(Tallahassee Democrat) It took Florida State's football team 13 years, including the last four under head coach Jimbo Fisher, to make its way back to the top of the college football world.
Shortly after noon on Sunday, it became official.
After blowing out rival Florida, 37-7, and watching defending national champion Alabama fall at Auburn on Saturday, the Seminoles moved up one spot to No. 1 in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Sunday evening, they were granted the No. 1 spot in the BCS rankings.
But keeping with the philosophy that has helped them stay focused all season, FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said the Seminoles aren't about to start celebrating just yet. He said his coaches and players don't feel any differently now - as the nation's top-ranked team - than they did earlier in the season.
"No, not one bit," Fisher said during Sunday's ACC Championship Game media teleconference.
As soon as the Seminoles put the finishing touches on their 12-0 regular season this past weekend, their attention immediately moved to Saturday's conference title game against Duke.
Win that game, and the Seminoles will earn an invitation to the BCS national championship game in Pasadena, Calif. Lose it, and the No. 1 national ranking will be short-lived.
"I'm not worried about what we're ranked and what we're doing," Fisher said. "That'll all take care of itself. What we need to focus on is preparing for a great game this week and playing a great game against Duke. Whether you're (number) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, whatever, it has no bearing on what we have to do this week."
FSU, which last sported a No. 1 national ranking in October 2000, received 58 of 60 first-place votes in the AP Top 25, and 58 of 62 first-place votes from the coaches.
The Seminolesalso were the clear-cut No. 1 in the BCS standings, which take into account the coaches' poll, the Harris Poll and several computer rankings. FSU had an average BCS ranking of .995, followed by No. 2 Ohio State (.950) and Auburn (.923).
There will be some debate this week, however, about which team should get to face the Seminoles for the national title, assuming FSU gets past the Blue Devils.
Ohio State is undefeated heading into the Big Ten Championship Game against Michigan State, while Auburn has one loss but knocked off Alabama and has other impressive wins.
"I think Florida State's the best team with flying colors," ESPN analyst David Pollack said during the BCS countdown show Sunday night. "I've thought Florida State was the best team the last several weeks ... the athletes that they have, to go with the level of dominance.
"And I think Auburn's the second-best team."
But ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit said he is convinced Ohio State will hold onto the No. 2 spot as long as it knocks off the Spartans this weekend.
FSU, meanwhile, is favored by 29 points in the ACC title game. And Fisher said a key to their success again will be blocking out the distractions, including this new top ranking.
"Hopefully we can do it one more week until the bowl season starts," he said. "We've been able to focus and do that, 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've just got to worry about preparing and playing, and that's all we tell our guys, and hopefully we can do that at least one more week right here."
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Written by Ira Schoffel, Democrat sports editor