "nothing funnier than unhappiness," and I think that's honestly why I've been so interested in Florida State for the past year, even more than my alma matter, which is less unhappy and more tragically apathetic.
Florida State craves national attention. When they get it, their expectations rise, and when they don't win a title, their fans are upset. So the national pundits put them a tier below Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, and even Oregon and Texas. Then FSU fans are upset again. The Noles are constantly undergoing an identity crisis that consumes them more than it did Kafka. It's cyclical. It's undeniably existential. And it's incredibly entertaining.
Just know the ACC loves you Florida State, even if you don't think love exists at all.