On 4th-and-goal from the two yard line and less than 20 seconds left in the game, Everett Golson threw a short pass to Corey Robinson for what initially looked like a go-ahead touchdown. However, pass interference was called on the offense, negating the touchdown and pushing the Irish back 15 yards.
Everett Golson could not find an open receiver on the last play of the game, and Florida State escaped with a narrow victory, their 23rd in a row, and Jameis Winston is now being praised like he’s some kind of superhero. Nearly every single sports analyst around the country is commending them on their supposed stellar come-from-behind performance.
This is just another example of the college football world jumping on the bandwagon of a player and team, but this time it doesn’t make any sense.
First, it was a bogus pass interference call. Was there some contact at the line of scrimmage? Definitely. Were the receivers more intent on getting in the way of the defenders than continuing on their routes? Absolutely. In the official rulebook, what Notre Dame did may technically be a penalty.
But that type of play never gets flagged. Every team in America runs crossing patterns, “rub routes,” against man coverage in hopes that it will clear space for a receiver. Notre Dame did it several times throughout the game, as did Florida State, and it wasn’t called. It’s not an illegal play, it’s simply a strategic way for the offense to create space for its playmakers, and it never gets called.
The fact that it was called in this situation is sickening. If it’s not going to be deemed illegal in the middle of the game with the ball around midfield, it definitely should not be called with the game on the line in the waning seconds of the game.
Next, the outpouring of praise for Florida State is a bit overdramatic. People are so quick to forget that they were nine point favorites coming into the game, according to CBSSports. The Seminoles got outplayed the entire first half, and then needed a phantom pass interference call to bail them out. Their performance on Saturday night did not warrant all of the praise.
However, what was even more sickening was Jimbo Fisher’s postgame interview. While talking to ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi, the way Fisher described his team was laughable.
“The heart and discipline in that room,” Fisher said. “There’s character, there’s heart, there’s a team full of great kids. It’s a high character program that’s run the right way on class, on dignity, in the classroom, on the field and off the field and this team shows it.
Using “character” and “class” in the same sentence about Florida State is a complete joke, and it makes the school, and Fisher, look foolish. The leader of the off-field shenanigans is Jameis Winston, ostensibly the leader of the squad.
His list of off-field transgressions is nearly limitless, and they include shoplifting from a supermarket, yelling obscene profanity on top of a park bench on school grounds, and allegedly raping a woman. To be fair, his rape investigation is still open and he is still in the process of attempting to rid himself of that bad publicity.
And then there are the autographs. ESPN reported on Thursday that it found over 2,000 authenticated Winston signatures online. In the wake of Georgia running back Todd Gurley’s suspension for allegedly accepting compensation for signing autographs, this is a big deal.
It seems like this would be a tough infraction to prove because it’s very hard to accurately determine whether Winston signed these items for money or he signed something for a fan and the fan is attempting to resell it. But Matt Powers, owner of Powers Collectibles and a specialist in the business, feels sure that Winston is guilty.
“No one who is not a dealer is going to submit that many autographs at one time,” Powers said. “But besides the number, the giveaway of the JSA authenticated items that you can see on eBay, that suggests it was a sit-down signing, as the consistency of autograph, the cleanliness of the autograph and the fact that the autograph is signed in the same place over and over.”
Powers goes on to say that after examining the memorabilia signed by Winston, he could tell that he was completely focused when he was signing because of the consistency of the autographs. He says that when athletes are signing in public for fans, they tend to scribble their signature. Whether or not the NCAA will make Winston pay for his infractions is yet to be determined, but I think it’s safe to take the word of a professional.
There is a good chance that Winston did indeed receive compensation for his autographs, but even if he didn’t, the wave of uncertainty that follows Winston is palpable. There was no proof that Gurley was guilty either, but he was suspended anyway.
Which is why I cannot fathom why the college football world is so dramatically in love with last year’s Heisman winner. It seems like ESPN would want a well-rounded person to be their cover boy, someone who truly has character, not a criminal like Jameis Winston.
Florida State should have lost the game against Notre Dame, but they were bailed out by a terrible call. He has not been good enough this year to warrant all of the accolades he is getting, and it is disgusting to see him as well as his school getting such publicity.
Also, how in the world Jimbo Fisher can babble such lies on national television is beyond me. “Class” and “character” could not be further from the truth describing the FSU program, and there is abundant evidence to back up that claim.
If the Seminoles manage to get a few more calls and finagle their way into the inaugural college football playoff, it will be a tragedy. They basically have to go undefeated to be a part of the Final Four due to their cupcake schedule, and the Notre Dame game should have been the loss that exiled them from contention.