No. 2 FSU letting play make its No. 1 case

October, 21, 2013
10/21/13
9:30
AM ET
The exuberance of victory might have undercut the seriousness of Rashad Greene's argument, so he was unequivocal.

Florida State had just wrapped up its biggest victory in years, a 51-14 thumping of No. 3 Clemson in Death Valley. It was the most impressive victory any team has had in college football this season, and so Greene made it clear the Seminoles weren't interested in taking a back seat to anyone -- even the two-time defending national champions.

"We definitely are the best team in the country," Greene said. "I put us second to none."

[+] EnlargeRashad Greene
AP Photo/Richard ShiroAfter a thorough whooping of No. 3 Clemson, Rashad Greene and the Seminoles showed they're a true national championship contender.
Greene's confidence was mirrored by several Seminoles after Saturday's win, but when the first BCS polls came out Sunday, Alabama remained in the top spot. But Florida State's signature victory was enough to propel the Seminoles into the No. 2 spot -- just a tick ahead of No. 3 Oregon.

A year ago, Jimbo Fisher railed against the computer rankings, which didn't favor the ACC. But this year it's the voters who don't value Florida State quite as high. While both human polls had FSU ranked third, the computers -- a composite ranking that makes up one-third of the BCS equation -- had the Seminoles No. 1.

Regardless, Fisher said, there are still seven more games to play before the BCS rankings are finalized, so he's concentrating on what's left to be done for FSU -- while not exactly disagreeing with Greene's sentiment.

"I think we have a heck of a team," Fisher said. "I'm not doubting. We have a lot of ball to play, and if we keep taking care of our business, the country will see and we'll get to where we've got to go. I'm not scared to play anybody."

The Seminoles gave Fisher plenty of reason for confidence Saturday. Jameis Winston threw for a career-high 444 yards as Florida State racked up 51 points -- the most ever by a visitor in Death Valley. The defense forced four turnovers -- the most by the Seminoles in a game since 2011 -- and battered Clemson QB Tajh Boyd into one of the worst games of his career. It was a night in which virtually everything went right, and Florida State flexed its muscle on a national stage.

But if the Seminoles needed a reminder of the potential pitfalls on the road ahead, it won't have to look far. Next up on the schedule: NC State, and the lingering memories of one of Fisher's most devastating losses.

A year ago, FSU was still riding the high of a Week 4 win over Clemson when it arrived in Raleigh, N.C., for a game against the unranked Wolfpack. After jumping out to a 16-0 halftime lead, the wheels came off the offense, and Mike Glennon did just enough on a late drive to pull out a win for NC State, 17-16. While Florida State went on to win the ACC title and an Orange Bowl, for many fans, the 2012 season was defined more by that loss than any of the Seminoles' 12 wins.

"We haven't done anything yet," safety Terrence Brooks said. "We've got to prepare [this] week, and we plan on doing NC State the same way [as Clemson]."

While their spot in the rankings is high, and the expectations even higher, Florida State showed Saturday that it's not taking things for granted. Touchdowns were followed by a calm demeanor on the sideline, and Fisher was spared the traditional Powerade bath after a big win.

Yes, Florida State thinks it's the best team in the country, but Brooks said they still have to keep reminding everyone why that is each week.

"We've still got a long way to go, and it's not over yet," Brooks said. "We're about business. We hold a standard, so how we performed in this game is how we have to perform every week."

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