TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — For the second year in a row, Jimbo Fisher finds himself defending Florida State’s perfect record as the regular season winds down.
Last November, FSU was on the outside looking in at the top two BCS positions until Oregon lost to Stanford. While No. 3 FSU is currently positioned to make the inaugural College Football Playoff this season, the Seminoles are still drawing criticism for their inability to put teams away.
FSU (11-0) squeaked by middling Boston College 20-17 on Saturday. In what is becoming somewhat of a weekly custom, Fisher was asked in his postgame news conference whether he thought his team would remain in the top four of the playoff rankings.
“Why wouldn’t it? We’re undefeated,” Fisher said. “We’re undefeated. We finish every game. Everybody else in the country has not finished at least one game. We’ve finished every one of them. Isn’t that the object?”
— Jimbo Fisher
“Isn’t that the object?” presumably was a rhetorical question until Fisher reiterated it, expecting an answer from the reporter who asked the initial question.
“Yes, sir,” the reporter eventually answered.
“OK,” Fisher said with a grin and a chuckle.
FSU is the only undefeated Power 5 team remaining, and Fisher wants the country to know it. The No. 3 Seminoles are in the midst of a 27-game win streak that started nearly two years ago. FSU’s last loss came against Florida on Nov. 24, 2012.
During that span, FSU has won a national championship and has frequently been victorious in convincing fashion. The Seminoles set the NCAA record for points in a season last year and had the largest margin of victory for an undefeated team in the modern college football era.
Even during that season of dominance, FSU struggled to break into the national conversation among elite teams until Oregon and Alabama tripped late in the regular season, paving the way for FSU to earn a No. 1 ranking.
“Well, you know, we were downgraded every time we blew someone out last year, so think of the irony of that,” FSU quarterback Jameis Winston said. “If we win the game close, we’re bad. When we blow someone out, we’re bad. But the thing is, we’re a team, we’re a family at Florida State.
“What everyone else thinks about us, that’s none of our business.”
FSU is ranked No.1 in the latest Associated Press poll and No. 2 in the coaches’ top 25 poll released Sunday, but the playoff selection committee has not been impressed with FSU’s narrow victories. The Seminoles were ranked No. 3 by the committee, behind one-loss Alabama and Oregon. The latest playoff rankings will be released Tuesday.
Fisher believes the Seminoles have been discredited for winning ugly.
FSU faces Florida (6-4) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN in what will be UF coach Will Muschamp’s last game. Again, Fisher is bracing for another squad to give the Seminoles its best shot. He has made it clear that he does not care whether FSU wins in sluggish fashion or accumulates style points with a blowout victory, as long as his team keeps winning.
“We’re going into battle. These games are going to be dogfights,” Fisher said. “People are going to try and be the one that knocks us out, knocks us off, got nothing to lose, we’re going to play hard. But again, learning to play in a physical game, learning to play in a tightly low-scored game — all those things — it definitely does [help].
“Every time you’re in those situations, you learn.”