Saturday night saw the Florida State Seminoles thoroughly dominate the third-ranked Clemson Tigers, on the road, taking a 51-14 victory and firm grip of the ACC's Atlantic Division home. While the nation's eyes move to a coming dating with Miami, in Tallahassee, Florida State's team must focus on the NC State Wolfpack.
After dispatching of a Top Five opponent, Jimbo Fisher's Seminoles will get a shot at another quality contest against in-state rival, the Hurricanes of Miami. Folks in the ACC have had fingers crossed for a marquee meeting, and with the 'Canes set to move into the Top 10, this is the game people have been waiting to see.
However, for Florida State to hold up its end of the bargain, the 'Noles have to avoid stumbling against the Wolfpack. Essentially, Fisher's team must avoid its own "Clemsoning" in a trap game, sandwiched between two enormous contests. North Carolina State's not very good, and with the BCS Rankings debuting on Sunday evening, it will be easy for Florida State to look toward the Miami game.
Luckily for Fisher, he need only pop in the DVD of last season's loss in Raleigh, to remind his team that focusing on the task at hand, must remain job one.
Preparation has to be key. Quarterback Jameis Winston, coming off a stellar evening against the Tigers, must get back into the film room to decipher Wolfpack defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable's defense. That prep work is critical for the redshirt freshman to continue his amazing run in critical situations, as ESPN's David Hale points out:
Winston last drive of 1st half/1st drive of 2nd half this year: 32-of-42 (76%), 598 yards, 8 TDs. (FSU has 10 TD, 2 FG on those drives)— David Hale (@DavidHaleESPN) October 20, 2013
On the defensive side of the ball, Florida State must look to build off this impressive showing.
NC State does not bring the fireworks of the Clemson offense, but with Pack Pride reporting that Brandon Mitchell is set to start for the Wolfpack, there is an element of the unknown going forward. Mitchell, who only played a portion of the season opener before going down to injury, brings more mobility to the quarterback position and opens up the playbook for NC State.
Ultimately, North Carolina State is a team that the Seminoles should beat handily. This is a game that is at home, against an divisional opponent, and that matters when it comes to keeping the dreams of a BCS Championship alive. The nation is going to be watching for Florida State to stumble; it is up to Florida State to avoid falling flat next Saturday at 3:30.
Expect the coach-speak to dial up this week as Fisher looks for a way to dial his team in to the task at hand. The Miami game will be a world away as Florida State, a team that is a legitimate contender for a BCS Championship appearance, prepares to dispose of the Wolfpack.