The Florida State University Seminoles lost their No. 2 ranking in the Bowl Conference Subdivision standings following a 32-point victory over ACC rival North Carolina State.
The now No. 3-ranked Seminoles were leaped-frogged by the Oregon Ducks, who are coming off a 28-point win over the No. 20-ranked University of California, Los Angeles Bruins.
FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher praised the two teams ranked ahead of the ‘Noles, saying each has proven to be a power player in the conference. “Alabama has been very consistent,” Fisher said. “They’ve done it. They’ve earned it for two years. Oregon has been very explosive, very dynamic.”
Fisher did not vote his team first in the Coaches Poll, nor did he protest his team’s demotion. He said voting in the Coaches Poll is a job that cannot involve emotions.
However, Fisher is not concerned with the BCS poll right now.
“We’ll worry about that when the year is over,” Fisher said. “Those things sort itself out. We got to control what we can control, and that’s playing well, setting goals each week and trying to grow.”
Fisher’s focus this week is making sure the team is prepared for its ACC rival, the undefeated No. 7 University Miami Hurricanes, who lead the rivalry 31-26. Fisher acknowledged Miami as a great team that plays well in all phases. The keys to success are having a great week of practice, executing and playing physical, he said.
The Hurricanes’ ground attack features sophomore Duke Johnson, the ACC’s second-leading rusher.
FSU junior defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan said Johnson’s ability to read blocks, hit holes at full speed and break tackles are the things that make Johnson good. Jernigan feels Miami’s offensive line poses a great test for his defense.
“[Johnson is] a good player,” Jernigan said. “Can’t take anything from him, but what really impresses me about Miami is the offensive line. They have a lot of depth, and they’re able to stay fresh through the entire four quarters.”
With the emergence of redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston, whose completion percentage is 69.9, the Seminole offense has reached new heights, ranking third in the nation scoring 52.6 points per game.
The task of protecting Winston’s blind side falls upon junior offensive lineman Cameron Erving. “This is one of the typical Miami-Florida State matchups that you’ll see [from] back in the day,” Erving said.
The ‘Noles’ high-powered offense is facing a ‘Canes defense that has 22 sacks and 12 interceptions this season.
FSU junior running back Karlos Williams is excited for the in-state matchup. “A lot of guys come to Florida State from Miami, and they know a lot of guys who stayed back home, so the big rivalry is we’re playing against our boys from back home,” Williams said.
Jernigan said the rivalry is “historic,” and that it is always going to be a tough game every year, regardless of the teams’ record or rank.
However, unlike recent matchups between the teams, this game has championship implications. It features the two top teams in the ACC.