Florida State just lost to Florida 37-26 at Doak Campbell Stadium. The respect from the polls that they have been clamoring for as the potential ACC champion is not even close to being deserved.
By getting completely dominated by Florida's defense at home, the Seminoles are just proving that the likely ACC champion isn't even as good as the third-best team in the SEC. To be fair though, they probably wouldn't even be playing to be the best team in the ACC if they would have played Clemson at Death Valley.
FSU's out-of-Conference Slate Was the Weakest It Has Been in Years
Most teams from big-name BCS conferences have an out-of-conference schedule that will follow a simple pattern of biggest rival (if not in conference) or a BCS conference team, a pair of Sun Belt or WAC schools and then a Division I FCS school.
Florida State felt like it had to be special. While they subbed out one of the Sun Belt or WAC schools with South Florida from the Big East, they also subbed out the other one for a Division I FCS school.
Yes, that means FSU played two schools that go up against the likes of Southeastern Missouri State and Bethune-Cookman every year as their big games. What's even worse is that the teams FSU played—Murray State and Savannah State—weren't even good FCS teams.
They had a combined record of 6-16 this season. Even worse is that Savannah State lost to its FBS teams by a combined 139-0, and their only win came against a Division II-caliber Edward Waters College.
Loss Shows That FSU Never Played Good Competition till Florida
While playing teams like Savannah State and Murray State are great for the win column, they aren't even good for tuneups against teams like Florida or even Clemson. Even their ACC schedule wasn't great, playing Virginia Tech, Duke and Miami for their coastal opponents and losing to NC State while barely beating Clemson.
Florida State has proven that they just aren't a great team, and the fact their record is 10-2 doesn't mean that they deserve to be rated higher than a team like Clemson. Yes, that does mean they deserve a top-25 spot, but they don't deserve anything more than that based on their competition.
The ACC Doesn't Deserve a Top-5 Team This Season
While Florida State has been clamoring for respect in the polls, so has the entire ACC. The issue here is that FSU proved why Kenneth Massey left them out of his top 25 and Jeff Sagarin didn't even have them in his top 20 (h/t BCS Rankings at ESPN)—they lost to what was supposed to be an equal Florida team at home by 11 points.
The bigger issue is that their competition in the ACC title game (Georgia Tech) won their division with a 6-6 record and a 5-3 conference record. They won't even come close to being ranked. And the other team they could be playing in Clemson, they have already beaten.
However, if Clemson can turn out a win against South Carolina in Death Valley, they may be the true best team in the ACC, and the only one who deserves a top-10 ranking.
But Florida State doesn't deserve any respect in the polls for its weak schedule and should be in the 15-20 range, even if it is the ACC champion with an 11-2 record when all is said and done.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL draft website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.