Sunday, April 22, 2018
Colleges

FSU No. 1, vows to keep same approach

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State was voted No. 1 Sunday for the first time since Oct. 1, 2000, and is also the top team in the BCS standings. The Seminoles are heavily favored against Duke in Saturday's ACC Championship Game and are 60 minutes from a berth in the BCS title game.

Coach Jimbo Fisher benefited from a team with the ability to ignore outside distractions and focus on the immediate task each week. The team said it will stick to a script that has worked for 12 games, the most recent coming in Saturday's rout at Florida.

Does anything change now with a No. 1 ranking? "Not one bit," Fisher said Sunday.

There hasn't been a change to the status of Heisman Trophy candidate Jameis Winston, either. The redshirt freshman quarterback is the focus of an ongoing sexual assault investigation. There is no timetable for deciding if Winston will be charged.

"It hasn't altered (preparation) in any way," Fisher said. "Our team is not insulated from it. We deal with it. We address those issues. We control what we can control, and that's how we prepare and how we play."

The last state team ranked No. 1 was Florida, before it lost to Alabama in the 2009 SEC title game.

FSU climbed from a No. 11 preseason ranking, chasing other teams all season. Clemson was the preseason ACC favorite and ranked No. 3 when FSU beat the Tigers 51-14 on Oct. 19.

FSU moved up again when then-No. 2 Oregon lost to Stanford five days after the Seminoles beat Miami 41-14.

The final piece to becoming No. 1 was when two-time defending champion Alabama lost to Auburn on Saturday.

The Seminoles are outscoring opponents by 42.7 points per game, tops in the nation. None of their games has been close late. Only two were competitive for a half.

"Hopefully we can do it one more week until the bowl season starts," Fisher said. "We've been able to focus and do that and not pay attention to the outside things and worry about anything.

"We can't worry about where we're ranked and what goes on. We just have to worry about preparing and playing."

Duke moved up four spots to No. 20 in the AP poll after clinching the ACC Coastal Division.

The Blue Devils (10-2) haven't played the toughest schedule. They missed FSU and Clemson from the Atlantic Division in the regular season. They are seventh in the league in both yards per play offensively and defensively.

"We're not just fortunate," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. "We're a good football team."

'Noles lineman honored: FSU redshirt junior tackle Cameron Erving was named the ACC's top blocker in voting by coaches and defensive coordinators. Past FSU winners: Clay Shiver, 1994 and '95; Tra Thomas, '97; Tarlos Thomas, 2000; Brett Williams, 2002; and Rodney Hudson, 2009 and 2010.

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