Instant Analysis: Florida State's Big Debut
Posted Sep 3, 2013

The CFN Instant Analysis of Jameis Winston's huge opening act.

E-mail Rich Cirminiello
Follow me ... @RichCirminiello
Earn a Ph.D. in college football … class is in session at Campus Insiders

Forgive the hype, and yes it's just one game, but Jameis Winston is going to lead Florida State to a national championship before he's through in Tallahassee.

Everyone knew Winston was special in high school, a product of Alabama who'll go down as one of Nick Saban's worst losses in Tuscaloosa. Coaches couldn't stop raving during the offseason about the redshirt freshman, from his practice habits and spring game performance to his poise and leadership skills. Comparisons to Charlie Ward and RG3 rained down from all directions.

Tonight, Winston backed up the hype, going 25-of-27 for 356 yards, four touchdowns, no picks and a running score. Somewhat lost in the peerless effort was the fact that Winston was on the road ... and has never played in a college game before. No. 5 has total package potential, and he's obviously still in his infancy as a quarterback.

One game in and Winston is already on the verge of becoming a household name in college football circles. It all happened so quickly. In the case of this kid, the attention will be warranted. Clemson's Tajh Boyd accounted for five touchdowns on Saturday. Winston matched him tonight at Heinz Field. 'Noles and Tigers on Oct. 19 cannot come soon enough.

By Matt Zemek
E-mail Matt Zemek

Yes, this was a game against the 2013 Pittsburgh Panthers and not the 1976 or 1981 Pittsburgh Panthers. Yes, this was a game against a lower-tier ACC team, not the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Yet, Pittsburgh is not Georgia State or New Mexico State or Idaho. The Panthers are not going to be great, but they're not going to be what Colorado was the past few seasons or what Illinois could be this season. They're mediocre, but not horrible.

Freshmen quarterbacks, no matter how good, typically stumble at some point. They typically display some degree of uncertainty as they make the transition from high school to college.

They don't play essentially perfect first halves, completing 17 of 18 passes with the 18th pass being very close to a completion.

Let's not make all-time comparisons to other players in college football. Let's acknowledge, though, that this was one heck of an opening statement made by one Jameis Winston. We'll see how much he is tested in the coming weeks and months… and how he responds to the challenge. It will be fun to witness.

By Terry Johnson
Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+

Not so fast, my friend.

With apologies to Lee Corso, I needed to utter that statement. After Clemson upset Georgia on Saturday night, many didn't give the Seminoles much of a chance to win the ACC Championship this year.

However, after tonight's action, it's clear that this race is far from settled.

Part of the reason that people ranked Florida State so low in the preseason polls is because of the loss of EJ Manuel. But after watching Jameis Winston in action, it appears that the Seminoles are actually getting an upgrade under center. Not only did Winston show remarkable accuracy (25 for 27) and exceptional arm strength (356 yards), he also had tremendous poise in the pocket, refusing to force a play that wasn't there.

Not a bad outing for a guy who was making his first collegiate start.

Although it wasn't as impressive as Winston, the FSU defense also proved that it will be just fine under new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Despite breaking in six new starters, the front seven won the battle in the trenches tonight, holding Pitt to just 96 yards on 27 carries, while recording 3 sacks.

That, my friends, is why I expect the 'Noles to give Clemson a run for its money on October 19. Even though Jimbo Fisher's team lost plenty of talent to the NFL, the new starters are every bit as good - if not better.