The Florida State Seminoles haven’t been a true BCS contender for over a decade. Although the Seminoles have been a popular pick early in the last few years, coach Jimbo Fisher had always come up short in the big tests -- prior to Oct. 19 of this year. As a result, the Seminoles’ breakthrough blowout over the Clemson Tigers was rewarded on Oct. 20, when Florida State became the first No. 2 team of this year’s BCS rankings.
The Alabama Crimson Tide and Oregon Ducks had been the consensus 1-2 for almost every poll and expert. However, Florida State’s strength of schedule and computer rankings were lifted up just enough by its 51-14 blowout of then No. 3 Clemson. Therefore, the Seminoles now have an overall BCS average of .9348, right above the Ducks’ .9320.
The Ducks can still jump the Seminoles at their own game, by beating the No. 12 UCLA Bruins and No. 6 Stanford Cardinal in their next two games. Meanwhile, Florida State will have to beat the No. 7 Miami Hurricanes at least once to boost its resume. Will that be enough to hold off Oregon in the long run?
Recent Seminoles teams have given out before they could make it that far. Although the road looks wide open to run the table this season, there has to be a lingering fear that something will go wrong. Unlike the Tide and Ducks, the Seminoles likely won’t get the benefit of the doubt with an upset loss, at least not without massive help.
Yet the top factor that makes Florida State believe is its freshman leader. Jameis Winston is making a run not unlike Cam Newton, Robert Griffin II and Johnny Manziel before him. It could lead him to a Heisman Trophy, a national championship, or perhaps both like it did for Newton.
The Seminoles didn’t have such a game changer in Bobby Bowden’s final years, or in Fisher’s first few seasons, which is why they tumbled from the cream of college football’s crop after 2000. This past weekend may signal that Florida State is ready for a comeback, like the Notre Dame Fighting Irish had after years of irrelevance in 2012.
However, the Irish ultimately tanked when they faced the Tide for the championship, and the Seminoles would like to do better -- if they can get to the Tide, Ducks or anyone else.