Meet your national championship contender from the ACC: Florida State.
The Noles debuted at No. 2 in the first BCS standings released Sunday night, a huge surprise when you consider that Florida State is ranked behind Alabama and Oregon in both human polls used in the calculations.
But the Noles got a huge bump from the computers, ranking No. 1 in that category. Three computer rankings have Florida State at No. 1 -- more than any other team -- and two have the Noles at No. 2. Florida State is coming off a 51-14 throttling of then-No. 3 Clemson, so it is easy to see why the computer component favors the Seminoles.
The Noles are not the only ACC team in the top 10. Unbeaten Miami checks in at No. 7, while one-loss Clemson sits at No. 9, giving the ACC more teams than any other conference in the top 10. Virginia Tech stands at No. 14, tying the ACC with the SEC for the most teams in the top 14 of the BCS standings.
So what does this all mean for Florida State moving forward? The Noles hold an ultraslim margin over the Ducks in the first edition of the standings. Oregon will get a boost in its schedule strength with upcoming games against ranked UCLA, Stanford and Oregon State. Florida State has top 10 Miami remaining on its schedule. The Ducks have a much stronger schedule the rest of the way. For that reason, ESPN BCS expert Brad Edwards believes the Ducks will eventually overtake Florida State as long as both teams keep winning.
What can Florida State do? It has to win out. The opportunity to do that is there for the taking. The game against Miami is in Tallahassee, and in-state rival Florida is not as strong as it was a year ago. Florida State will be favored to win every game remaining on the schedule, including the ACC title game.
All this is easier said than done, of course. Florida State has had a habit of losing games to overmatched opponents. But based on what we saw Saturday night, this Noles team looks different than the versions we have seen over the past several seasons. It passes the eye test; it passes the computer test. Now, the Seminoles have to win out and they could be back in the national title game for the first time since 2000.