CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Florida State helps cause with Miami rout, but will need more

The third-ranked Seminoles improve to 8-0 with a 41-14 victory over the No. 7 Hurricanes. Can they overtake unbeaten Alabama and Oregon?

Well, Las Vegas got it right (what a shock) and so did the other experts.

Florida State was more than three touchdowns better than Miami, handing the "U" a big fat "L" on Saturday night in Tallahassee.

The final score: 41-14.

Florida State was No. 3 in the Bowl Championship Series standings and Miami was No. 7, but these programs are certainly separated by more than four ranking positions.

The Seminoles improved to 8-0 and got to soak up prime-time glory on a rest weekend for No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Oregon.

The question now is what else Florida State can do if the top teams don't lose.

This wouldn't be a problem if it was next year, because undefeated Florida State would be part of the four-team playoff.

The last year of the BCS, though, allows only two teams to play for the crystal trophy.

An undefeated Alabama is almost a lock to make the title while untarnished Oregon also has the advantage.

Florida State might be the best team in America but could get denied simply because the Atlantic Coast Conference is a much weaker league than the Southeastern and Pac-12.

Here are the troublesome numbers for Florida State down the stretch.

The record of its four remaining ACC opponents is 13-20 while the record of Oregon's four remaining Pac-12 opponents is 23-10.

The good news is Oregon has a tougher path and stands a better chance of losing.

It's hard to imagine a Florida State team this good stumbling against Wake Forest, Syracuse, Idaho or even four-loss Florida.

The Seminoles will then probably likely face Miami again in the ACC title game.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was not perfect Saturday night. He completed 21 of 29 passes for 325 yards but his two first-half interceptions led to Miami touchdowns and kept the Hurricanes within seven points.

Miami's fate depended on scoring off the first possession in the second half. The Hurricanes were forced to punt, though, and that led to the Florida State touchdown that led to an onslaught.

All Florida State can do now is win and hope.

Maybe Louisiana State upsets Alabama next week in Tuscaloosa.

The better chance, though, would be for BCS No. 5 Stanford to upset Oregon on Thursday in Palo Alto.

 

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