If Florida State wants to look the part of a national championship contender this weekend, the Seminoles must block out the media circus and campus craze in their periphery and focus on the game.
"Eliminate the clutter," said Jimbo Fisher on Monday morning.
It's a point he's made many times, the Seminoles need to get their priorities straight. This week that will be tested as the fervor around campus grows and College Gameday rolls into town.
"We’re going to need to play even better this week we’ve got a great opponent, we’ve got a great challenge ahead of us, you all get to have a circus, the national media and all that good stuff," said Fisher.
"I’ll be interested to see how we handle that."
So will the rest of the country.
You could hear it in the phone-in questions from national media in both pressers this morning. One reporter practically asked EJ Manuel why anyone should take this year seriously after hearing FSU's been 'back' for half a decade.
Last year, many around the country forgave the Seminoles 9-4 record under the impression that the national attention had come a year to early. This year there's no such leniency.
All week as they are sequestered for TV interviews, ESPN pieces and radio call-ins, players will be asked by reporters and commentators around the country why anyone should take them seriously? Why this year is different from the last...
If they win, everything is fine, but being drilled over and over with questions could put the fear of losing in the back of the Seminoles' minds.
It may seem silly, but the stakes are right there in plain view. When and you're a national contender. Lose and you're not going to want to go online Sunday morning.
That's why Fisher's preaching to eliminate the clutter even more this week, to prioritize.
“You’ve got to realize, why will you guys be here Saturday?" asked Fisher. "Why will ESPN be here Saturday? Why will everyone be watching on Saturday? What’s going on? A football game, hopefully we can do a good job of preparing for one.”
That was a theme with Manuel in the next press conference as well, that having had Gameday come to town, having played under the lights with the stadium packed and the country watching, that Florida State would be better suited to live up to the challenge this time around.
That's going to be vital, Fisher likes to say it's important not to play the game during the week. He means a team can get up for a game too early and then come out flat or lacking the same emotion come Saturday.
This is a veteran team, as Jim Grobe said Saturday afternoon, they're "crusty." Hopefully for Seminoles fans that will make the difference between this year and last.
The nation will be watching again on Saturday and this time if the Seminoles buckle under the pressure the criticism from the casual onlookers in the national media will be laid on thick.
This week may be won or lost on how Florida State can handle the hype.