Florida State is coming off a tough loss to No. 1-ranked Oklahoma.
The game was close, and after a few key injuries, the Seminoles just weren't able to stay in the game against the best team in college football (and yes, it does kill me to say that).
Fortunately, all is not lost for Florida State because, at the end of the day, it is still an exceptional football team.
The rest of the season, though containing a few speed bumps, shouldn't be more than the Seminoles can handle as they try to break their way back into the top 10 teams.
If Florida State is able to come off this loss to Oklahoma with determination and a general ability to not screw up against a couple of completely inferior teams, there is no doubt in my mind it can work itself back into the AP's top five, and better yet the ACC title hunt.
There are, however, certain steps that need to be taken to ensure that outcome for their season.
Finishing the rest of the schedule strong.
The Seminoles lost probably the only real losable game on their schedule. Other than Oklahoma, there aren't any games on Florida State's schedule that should be worrisome to the team or the fans.
The first step to ensuring the Seminoles are able to bounce back from this loss and start on a healthy win streak is to down recently ranked Clemson.
Clemson earned the AP's No. 21 ranking after QB Tajh Boyd led the Tigers in an upset over the defending national champions, Auburn Tigers.
This win marks a three-game win streak for Clemson, but its next two games will be tough as it faces not only a very good Seminoles team, but No. 13 Virginia Tech as well.
These two conference games could be intimidating to Clemson, and with the explosive players FSU has on both sides of the ball, the game will not get any easier.
Regardless of how close this game turns out, it will be the first conference game for both teams and will have a large effect on the outcome of the ACC.
If Floria State can get the ball rolling with a win over Clemson, it should be able to keep the momentum to steamroll over the next five weeks as it plays a group of very winnable games against the weakest of its ACC rivals.
The only two real "bumps" left on FSU's schedule are against a Miami team that has proved to be a bit of a wild card this season and a Florida team that is always ready to upset its in-state rival.
If the Seminoles can win out the rest of a challenging, yet winnable schedule, they should have no problem getting back into the top five in the nation and very possibly win the ACC title.
Keeping a perspective of higher-ranked teams.
After its loss to Oklahoma, FSU fell from its No. 5 ranking down to the No. 11 spot.
When you consider the teams ahead of the Seminoles in the rankings, however, you should notice that many of those teams will drop out of those rankings as the season progresses and they play tougher games—particularly against each other.
One thing the Seminoles have going for them right now is that they have a relatively easy schedule and a pretty decent ranking, even after coming off a loss.
In my mind, the Seminoles shouldn't have a problem winning out the rest of their schedule, which will only allow their rank to improve—just as it did after their first two wins.
Ahead of FSU in the rankings are Wisconsin, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State (among several others). I bring those four teams up because each pair has a game against its respective conference foe.
While Wisconsin and Nebraska play each other in the biggest game of both schools' seasons, Texas A&M and OSU both have to play each other this week, and then follow up the rest of their seasons with conference games against ranked teams, including a game a-piece against the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners.
These teams were just standouts to me; every team in the top 10 has some tough games left on their schedules. I'm not going to sit here and give my predictions for each of them, I'm just saying that most of them have some ball games to lose.
This doesn't mean FSU should get lazy and take its schedule for granted; it means the Seminoles should keep a sense of perspective as they finish out their season strong and understand they are still one of the best teams in the country.
After a tough loss to the Sooners, it's easy for Seminoles fans to lose hope for the season, but because they are still one of the nation's top teams, their ranking will reflect on how good this team really is soon enough.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that Florida State is still one of the best teams in college football. Its determination and sheer skill will take it through the rest of the season with poise. Though the Seminoles weren't able to top Oklahoma, they learned something about their team this past weekend: Their roster has a lot of depth and a lot of heart. This team has a bright future.
Thanks for reading.