TALLAHASSEE — Coach Bobby Bowden wasn't Sunday morning-quarterbacking himself.
Maybe opening with a pair of Division I-AA teams didn't fully prepare his young team for a top-shelf I-A opponent like Wake Forest, and yes, folks, Wake is a top team at least in the ACC. But Bowden wouldn't have done it differently.
The suspension of so many key players, 10 due to the academic misconduct scandal alone, was part of the reason for FSU's uncharacteristically soft early schedule, but several other teams (West Virginia and Akron) balked at its overtures.
"It would have been nice (to play a tougher opponent), but I feel like from the first two games, we got what we needed and that was a chance to execute and see who could do this and see who could do that," Bowden said Sunday morning, after a 12-3 loss in Tallahassee to the Demon Deacons. "We showed our potential."
But the Seminoles, who dropped out of the Top 25, needed to show more than potential against Wake Forest and didn't.
"That's a good point, do you wish you could have played tougher people?" he said. "We might have done better (Saturday), but we might have lost to them, too."
So that leaves the Seminoles (2-1, 0-1 ACC) needing to turn potential into performance against Colorado (3-0) in Jacksonville on Saturday. It shouldn't hurt that seven players will be back from suspension for their part in the academic scandal, including LB Dekoda Watson, CB Patrick Robinson, DLs Paul Griffin, Justin Mincey and Neefy Moffett and TE Caz Piurowski. At least four are expected to start.
Just wondering about Drew … : Though his inexperienced QBs struggled, offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said he didn't think about putting in redshirt senior Drew Weatherford. He didn't think it would be fair to put him in the crosshairs when he hadn't been getting nearly as many reps in practice.
A leg up: Though he had been out since knee surgery on Aug. 22, senior Graham Gano hit a 37-yard field goal and just missed a 52-yarder in his first two attempts as a collegiate player. "He wanted to take shots and that suits me; it got him over that mental block," Bowden said. "Last week he didn't want to kick it hard."
Back in second: With the loss and Penn State's win against Temple, Bowden trails Joe Paterno 376-375 for the all-time lead in coaching wins in I-A history. "Yeah, darn it," Bowden said. "The only thing that can solve that is winning. You've got to win. I'm kind of like Joe on it, it don't bother me. There's nothing you can do about it. You've got to win, period. Joe's always ignored it. I know it's there, I don't deny it's there, but there's a lot of football left."