Orange Bowl 2013: Really NIU, FSU Doesn't Need Your Bravado for Motivation

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterDecember 28, 2012

On Thursday, for the first time since the somewhat controversial inclusion of the Northern Illinois Huskies, the Orange Bowl caught the eye of the nation. The game, which has been a bit of an "also ran" on the national stage, turned heads and raised eyebrows. While folks point to the bulletin board material as a call to arms for the Seminoles, they are forgetting that Florida State already had good reason to circle this game.

Steve Greenberg of the Sporting News dropped one of the first bombshells of the Orange Bowl season when he reported quotes from Jordan Lynch.


Jordan Lynch on FSU's defense: "They're fast. They're physical. But they haven't seen anything like our offense."

— Steve Greenberg (@SN_Greenberg) December 27, 2012


The quarterback went on to say even more about wearing down the 'Noles defense:


Jordan Lynch on FSU's defense: "We plan on wearing them down. In the fourth quarter, we plan to have them on their knees."

— Steve Greenberg (@SN_Greenberg) December 27, 2012


Good quotes, and certainly folks took notice. The same can be said for the later salvo lead by running back Giorgio Bowers, as Steve Gorten from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported:


Bowers: "Nobody’s been cutting him, nobody’s been going at him, and that’s what I’m going to do."

— Steve Gorten (@sgorten) December 27, 2012


Now, you can take this as a lot of folks have: The Huskies just gave Florida State the bulletin board. However, if you think the Seminoles needed this prodding to get focused on the game, then you have not been paying much attention.

You see, long before Lynch and Bowers opened their mouths and gassed up the college football world for a Smack Talk-O-Rama, the Seminoles needed a great showing in this game.

Between the restless natives starting to question Jimbo Fisher and guys looking to put good tape on film in their final collegiate appearance, Florida State had a reason to play its A-game going in.

Jimbo Fisher has truly revolutionized the Florida State program, bringing an archaic, dying on the vein former behemoth back into the 21st century. He got it a training table, updated its diet, got the strength and conditioning up to current standards, brought in a defense that was not rooted in a dead theory and plenty more.

That said, in three years at the helm, there has existed a sense of underachievement. Certainly, some of that was due to the inflated sense of what the program was; many people did not understand just how far they had to go to compete at a high level. On the other hand, with losses to NC State in two of three years, Wake Forest in year two and Virginia a year ago, something was most certainly amiss.

Throw in the pasting by the Gators this season, and folks were starting to question if Jimbo was truly "the guy" to get them back to where they want to be.

In other words, with Florida State back in its first BCS bowl in over a half decade, its head coach needs this win. He needs it badly. Independent of opponent, Jimbo Fisher has needed to win this major bowl game since the 2012 season kicked off in September.

Add to Fisher's need the slew of Seminoles looking at the NFL, and what you have is a game filled with players who need good showings. EJ Manuel had, to be kind, an up-and-down season that ended on a sour note; the senior went 32-54, to the tune of just 316 yards and a 1:4, touchdown-to-interception ratio in his final two contest.

Yet Manuel is not the only player that needs to show more good qualities on film, or better stated, that cannot afford to look disinterested or be bested by a perceived lesser opponent. Guys like Rodney Smith, a wide receiver who is hoping to drum up interest at the next level, needs a game where shows he can play every play and command the football.

On defense, the Seminoles are stocked to the brim with talented players who have a shot at the next level. Seniors like Nick Moody and Vince Williams need good showings to help stock, while the real key will be juniors who are debating the jump to the NFL. Bjeorn Werner, Christian Jones, Lamarcus Joyner and Xavier Rhodes, among others, could make that leap with a solid outing.

The Seminoles had a lot to play for before the Huskies ever opened their mouths. Now, thanks to Lynch and Bowers' bravado, the Seminoles have more than just their own fans and scouts' eyes upon them. Everyone is looking to see if they get embarrassed by the tough talking team from Dekalb.