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Monday, October 25, 2010
Don't forget about the Noles

By Heather Dinich

Florida State’s lone loss this season came on the road to an Oklahoma team that was ranked No. 1 in the country in the BCS standings just a week ago.

Not bad.

And yet somehow the Seminoles still seem to be flying under the national radar heading into Thursday night’s game at NC State. Maybe it’s because the Noles came out flat at home against a downtrodden Boston College team on Oct. 16. Maybe it’s because quarterback Christian Ponder has since fallen out of the Heisman conversation and injured a part of his elbow most people can’t find. Regardless, if you’re not paying attention to these Seminoles, it’s time to start, because they’re good enough to run the table.

And yes, Florida is still the final game of the season.

The balance of power has shifted, and Florida State is once again the highest-ranked team in the state and the team to beat in the ACC. It’s happened remarkably quick – in Jimbo Fisher’s first season as a head coach – but with the improvement on defense and veteran experience on offense, there’s no reason Florida State can’t finish the season 11-1 this year.

Had anyone asked Fisher if he would’ve taken that record in his first year, the answer probably would have been a resounding yes. The Noles still have UNC, Clemson and the Gators at home. The only two road trips remaining are on Thursday in Raleigh and on Nov. 20 at Maryland. Florida State has the formula for winning a title this year -- they're running the ball and stopping the run. They've got the No. 13 scoring defense in the country, allowing just 16.14 points per game and FSU leads the nation in sacks.

At this point last year, Florida State was 3-4. Now it's 6-1 and undefeated in conference play. This team is worth watching again.