Could the 2013 Florida State Seminoles go down as the most dominant team in the BCS era?
"Could," of course, is the operative word here, because the Seminoles have some heavy lifting to do. This team takes on the No. 20 Duke Blue Devils in Charlotte to lock up a BCS National Championship Game berth. Then, with a 13-0 record, Florida State would of course have to win in Pasadena to be in the same clubhouse and conversations as the other all-time greats.
There have been nine undefeated BCS champions, and teams like the 2002 Miami Hurricanes and 2005 USC Trojans just missed out on being back-to-back champions by losing close title games. Dominance starts with going unblemished. Truly dominant teams don't stall in big moments. Truly dominant teams show up every Saturday and finish the drill.
|Undefeated BCS Champions|
|Year||Team||Points For||Points Against||Margin of Victory||Wins by 8 points or fewer||Ranked Opponents|
Currently, the Seminoles have both the highest points-for average and the highest average margin of victory among those nine champions. Jimbo Fisher's team, however, also is tied with USC for the least amount of opponents ranked when played, although the 'Noles will run that total to five in the final two games, putting them right in line with the other champions.
Another interesting note is the zero games won by eight or fewer points. Only the 2001 Miami Hurricanes, with the 26-24 victory over Virginia Tech notwithstanding, came close in that regard. The Seminoles—with an average margin of victory at 42.7 points—are in good shape to be near the top of the heap. At worst, with tight wins in the next two contests, they would be tied with the other three teams that played two games decided by eight points or less.
It is an interesting conversation to have, and clearly the forecast looks positive for the Seminoles heading into the ACC Championship Game. Fisher's team is expected to get past Duke, but the next step is one that many teams have had trouble clearing. During the BCS era, eight other undefeated teams have reached the finale only to end up in the loss column.
|Previously Undefeated BCS Championship Game Losers|
|Year||Team||Average Points For||Average Points Against||Margin of Victory||Ranked Opponents|
Should the Seminoles avoid that fate, they certainly would stand to hold the crown as the most dominant team of the BCS era. Folks will make strength-of-schedule arguments. The problem is, outside of LSU's murderers' row of nine ranked teams in 2011, Florida State falls right into the normal range.
And for those wondering, Ohio State would be at four opponents ranked at the time should the Buckeyes beat the Seminoles.
This Florida State team is charging at history. The numbers are there, the performance on the field matches up, and it is up to the team to finish the drill. The most intriguing element of this squad is not the numbers that jump off the page, but rather the focus with which this team approaches each challenge. The Seminoles check off boxes and have eyes focused on the goal, and it has been intriguing to watch.
It is that focus that is the most critical for Florida State to avoid the fate of the 2003 Oklahoma Sooners, who lost in the Big 12 title game with everything on its racket and then was handled by LSU in the Sugar Bowl. It is that focus that makes Florida State's run at history so intriguing to watch.
And it is that focus that will be on display Saturday night in Charlotte.