Well, the Orange Bowl is almost here, and that's evidenced by the teams being in town for practices and press conferences. Jordan Lynch was at one of them, and he spoke, saying things like this:
Jordan Lynch on FSU's defense: "They're fast. They're physical. But they haven't seen anything like our offense."— Steve Greenberg (@SN_Greenberg) December 27, 2012
Jordan Lynch on FSU: "They're just like us. … If you cut them, they bleed."— Steve Greenberg (@SN_Greenberg) December 27, 2012
Jordan Lynch on FSU's defense: "We plan on wearing them down. In the fourth quarter, we plan to have them on their knees."— Steve Greenberg (@SN_Greenberg) December 27, 2012
And NIU coach Rod Carey on FSU's supposed speed edge: "Our 11 vs. their 11, we feel like we've got good team speed. … We'll be fine."— Steve Greenberg (@SN_Greenberg) December 27, 2012
First off, good on Lynch for the refreshing honesty. Maybe the vanilla pro athlete route would be to pay respects to the opponent, acknowledge the challenge, and move on. Instead, this is now a storyline: Lynch is "dissing" the Seminoles defense.
I don't see any disrespect here. Every team wants to dominate the other one. Should they "plan" on hanging around for a while and winning on a miracle play? Should he say that their plan is to just have fun and hope they cover the spread?
If you follow that Tomahawk Nation link above, you'll see FSU fans who are glad Lynch said this because it'll motivate a Florida State team that needs motivating. I'll take their words that FSU isn't motivated to play a MAC team in a BCS game, and I understand the sentiment. I'll also say that if Lynch didn't say something like this, they'd have clung to another sportswriter or analyst's similar words.
The prevailing wisdom is that Lynch is very good, and he dominated the MAC, but wait until he plays an ACC defense. Mind you, He did things like this to Akron cornerback Avis Commack, formerly of Florida State. He ran for 200 yards against Ball State, whose defensive line is anchored by Ohio State transfer Jonathan Newsome.
We sometimes choose to believe that MAC defenses are rife with rejects and slightly irregular football players, or that their offensive skill players merely flourish under the right system. Yes, on average they are smaller and slower than powerhouse defenses, but that doesn't mean that Lynch and other MAC players never face anybody talented. If given the chance, I would venture that folks like Chris Jones and Khalil Mack would probably start in Florida State's front seven.
Florida State is the best team NIU will face. But it's a stretch to deduce that Lynch will go from 350 total yards per game to something like 150. Lynch ran a total of 70 plays for 372 yards against Kent State, half of those being on the ground. The MACCG was the first time he was held under five yards per rush all year. And KSU was the best defense he had faced to that point. I'd venture something similar, maybe slightly lower, will be seen against the Seminoles.
Exactly how far Lynch will carry the Huskies against FSU, obviously, remains a mystery and the focal point of intrigue surrounding this game.