ESPN reported Thursday morning that Florida Department of Law Enforcement had confirmed earlier in the week that DNA provided by Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston matched the sample taken from the underwear of the woman who has accused him of sexual battery.
There is still much more to be investigated in this issue and I fully understand the seriousness of these charges in regard to both parties. That said, this is a football blog and we are here to talk about all things football, specifically that which pertains to the Big Ten. Make no mistake about it, what’s happening in Tallahassee could seriously impact the rest of the college football season — including the BCS National Championship game and Ohio State.
With six and a half weeks left until the BCS Championship game, a number of things could happen that for one reason or another knock Florida State from the No. 2 spot in the BCS — and the majority of those hypotheticals involve the Winston situation.
As we saw with the Aaron Hernandez case in New England over the summer, authorities can and will move quickly if they feel they have enough evidence to make an arrest. Should Winston be arrested, depending on the timing, that could sway to the BCS rankings, as the voters in the polls that do factor in would surely have to re-evaluate what a Florida State team without Winston is capable of. If that was indeed what happened, you have to think the Ohio State, who would be likely coming off a victory over Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game, would be in prime position to replace the Seminoles.
The other possible scenarios simply involve Florida State losing. I don’t care what kind of lip service players and coaches give, distractions like the Winston case do wear on a team and they are not always rallying points. Florida State has two games left on the schedule where they can’t simply show up and go through the motions — the rivalry game against Florida and the ACC title game against what looks like a feisty and well-coached Duke team. I can see an unfocused Seminole squad dropping either of those games.
Worst case scenario from a BCS standpoint would be something happening to Winston between the ACC Championship and the BCS Championship that would require him to miss the title game after Florida State is already named as a participant. You would then presumably see a powerhouse Alabama team show up at full strength to take on a Florida State team minus its leader and key reason it qualified for the title game — not to mention possibly the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Quite simply, on that day, I’m not sure you would still be able to consider Florida State one of the top two teams in the land — especially if there were other unbeaten teams from BCS conferences playing in other bowl games.
This story is both sad and interesting — as bad as that sounds. Like the rest of the nation, we will continue to keep a close eye on this story as it develops and hope for the best possible outcome for all parties involved and impacted.
BY J.P. SCOTT ON NOVEMBER 21, 2013
Follow @KIAFootball on Twitter.