NCAA Football Rankings 2012: Why Florida State Deserves to Be No. 2 in Nation

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IISeptember 23, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 15:  E.J. Manuel #3 of the Florida State Seminoles drops back to pass against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during a game at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The No. 4 Florida State Seminoles posted an impressive comeback victory over the No. 10 Clemson Tigers and the win should push Jimbo Fisher’s team up to the No. 2 ranking in the next AP Top 25 poll.

The criteria for picking the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country in any given week should be based on the following hypothetical question: if the season ended today, who should play for the national championship? 

Alabama is one clear choice, and the only other in the nation that came into the season highly ranked, has looked impressive in every game and has beaten one of the top teams in the country is Florida State. 

FSU took flack for opening its 2012 campaign against two FCS schools. But the program was forced into this situation when West Virginia suddenly pulled out of its contract with Florida State, leaving the administration to scramble and find a Week 2 opponent.

The players did exactly what a team deserving of a place in the national championship game should do to FCS schools, and beat Murray State and Savannah State by a combined score of 124-3.

The Seminoles then destroyed Wake Forest 52-0 and Clemson was its first true test of the season. Facing a 28-14 deficit after a trick play from the Tigers at the beginning of the third quarter, FSU received senior leadership from quarterback E.J. Manuel and scored 35 second-half points to win the game 49-37.

Manuel had the best game of his career, completing 27 of his 35 passes for 380 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also added 102 rushing yards on 12 carries.

Running back Chris Thompson ensured that Manuel would not be the only senior who came though with a fantastic performance to help lead the comeback. He ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries and caught eight passes for 79 yards.

With an explosive offense and the veteran leadership to come back and win a game against a top-10 team, the Seminoles proved that they are ready to face any opponent and compete.

The two teams who ranked ahead of Florida State in the Week 4 AP Top 25 poll were No. 2 LSU and No. 3 Oregon.

The Tigers did not convincingly beat unranked Auburn and looked extremely vulnerable against an SEC opponent that had struggled to start the season.

The Ducks dispatched No. 22 Arizona in the manner that a national title contender should, and certainly warrant consideration for the No. 2 spot. However, Arizona is not nearly as difficult an opponent as Clemson, and the Seminoles' signature win gives them a slight edge over the Ducks. 

For this week, the Seminoles’ victory over Clemson has made them the second-best team in the country.