It was shattering news, the kind you hate to hear about to start any season.
Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois is done for the year with a knee injury, and it’s hard to see how that doesn’t torpedo the Seminoles’ hopes of running table into the College Football Playoff after their season-opening loss to Alabama.
FSU is in salvage mode.
Just like that.
Late in a game that was already lost, Francois was dragged down as he tried to escape Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison. Only there was no escape. And there doesn’t appear one for Jimbo Fisher and his team.
To me, FSU had two players who were key to the season. One is Derwin James on defense. The other was Francois on offense.
Unless Fisher can pull a Jameis Winston out of his hat, this is extinction level. There is freshman James Blackman out of Belle Glade, who looks to be the starter. And there are others. But that’s all they are right now: others.
It’s hard right now to see the Seminoles making their way through the season without another loss. And no two-loss team is making the CFP. Let’s get that straight.
Miami on Sept 16 in Tallahassee was already going to be a tough game. So was Louisville on Oct. 21, which once seemed a revenge game for FSU after it was crushed in Kentucky last season by eventual Heisman winner Lamar Jackson.
And there is Nov. 11 at defending national champion Clemson. That was the win that was going to put the Seminoles in the jet stream for the CFP, even with the Alabama loss. Now it looks like a tough night.
True, Clemson seemed to have moved on nicely from DeShaun Watson with the debut of junior quarterback Kelly Bryant.
But this will test Fisher, the quarterback whisperer, more than anything ever has.
Also true: Francois threw for 3,350 yards as a freshman, with 20 touchdowns against only seven interceptions.
Replacing him is suddenly the story of this Seminoles season.
Florida State already had no room for error with the loss to Alabama.
Now it has less than that.
At least it looked that way as Francois was carted from the field.
There's no escaping it.