Florida State No. 1 atop final AP poll after winning BCS championship

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PASADENA, Calif. — Move over Southeastern Conference, Florida State is back on top.

Florida State's Jameis Winston celebrates with the Coaches' Trophy. He was the offensive MVP in the Seminoles' victory.  GREGORY BULL/ASSOCIATED PRESS
GREGORY BULL/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Florida State's Jameis Winston celebrates with the Coaches' Trophy. He was the offensive MVP in the Seminoles' victory.

The Seminoles finished No. 1 in the final Associated Press college football poll, ending the Southeastern Conference's record streak of seven national championships.

The Seminoles received all 60 first-place votes from the media panel after beating Auburn 34-31 in the BCS championship game on Monday night in the Rose Bowl.

Florida State's third AP national title (1993 and '99) ties it for ninth-most with rival Florida and Texas.

The Tigers (12-2) finished second in their extraordinary turnaround season, but for the first time since Texas in 2005, the Southeastern Conference is not on top of the final rankings.

Michigan State was third, followed by South Carolina and Missouri. Oklahoma finished sixth, Alabama was seventh.

So the SEC will have to settle for having four teams in the top seven. The SEC has seven ranked teams overall with No. 14 Louisiana State, No. 18 Texas A&M and No. 24 Vanderbilt.

No. 8 Clemson, Oregon and Central Florida finished out the top 10.

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said winning the national championship was the culmination of a four-year process that began when he replaced Bobby Bowden as the head of the program in 2010. The next challenge is to sustain that success.

Fisher now finds himself in Bowden’s old shoes where titles will be expected from a passionate fan base.

“You’ve got to go back to ground zero and you can’t worry about expectations,” Fisher said Tuesday. “That’s the thing, once expectations get so high, is to not let complacency set in.”

“It’s human nature, you take winning for granted. You take success for granted,” he said.

A quick glance at the roster shows why Florida State (14-0) will enter 2014 as the favorite.

The Seminoles return Heisman quarterback Jameis Winston for his sophomore season and lose just three senior offensive starters. Florida State must replace four senior defensive starters and Fisher said he thinks there are up to three underclassmen who have decisions to make about a possible move to the NFL.

“The future is bright,” freshman cornerback Jalen Ramsey said. “We know what it takes now. We know how it feels. We want to make this thing a dynasty. Florida State is back to where it should always be.”

That senior class was Fisher’s first as head coach and was the cornerstone of the new foundation.

The 2011 class, however, was widely considered the No. 1 recruiting class in the country and one of the best in school history. Then there’s the 2012 class that includes Winston, another handful of starters and more young talent that had to wait their turn.

This was not an old team that will need to replace starters all over the field.

“I don’t care how talented you are,” Fisher maintained. “This team has to go back, get its own identity, get its own leadership and develop that, and that’s going to be our challenge now. It’s how hungry can you stay to be able to do it over and over again, and that’s going to be the challenge and our mindset and that’s going to be my temperament going in, to be able to set that stage so we can do that and stay on top and be very competitive at the top.

“That’s our nature as humans, it’s not too grind, it’s not to push. That’s why there is only one champion at the end,” he said.

Fisher did get a chance to savor the moment late after the game, surrounded by friends and family in his hotel room. He sat half asleep in a chair, exhausted, and nursed a pulled hamstring he sustained running down the sideline and chasing an official after Auburn wasn’t called for a horse collar tackle at the end of a catch-and-run by Rashad Green late in the game.

“You feel like you want to sleep for about a week after these seasons,” Fisher said. “We’ll get back tomorrow and give the staff a day or so and then we’ll get back recruiting and we got to get going.

“It’s time for another one,” he said.

Twenty years after Florida State won its first national championship under Bowden, the Seminoles won the third in school history with his successor. The Seminoles broke a string of seven consecutive national champions from the SEC.

Now Fisher and Bowden both have an undefeated season on their resumes.

“It’s kind of fitting to me,” Fisher said. “It was Miami and Florida State every year. They had the teams. They were in it, the Nebraskas, the Oklahomas. The SEC couldn’t get in it. But I think it’s very fitting that Florida State come full circle back and like I say, maybe we don’t play in the SEC but we play in the South and we’ve got good football.”

“It’s like the reckoning. Things are getting back in order again,” he said.

GAMECOCKS FINISH FOURTH

South Carolina was ranked fourth in the final polls by The Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches, marking the best postseason ranking in school history.

Clemson was ranked seventh by the coaches and eighth by AP. The No. 7 ranking is the highest finish for the Tigers since 1981, when they were ranked No. 1 by both wire service polls.

It is the third consecutive year the Gamecocks finished in the top 10.

“We are very appreciative and thankful for being the highest–ranked team in school history and hope to do better next year,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said.

– From staff reports

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rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 01/08/14 - 06:06 pm
0
0
I'll take
Unpublished

a Spurrier over a Fisher any day of the week. Florida State has plum recruiting while the Gamecocks have to scratch and claw for every recruit.

el tejon
2
Points
el tejon 01/08/14 - 09:33 pm
0
0
USC ranking

Is this legitimate? 8th ranked South Carolina beats 19th ranked
Wisconsin by 10 points and ends the season ranked number 4--
come on guys --don't tell me... this is one of those tests using
some kind of "new math" that is graded on the curve. We all
knew that "the old ball coach" was pretty crafty but explaining
this has got to be PRICELESS!!!

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