If the season ended today, Florida State would play for a national title in the BCS Championship game against Alabama.
“I didn’t know if we’d get quite to second – but I thought we’d be around third," said head coach Jimbo Fisher tonight on ESPN. "I really did – maybe fourth at the lowest. But I thought we’d have a shot. I just didn’t know. I’m very happy where we are at.”
Florida State edged out Oregon -- number two in both the Coaches and AP Poll -- because of their computer rankings. Last year Jimbo Fisher bemoaned the computer rankings on a near-weekly basis. This year? Those computers love Fisher's Seminoles. FSU is ranked number one in three of the six polls and second in two others.
Now Florida State gets to deal with a barrage of BCS questions -- from reporters like me -- in the coming weeks and months.
“I mean you have to make [your players] aware of it because they are going to hear it every day," said Fisher. "That’s part of this whole run of going to a national championship, playing in the big games like we did at Clemson – you gotta handle the clutter. You have to understand how to deal with it and make it reality, because they’re going to hear it. Understand that we’re there because we’ve done a great job of what we’re doing. We don’t need to stop it – preparing each week, dotting I’s, crossing T’s, being very detailed-oriented and playing one-game seasons. That’s going to be very critical down the stretch.”
Oregon is likely to jump FSU in the weeks ahead though. The computers are high on the Seminoles right after their big win over Clemson, but outside of Miami the Seminoles' schedule is hardly daunting and the computer polls factor the quality of opponents into the equation. Oregon will have chances to improve their strength of schedule with games against Stanford, UCLA and Oregon State -- all of whom are ranked -- in the latter half of the season.
"I tell [the team], ‘Control things that you can control.’ That’s how we prepare and how we play, and then we’ll let the polls work themselves out in the end," said Fisher. "We have to just play well and prepare to play well. To me, that’s the critical part. You want to always play well, but you have to have the power of preparation each week and it’s going to be very critical for us to understand that. I think the maturity of our team will kind of push that through.”
Florida State can't afford to rest on their laurels though. While they are likely to be favored in every game from here on out, NC State -- a team that knows all about ruining the Seminoles' season -- is next on the schedule.
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