Seminoles Lurking in SELC
For the first time in eight years, Florida State dropped out of the MCLA poll last week. It didn't go unnoticed in Tallahassee.
"It pisses off the kids a little bit," said head coach Bill Harkins. "But it pisses off the coach a lot."
By Seminole standards, this has been an off-year. FSU has four losses, including a rare, three-game losing streak in the SELC. Still, the 'Noles are 11-4 and have won six straight contests.
"We're not maybe what we have been, but we sure are one of the top 25 teams the nation. Absolutely," said Harkins. "To me, it's ridiculous, but hey, I'm only one vote."
Harkins acknowledges that the polls are what he calls "a beauty pageant," and don't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. Being off the radar has its benefits, however.
"Every other year we worried about if we didn't win the SELC, would we get an at-large? This year, we don't have to worry about it," Harkins said. "It's the automatic qualifier or we're going home. We'll be prepared at the SELCs. We'll see who is the best team out there."
Within the conference, Florida State is in the shadow of Virginia Tech and Clemson, both of which beat the Seminoles earlier in the season. Although Harkins has lost his best offensive and defensive player to injury, in addition to the 17 players graduated off last year's team, the team he has now has a year of experience under its belt heading into the playoffs.
In addition, they have an outstanding goalie combo of Brad Chamberlain and Tyler Selman, along with a solid backline. The entire team has also shown a willingness to keep pushing even without the notoriety.
"It's not the most talented team I've ever had, but these kids practice hard," Harkins said. "Sooner or later, that will pay off."
Virginia Tech, Clemson and maybe a couple of other SELC hopefuls might be viewing this spring as their time to stake claim to conference supremacy, but until that day happens, it's still the Seminoles' league.
And FSU is a motivated bunch.
"My guys can't wait to get there," Harkins said. "The easiest, cheapest thing in the sports is the no respect, us against the world thing, and my team has that this year. It's not just what they're saying; the team really feels it. I don't have to push that button too much."