For those of us who are long-time fans of the sport, we know that there really is no greater reality TV show than the college football regular season. That was proven this Saturday, when clubs like LSU, Georgia and Texas suffered their first losses of the season, and in turn saw their BCS National Championship dreams likely chased along with it.
But it wasn’t until late in the evening, just before midnight Eastern Time that the cruel mistress that is college football played her most deceitful trick on us to date. It came from Raleigh, NC, and came when NC State- a club which entered the evening with just a 1-2 record against FBS teams this year- stunned the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles, 17-16, with a wild come from behind win in the final seconds of the game.
Yes, you read that correctly: The Florida State Seminoles lost this evening… to NC State, a 3-2 ball-club which just lost at Miami last weekend. Insanity, welcome to the 2012 college football season.
Simply put, there’s no way to describe the game other than to say that over the final 30 minutes, NC State was absolutely the better football team. After trailing 16-0 at halftime and without even showing the faintest signs of life, the Wolfpack ripped off 17 unanswered points to close out the game, and in the process held the Seminoles to zero in the second half. The final Wolfpack touchdown came on the final drive of the night, when Mike Glennon hit Bryan Underwood on a fourth down with just 16 seconds remaining in the game. Had the pass fallen incomplete, NC State would’ve lost. Instead, they pulled the biggest upset of the 2012 college football season.
And make no mistake, this was the biggest upset of the season.
The Seminoles entered this game at No. 3 in the country, and virtually in the driver’s seat to their first BCS title game appearance since the 2000 season. Having already beaten Clemson and with the rest of the ACC struggling, there was a real chance that the Seminoles wouldn’t have had to face a ranked team until a matchup in the final weekend of the regular season against Florida. And if they beat the Gators, a date with destiny- aka, Alabama, or some other undefeated team- seemed like a certainty for the BCS title.
Instead the Seminoles will awake to a sad reality Sunday morning: They let a golden, potential BCS title game ticket slip right through their fingertips, and they have no one to blame but themselves. You can’t go scoreless in the second half and convert just 3 of 15 third downs and expect to win. Not in conference play, not on the road and not against a desperate league foe. For Florida State fans, this isn’t a loss they won’t soon forget.
It’s also an evening NC State fans won’t soon forget either.
Only in Raleigh, it’s for a completely different reason.
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