Talking about national championships at the end of Week 3 is like telling the cashier about what you’re going to do with all that lottery money the second after you buy your ticket.
And I still will not acknowledge that the Florida State Seminoles are favorites to play in the BCS Title game. After wins over Murray State, Savannah State and Wake Forest, I won’t even say I think they’re in the running.
Not yet, at least.
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However, if we want to talk about a hypothetical path to the national title game for FSU, I’m OK with that. If it’s going to happen, the Seminoles will need to end the season undefeated and ACC champions, but they’ll also need some help along the way.
They’ll need teams from other lightly-regarded conferences to lose, like ACC mates Virginia Tech did yesterday when they fell to the Pittsburgh Panthers. A team like Cincinnati or Louisville running the table would be detrimental, because there’s a chance they might have a tougher strength of schedule along the way.
They’ll need teams to go on the road and lose tough games to rivals, like Southern California did last night against Stanford. When the Trojans failed to mount a comeback against the Cardinal, they removed themselves from contention, giving FSU a small window. Now, the Seminoles need the Trojans to play spoiler and beat the Oregon Ducks later in the season (and the Ducks need to beat Stanford) to remove the Pac-12 from the national title picture, at least if the two teams in the title game will need to be undefeated.
They’ll need the big names of the Big 12 Conference to do something similar, beating each other up and handing every team at least one loss. West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas all look solid through three weeks, and it would be very dangerous if any of those three run the table. It would likely leave FSU out of the title game, so several pieces need to fall in FSU’s favor in that conference.
They’ll need Florida to keep winning, unfortunately. Right now, Clemson stands to be the only strong opponent on FSU’s schedule, so it wouldn’t hurt to boost their strength of schedule a little with a decent Gators team at the end of the year. I know, it pains me to say that, but FSU needs Florida, and they need the Gators to be good.
They’ll need the media darlings, Notre Dame, to lose a game or two. If there’s one SEC team in the championship game (and we all know there’s at least one spot waiting for them), the Seminoles can’t afford to have the Fighting Irish in the discussion as well, because the media will pressure the voters to give them a shot. They seem to be obsessed with the good ol’ days, and they’d die for one more Notre Dame-Alabama showdown.
And, yes, they’ll need to keep winning. That’s been the biggest problem for the Seminoles in the last decade.