FSU rises above pressure, rises back to No. 1
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher has grown tired of the comparisons.
Last year, Florida State started 10-0.
This year, the Seminoles have done it again.
To him, there's nothing else that really matters. Doing it with style last year, doing it the hard way this year, Fisher doesn't see one as better than the other.
And on Sunday, the Seminoles (10-0, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) returned to the top of the AP Top 25 poll after a five-week stay at No. 2.
''When you measure this team for 60 minutes, it measures up pretty daggone good,'' Fisher said after his team extended its school-record winning streak to 26 games. ''To anybody. Anywhere. Anybody, anywhere.''
By now, that cannot be argued.
The Seminoles rallied to beat archrival Miami 30-26 on Saturday night, a game in which they trailed for 49 minutes - 11 more minutes than they spent playing from behind in the entirety of the 2013 regular season.
''Pressure breaks pipes ... or it makes diamonds,'' Florida State wide receiver Rashad Greene said. ''And right now, we're shining. We're able to play with pressure.''
Pressure has been a constant for Florida State in 2014. The Seminoles ran 93 plays when trailing in the entire 2013 season; this year, they have run 252 plays when trailing. They have trailed in the second quarter in seven of their last eight games.
Saturday's win was the third time in the last four games where Florida State needed late heroics; a year ago, the Seminole starters barely had to play down the stretch of most games.
''I hate comparing players and I hate comparing teams,'' Fisher said. ''It's unfair. You can't compare teams year to year. It's like a pair of children. It's like a pair of brothers. It's unfair of brothers to compare because they're different DNA. That group of guys will never play again together. This group of guys, in another two months, will never play again together.''
''A team has a one-year life expectancy,'' Fisher added, his words seeming to come out even more quickly than usual. ''That's what I keep trying to tell everybody. A team has a one-year life span, bar none. Look at DNA. If you're a smidgen off from one DNA that clears you from court, is that right? Well, it's the same way here.''
Fisher making even a cryptic reference to the legal system may seem odd, given what Florida State has dealt with of late.
Quarterback Jameis Winston has been dogged by several high-profile incidents, there was a recent domestic battery investigation surrounding running back Karlos Williams and The New York Times reported last week that cornerback P.J. Williams was ticketed but not charged after briefly leaving the scene of a car accident last month.
Distractions haven't stopped the Seminoles.
Any doubters haven't bothered them, either.
''They can think what they want,'' Fisher said. ''I know what I know.''
Greene said that as long as Florida State - which dipped one spot to No. 3 in last week's College Football Playoff ranking, but should rise on that list when the next installment is released Tuesday - finishes among the top four, he'll be pleased.
The top four play for the national title. Seeding won't matter.
So now it's easy: If the Seminoles beat Boston College and Florida at home, and then win the ACC title game against either Georgia Tech or Duke, they undoubtedly will get a chance to defend their crown.
''To beat them, it's required that you play four quarters,'' Miami running back Duke Johnson said. ''It's a requirement. Most teams, you can play a half, you can play three quarters. It's required you play four quarters.''