TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (AP) - Florida State believes it’s ready to return to the big time.
The fifth-ranked Seminoles (2-0) get their chance Saturday when No. 1 Oklahoma (1-0) comes to town for the first time in the biggest college football matchup of the weekend and the Seminoles anxious to avenge last year’s loss in Norman.
It’s also the biggest game in second-year Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher’s career and one that will determine how much his team has improved since losing to the Sooners 47-17.
“Hopefully our team has grown and we’ve gotten better,” Fisher said. “It’ll be a measuring stick.”
It might also determine one of the teams in this year’s BCS championship game. Both have been there before, albeit it’s been a decade since Florida State has been in title contention.
Florida State won national titles in 1993 and 1999 under Fisher’s predecessor, Bobby Bowden, and missed out on a third in 2000 when they were beaten by coach Bob Stoops‘ Sooners 13-2 in the championship game.
Although Sooners quarterback Landry Jones was nearly flawless in last year’s game when he completed 30 of 40 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns, he’s struggled some in road games.
After being thrust into the starter’s role in 2009 after Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford was injured, Jones was behind center when the Sooners lost at Miami, Nebraska and Texas Tech. Last year, he was the quarterback in losses at Missouri and Texas A&M.
It gets real noisy at Florida State (2-0), too.
“That’s huge on the road for a team to have to deal with,” Fisher said.
“I think our fans will make it very loud for those guys,” added quarterback EJ Manuel. “Hopefully it’ll rattle them a little bit.”
Jones can’t wait.
“It’s going to be fun playing against a high quality team like those guys,” he added. “We don’t get to play them all the time and we don’t ever get to go down to Tallahassee.”
The game will also be a test for Manuel, who played during the end of last year’s 10-4 season. Manuel is 6-2 as a starter and was in charge during wins over West Virginia and South Carolina after taking over for an injured Christian Ponder.