The showdown between Florida State and Clemson at Death Valley next week was already the most anticipated game of the season in the ACC.

If it’s possible, it just got a lot more interesting.

The Seminoles, armed with their collection of playmakers and national award candidates at virtually every position on both sides of the ball, are still the ACC’s team to beat. But let’s hold off on penciling them into the College Football Playoff as an undefeated conference champion.

At least for the time being.

What was beginning to look like a coronation because of FSU’s meteoric rise up the rankings and Clemson’s opening week loss at Duke has once again become a dogfight after FSU’s potential flaws were exposed in Saturday’s unexpectedly close 31-29 win at Boston College.

That’s not to say it’s time to jump off the FSU bandwagon, although undoubtedly many will. That would be as premature as the obituaries that have been written about Clemson since that Labor Day night surprise in Durham.

It’s entirely possible that Mike Norvell’s team got caught reading and believing its press clippings. Maybe it never got a wakeup call for the dreaded noon kickoff at Boston College.

Or maybe the players were too busy looking ahead to their upcoming trip to Death Valley to take the Eagles seriously.

That would only be human nature considering that BC was 3-9 last season and struggled to beat Holy Cross last week for their 1st win.

To the Eagles’ credit, they were by far the more motivated team – inspired by their annual “Red Bandana Game” tribute to 9/11 hero Welles Crowther.

But that’s no excuse for the game being as close as it ended up being.

For as admirably as BC in particular and its transfer quarterback Thomas Castellanos in particular performed, most of the Seminoles’ problems were self-inflicted.

“Both sides of the ball had lapses, whether it’s focus or execution,” Norvell said afterward. “Obviously (we) made some critical mistakes that we can’t have.”

It was more than just both sides of the ball. Special teams contributed, too.

They included numerous breakdowns in the secondary that resulted in 6 pass plays of 25 or more yards, to go along with a pair of long scrambles by Castellanos. There was a fumble by Lawrance Toafili that was returned for a BC touchdown and a costly pass interference penalty that nullified a key late-game 4th down conversion. Along with a muffed kickoff by Trey Benson that also resulted in a turnover.

At least those are breakdowns that can be fixed with a few reps at practice or just a little more focus on the task at hand.

The Seminoles’ championship hopes nearly suffered a blow that wouldn’t have been so easily overcome when star quarterback Jordan Travis came down hard at the end of a scramble late in the 1st half.

The Heisman Trophy contender stayed on the ground, favoring his left arm as he was worked on by trainers. He was helped off the field and into the injury tent while backup Tate Rodemaker took the final snap before halftime.

Seminole Nation was able to breathe a collective sigh of relief when Travis returned to the field for the 3rd quarter and immediately completed a 44-yard pass to Johnny Wilson. He ended up going 15-of-23 for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns, including 10-of-13 for 121 yards and a score after the injury.

With the help of linebacker DJ Lundy, who became the first FSU player since 1959 to intercept a pass and score a rushing touchdown in the same game, the Seminoles appeared to take full control by scoring 2 quick touchdowns early in the second half to open up a 31-10 lead.

But then they took their foot off the accelerator. And the lack of killer instinct nearly cost them.

It took the last of BC’s school-record 18 penalties, a facemask call that allowed Travis and his offense to stay on the field and run out the clock rather than punting the ball away 1 final time, for FSU to avoid a devastating upset loss.

The fact that it survived with its undefeated record intact only intensifies the questions that must now be asked about the Seminoles.

The most pressing of which is the obvious.

Was this just a hiccup? Or are the problems that would surely have bitten FSU had they come against a better opponent the symptom of a bigger issue previously unnoticed by all those anxious to jump on the Seminoles’ super-charged bandwagon?

We’ll find out next week at Death Valley.