No. 3 Florida St has easy road ahead next 3 weeks
Jimbo Fisher did not vote his Florida State Seminoles No. 1 in
the Coaches Poll last week despite beating N.C. State, No. 8
Clemson and Maryland by a combined 132 points in consecutive weeks.
Maybe that will change after beating Miami by 27 points.
Third-ranked Florida State has beaten its three ranked opponents
by a combined 155-28 this season. Miami entered Saturday ranked No.
7, Clemson was No. 3 at the time and Maryland was No. 25. Fisher
laughed and dodged the question after the Miami game when asked if
the team finally earned his first-place vote.
”This is a very good football team,” Fisher said. ”That’s a
very good football team we just played. Beating them by four
touchdowns, you don’t do that very often. That’s doesn’t
”I’ll say this, I love our football team. I love our football
The Seminoles (8-0, 6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) need just one
ACC victory to lock up the Atlantic division and secure a berth in
the conference championship game Dec. 7. They are likely to be
20-plus-point favorites at Wake Forest (4-5, 2-4) and at home
against Syracuse (4-4, 2-2) considering they were a 21 1/2-point
favorite against a top-10 Miami team.
”I give Florida State a lot of credit,” Miami coach Al Golden
said. ”That’s an excellent team and a deep team. We have to play
so much better than that and we did not.”
The next real challenge for the No. 3 team in the BCS standing
is rival Florida (4-4, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) in Gainesville,
Fla. on Nov. 30. Everything sets up for Florida State being
undefeated before the Florida game and remaining a serious
contender for a spot in the BCS championship game.
”We’ve played three pretty emotional games in a row,” Fisher
said. ”We’re going to see if we can keep continuing to mature and
preparing well and growing as a team.”
No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Oregon might be the biggest obstacles to
Florida State’s championship aspirations, and they’re not on the
schedule. Not yet, anyway. The Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0) still have
No. 10 LSU and No. 7 Auburn on the schedule before it qualifies for
the SEC championship game. The Ducks (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) have yet to
play sixth-ranked Stanford, Arizona (6-2, 3-2) and Oregon State
(6-3, 4-2) before a possible Pac-12 title game.
Florida State has the easiest backstretch of the three teams,
but that doesn’t help the Seminoles leapfrog if the other two
”I feel like it could be that special season if we just play
one game at a time and still dominate,” Florida State running back
Devonta Freeman said.
The Seminoles defense has dominated all season outside of giving
up 34 points to Boston College, but the play of Heisman Trophy
candidate Jameis Winston has pushed the team to elite status.
Fisher was thrilled to see his team excel even when Winston
struggled somewhat against the Hurricanes. The redshirt freshman
still finished with 325 yard passing and a touchdown, but also
threw two interceptions and had several inaccurate throws. Winston
did bounce back from a shaky first half by completing 12-of-14
passes after halftime. The defense shut out the Hurricanes in the
second half, forced two interceptions and got off the field on
fourth-and-2 from the Florida State 26.
”I definitely feel like we did what we were supposed to do,”
Florida State nose guard Timmy Jernigan said. ”Miami is a great
team; they have a great rushing attack, one of the best in the
country. We proved that we could play with the best tonight.”