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R&R Q&A: Talking FSU With ScalpEm.com

October 28, 2010
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Bill, aka NoleCC, of ScalpEm.com (and his fancy hat)

I posted an interview with Andrew Carter of the Orlando Sentinel earlier this week, but certainly no pre-game lead-up would be complete without a bona fide R&R Q&A with a fellow ACC blogger.

This week’s blogger is Bill from ScalpEm.com. You can find his work at his site and also on Twitter at @ScalpEmOfficial. My answers to his questions, including a profession of my undying love for funnel cakes, can be found on his site here.

His answers to my questions follow:

1. Where is the level of FSU fan confidence at the moment? There was the shellacking at Oklahoma, the dominance over the next four games, then the five-point win against Boston College. Would “cautiously high” be an apt description?

According to the Jimbotron it’s hugely high, but those are just the folks that stop by the site. It doesn’t include a lot of the older fans that are still recovering from the thought of a post Bowden era. So yes, I think cautiously high can be applied to the fan base as a whole. Boston College, after the fact with an injured Ponder, doesn’t look bad. Oklahoma was a perfect storm. More than anything else, fans that are paying attention to Jimbo Fisher are starting to understand that the program was modernized over the summer and that the Noles are headed in the right direction. Another reason for optimism is that FSU is passing the “eye test” this year. For the last 5-7 years I’ve watched guys that looked smaller, slower and less physically fit on the field. Kudos to Vic Viloria this year; I no longer see a bunch of tired players in the 4th quarter that have cramping problems.

2. Christian Ponder says his bursa sac injury has helped improve his mechanics and actually made him a better quarterback heading into this game. Are you buying that? Do you think we’ll see more of the 2009 Ponder or the 2010 BC-game Ponder?

I don’t buy it one bit. If I have any worries headed into tonight, it’s that FSU will stick with an injured Ponder too long. It was brutally apparent in the stands that along with some poor decision making by Ponder and some odd play calling at times, CP7 couldn’t physically make the wide throw to the right against Boston College. I’m not a “put E.J. Manuel in” kind of guy, but I don’t want an injured Ponder in there either. Manuel is very capable and the first QB Jimbo Fisher recruited to FSU. As great as Ponder is, I think the ACC really needs to worry about FSU next year and the year after with E.J. at the helm.

3. In my interview with Andrew Carter of the Orlando Sentinel earlier this week, he stated Jimbo Fisher swears nothing changed following the Oklahoma game despite the complete 180 the team made, especially the defense. It almost seems too good to be true that a team can make such a radical improvement in such a short time by merely doing the same things. Is Jimbo giving all of us the “company line” or do you think there was a come-to-Jesus moment with the coaches and players where changes and challenges were made?

Without any insider knowledge, my guess is that there wasn’t a need for the come-to-Jesus moment. The changes occured last summer when Fisher took over the program fully. If anything I think that the Oklahoma game was the team buying into their own big win over Samford [too much]. Remember, in recent history the Noles didn’t beat down a team like Samford. So a big win over Samford, plus OU’s hurry up, basically doomed FSU on D. On the offensive side of the ball, the Noles got behind so far so fast I think they felt that they couldn’t run the ball. Taking the run away and shortening the game was FSU’s big hope headed into the game and it never had a chance to materialize. Again, I could be totally wrong about it, but it didn’t seem like the type of game where a big team hug/screaming match was needed after the game. Had they lost to BYU the following week, THEN maybe something like that would have occurred.

4. The forecast calls for the skies to clear up this afternoon, so we should be rain-free come kickoff. Vegas has FSU a 3.5-point road favorite with the over/under currently at 58 (for entertainment purposes only, kids). Assuming the weather clears tonight, are you expecting a shootout, a blowout, or a low-scoring defensive affair?

Based on my prediction, I’d take the under. My hope is that the FSU Defense can annoy Russell Wilson enough to disrupt the ‘Pack’s offense. If that happens I think FSU cruises to a win by 14 points. What I don’t see is a 10-7 game or a 45-42 game. Two good teams, that will score some and stop some is what I’m planning on seeing tonight. Then again whenever I pick that stuff, I’m generally wrong.

5. How do most FSU view N.C. State? We’ve had some great games between us ever since the late 90’s, and for all his woes, Chuck Amato–former FSU assistant–was able to win three games against the ‘Noles. State is tied with Clemson for the most victories against FSU among ACC members. So given all that, does this game carry any added significance to FSU fans every year? Certainly it’s not on par with the Florida or Miami games, but would any FSU fans go so far as to say State is a “rival?”

If you look at the FSU fanbase, I think the biggest problem continues to be ACC apathy. Seminoles fans talk a lot of SEC trash, they like to talk about how FSU is on par with SEC schools, etc. Outside of Miami, for many of the fans the ACC is an afterthought because you guys are all up there in the Carolinas. N.C. State is certainly above most of the ACC on the visibility scale though, because of Weinke’s horrific 6 INT game years ago, the tight games played when Rivers was your QB and of course the Amato tie in factor. I’m not sure about “rivalry” simply because the traveling ‘Pack fans have been pretty knowledgeable in my experience and fun to be around. If anything it’s a friendly rivalry.

Tonight might be a bit different, though. I’m not sure if the casual fan realizes what’s on the line for FSU with basically putting away the Atlantic Division with a victory. Not only would that be huge, but it would put FSU at 7-1 and amazingly relevant in November for the first time in years. I think it also helps with attendance at Doak Campbell stadium in November. A loss, while not devastating, just plays back into the fact that the Noles are still that inconsistent former power.
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2010 3:41 pm

    Good interview. Hate to call you out, but Chuck won 4 games against the Noles.

    • November 1, 2010 12:03 pm

      Yeah, I don’t know how I missed those back-to-back games in ’05 and ’06. I noticed that this weekend, as well.

      Keep up the good work over at your site, brother!

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