TALLAHASSEE — Some Florida State players, still searching for answers to explain their underwhelming performance last week, opined that maybe they were more focused on another game.
No. Not this Saturday's ACC finale at Maryland.
No. Not the annual showdown against Florida on Nov. 29.
The one that had happened earlier in the day Saturday in Raleigh, N.C., between North Carolina State and Wake Forest. The Wolfpack's upset meant that the Seminoles had regained control of their fate in the Atlantic Division. All they had to do was beat Boston College, then Maryland and they would be in Tampa on Dec. 6 for the ACC Championship Game.
"It was in our hands and, I don't know; I don't know if we were too worried about Wake Forest and when Wake lost, we (thought) we could take a breath," LB Dekoda Watson said.
If he and his teammates did, it turned into a gasp.
BC won 27-17.
"That, to me, as much as anything, shows our youth and inexperience about who we are and where we are as a program right now," offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said of players' reacting to the scoreboard. "We want to win championships. And we're capable, but we're capable if we take care of what we do.
"You have to understand, when you win a championship, it's about the little things; you control what you can control. It shouldn't matter what the other guy does. … I don't know if it was a problem, but I heard some guys say that, and it caught me. Controlling your own destiny means play and don't worry about the score of another game, because if you don't take care of your own business it doesn't matter what anybody else does. We won't win championships until we understand that."
Defending a flag: Defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews defended senior LB Derek Nicholson, who drew a personal-foul penalty after FSU had stopped Boston College on third and 1 at its 41 midway through the fourth quarter. BC kept the ball for another 11 plays and ended its 8:55 drive with a sealing field goal.
"The center was tackling; he wasn't just holding, he was tackling our linebacker, and our linebacker reached down there and pushed on him," Andrews said. "He didn't hit him, he pushed on him. He (the official) can see that, but he can't see a guy tackling him. I think part of it was to keep his balance because the guy was pulling him down."
But he added that the players, regardless of what's going on, must be "a little bit more disciplined and a little bit more determined."
No way to celebrate? Few could believe that senior S Darius McClure injured himself Saturday when he bumped chests with a teammate to celebrate his first career interception. But he landed awkwardly and tore cartilage in his left knee.
"They do it all the time and all over the country; it's just kind of a thing right now," coach Bobby Bowden said. "I'm sure it's instigated by the officials saying they don't want any celebrating (alone)."
Bowden is not about to tell his players to stop the display.
"I'd hate to cut that enthusiasm out. I'll take my chance on injury," he said.
Back in Black: FSU is 1-2 wearing its specially designed black uniforms, with both losses coming to Boston College in Tallahassee. (FSU beat Duke last year in those uniforms.) Here's an unsolicited fashion tip for the future: If you must break out those uniforms next year, do so for, say, Maine.
Alumni news: Former LB Derrick Brooks and QB Danny Kanell, who received National Football Foundation scholar-athlete awards (1994 and 1995, respectively), have become members of the upstart NFF Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association.
Brian Landman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3347.