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Midseason report: Florida State

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

With a 2-4 overall record and an 0-3 start in conference play, the Seminoles are off to their worst start since Bobby Bowden took over the program in 1976. The problems run deeper, though, than the defense, which is No. 11 in the conference in scoring defense behind Duke. Outstanding performances by quarterback Christian Ponder have been overshadowed this season by the defensive ineptitude and swirl of controversy surrounding Bowden. Heading into the Georgia Tech game, one of the most difficult offenses to prepare for in a week’s time, university officials, boosters and trustees were more concerned about the future of the program under Bowden than they were about winning on Saturday and turning things around on the field. Now, instead of winning the Atlantic Division like they were picked by the media to do this past summer, Florida State will face an uphill battle just making it to a bowl game. Regardless of how FSU finishes this season, it could be Bowden’s last.

Offensive MVP: Christian Ponder. He leads the ACC and ranks sixth nationally in total offense. Had his team been in contention for, well, anything, Ponder would most certainly be in the national spotlight. He leads the ACC in passing yards (1,782), completions (147) and attempts (217). He has thrown only one interception this year, the fewest in the league by a starter. He enters the UNC game with an ACC-leading current streak of 197 consecutive pass attempts without an interception.

Defensive MVP: Jamie Robinson. In a secondary desperate for leadership, Robinson has filled that role, and he’s in the midst of his best season as a full-time starter at free safety. He is second on the team with a career-high 35 tackles, and he has four pass breakups and one sack. Although he hasn’t had any interceptions yet, Robinson has been spread thin, helping carry a few others, but he’s one player whose effort hasn’t been questioned.