Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell motivates his team. Sep 3, 2023; Orlando, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell is excited during the fourth quarter against the Louisiana State Tigers at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Patience is in short supply these days, especially in college football. We want it all. We want it now. If you can’t meet our expectations quickly, we’ll push you out and hire somebody else. But sometimes, staying the course through growing pains and disappointment can be the best move.

No. 3 Florida State (2-0) is reaping the benefits of sticking with Mike Norvell. The Seminoles are in the national championship conversation after reaching the top five of the Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time since they were No. 3 in the 2017 preseason poll. How impressive has this team been?

Florida State has outscored the opposition 111-37. It’s not only fifth in the nation in average scoring margin (+37), but it’s also the only school among the top five that has faced a ranked opponent. The season-opening 45-24 takedown of then-No. 5 LSU and 66-13 blowtorching of Southern Mississippi has announced to the world that the Seminoles are indeed back.

This potential juggernaut will open ACC play at Boston College (1-1) as a 25.5-point favorite. Assuming the Seminoles survive a trip to underachieving Clemson (1-1) on Sept. 23, it could be 6-0 before hosting an unlikely ACC showdown with No. 21 Duke (2-0). We’ve come a long way from 2021 when a pitchfork-wielding mob was ready to oust Norvell.

Let’s be honest. After beginning 0-4 that season, Norvell might have been saved by a contract buyout. That start included arguably the worst loss in school history when Florida State was stunned at home 20-17 by then-FCS Jacksonville State on the final play. To make matters worse, the program lost Travis Hunter, the No. 1 overall high school recruit by Sports Illustrated for the class of 2022, to Jackson State. After one season, Hunter followed Deion Sanders to Colorado and is now starring for the Buffaloes on both sides of the ball.

In an alternate timeline, Norvell could have been fired. Maybe it was the money. Maybe it was faith. Whatever it was, head coaching stability does have value. Norvell had an impressive track record at Memphis (38-15, including 12-1 in his final season). Florida State administration gave him a chance to build, and since back-to-back losing seasons, he’s 12-3.

Earlier this week, Norvell was asked if he could appreciate and embrace the success.

“There’s an appreciation for where we’ve come because I watch our players work,” he said. “I watch what they put into it. I see how hard our coaches coach. And I see the program-wide investment to see guys believe, get better, and respond to situations that we’ve found ourselves in. So I appreciate that. Embrace? There’s no difference in how I approach it. Someone says we’re highly ranked or not. None of that matters. It’s about what we’re willing to do when we show up and go to work. I believe in this team.”

Norvell especially believes in Jordan Travis. The quarterback first played at Louisville under Bobby Petrino but transferred in November 2018. Travis has been at Florida State since 2019 taking advantage of the extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic. That kind of stability is rare. As a result, Travis has improved every season and is a Heisman Trophy contender.

Norvell helped out his veteran quarterback in the offseason by bringing in a new weapon. Former Michigan State wide receiver Keon Coleman has been one of the most impactful transfers. Coleman had nine catches for 122 yards and a career-high three touchdowns against LSU. He also caught a touchdown against Southern Miss. He has quickly become so popular that he has started releasing his own t-shirts.

College football is a better place when the Florida schools matter. Florida State, Florida, and Miami helped build the sport’s popularity. Right now, the Seminoles are the best positioned to grab one of the coveted four spots in the College Football Playoff. Can they win an ACC that features four ranked teams? Expectations are high, but after what Norvell and his program have gone through in recent years, they seem well-equipped to deal with pressure.

It’s a long season, and Norvell is in no rush. He knows the value of patience.

About Michael Grant

Born in Jamaica. Grew up in New York City. Lives in Louisville, Ky. Sports writer. Not related to Ulysses S. Grant.