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Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Martin Fennelly Columns

Fennelly: Even at 12-0, all is not perfect for FSU

GAINESVILLE — Will Muschamp is still Florida’s coach.

Jameis Winston is still Florida State’s quarterback.

Saturday was even more predictable.

Florida was no match for Winston and Florida State, even with Tim Tebow delivering a pregame pep talk before manning the Gators sideline during the game.

Just as suspected, the Gators offense couldn’t move. The Florida defense couldn’t stop Winston, who overcame a slow start and threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns.

This game didn’t floor Florida fans. They’re already on their backs. Losing to Georgia Southern will do that. I hear Georgia Northern is now trying to schedule the Gators.

Florida’s first losing season in 34 years ends at 4-8. Before Saturday’s game, Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley reiterated that Muschamp is the coach going forward.

“There’s no question there’s a lot of noise out there,” Foley said. “And I get that. We wanted to make sure the world knew where we stood.”

Foley will speak with European leaders early next week.

All of this should be the source of near constant joy for Seminoles fans, a time to dance on Gators’ graves, seeing as Jimbo Fisher and his second-ranked lads are 12-0 and seem destined for the national championship game.

Yes, this should be a time for championship thoughts and Winston’s Heisman coronation in New York.

But it isn’t exactly that time.

FSU has its own noise, serious noise.

Look, no one should be convicting anyone of anything.

But the cloud is there.

It’s why, before Winston spoke with media, there was an announcement by FSU sports information:

“Just remember, he’s only here to answer questions about today’s game.”

What will happen with this investigation?

Has Jameis Winston already lost the Heisman?

Did he play his last game Saturday?

Will he land in jail?

How does all of that and more not cross your mind?

Jimbo Fisher loved what he saw from his quarterback. Winston got hit early and often by the Florida defense. He threw an interception on FSU’s first possession.

“Some guys might get hit in the mouth,” Fisher said. “There are two kinds of people: One says ‘What’s going on?’ while the other one jumps right back in the fight. He’s a guy who jumps right back in the fight. That’s Jameis. That’s just who he is and what he is. The more heated it becomes, the better it gets.”

Then there is the other heat …

There’s no getting around it, not for Winston or FSU.

Not for the alleged victim and her family, either. Remember that.

On the field, Jameis Winston remains the picture of cool and calm. He doesn’t get distracted.

“When you’re trying to rattle someone and you have this great a team around you, it’s hard to do,” Winston said.

Fisher added, “His competitiveness is ridiculous. Nothing fazes that guy. He thrives on it.”

This was an awful season for Florida.

“It stinks,” Jeremy Foley said before the game. “It stinks for every Gators fan.”

Oh, and Urban Meyer is 12-0 again.

Meanwhile, FSU is two wins away from the school’s third national championship team, to pull even with Florida.

Jameis Winston could be the Seminoles’ third Heisman-winning quarterback, to pull even with Florida.

And the Noles clobbered the Gators on Saturday.

Things should be perfect, just perfect.

They aren’t.

Just remember, he’s only here to answer questions about today’s game.

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