- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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After Florida State pummeled Clemson on Saturday night, Seminoles fans stormed the field to celebrate the program’s most validating win in years.
It felt like old times for a program that began the BCS era atop the college football pyramid and since has been striving to get back to the apex.
If this season's initial BCS standings are any indication, Florida State could be partying like it's 1999.
The Clemson clobbering turned out to be just the start of a banner weekend for Florida State, which is ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings released Sunday night. Although Oregon is ranked No. 2 in both human polls, Florida State gains the edge thanks to its superb computer numbers. Jimbo Fisher’s team is No. 1 in three of the six computer ratings systems and No. 2 in two others.
Although Florida State isn’t ahead of Oregon by much, the Seminoles’ computer numbers make them a serious contender to reach the national championship game. Florida State is the only ACC team to do so, appearing in the first three designated title games and winning the championship following the 1999 season.
Oregon shouldn’t be too alarmed by the initial standings, especially if Florida State has its seemingly annual inexplicable stumble. The Ducks can boost their résumé in the next two games against No. 12 UCLA and No. 6 Stanford.
Then again, Florida State hosts No. 7 Miami on Nov. 2 and has a favorable closing stretch as in-state rival Florida doesn’t even appear in the BCS standings. Florida State could face another top-15 opponent in the ACC championship game if Virginia Tech, which is ranked No. 14, continues to win. And the Seminoles immediately become Clemson fans as the No. 9 Tigers rank second among one-loss teams behind No. 6 Stanford.
The ACC’s struggles in BCS games are well documented, but the league has to be pleased with Sunday’s standings, which feature three teams in the top 10, more than any other league.
The SEC emerged from Saturday’s rubble with two of the top five teams in the standings (No. 1 Alabama and No. 5 Missouri) but some degree of uncertainty if both lose before the final rundown is revealed Dec. 8. If ACC, Pac-12, Big Ten and Big 12 teams run the table, would a one-loss SEC champion -- Alabama as seemingly the only realistic candidate -- leapfrog teams because of the league’s streak of crystal footballs? The Crimson Tide have nothing to worry about if they continue to win, but a late-season loss could bump them down a few spots.
Ohio State didn’t expect a top-two position in the initial standings, but the team with the nation’s longest win streak (19) has to feel a bit blue about being a distant No. 4. The Big Ten’s recent woes and a nonconference schedule without any true tests don’t help Urban Meyer’s crew, which will need a lot of help the rest of the way.
At least the Buckeyes don’t play in the Big 12. Undefeated Baylor checks in at No. 8, behind one-loss Stanford, while Texas Tech finds itself behind two one-loss teams at No. 10. Bet Bob Bowlsby wishes the playoff were here a year earlier.
Louisville would have been a storyline in the initial standings, but the Cardinals’ loss Friday night to Central Florida knocked them to No. 20. A poor computer profile -- in the top 25 of only one system -- likely would have doomed Louisville either way.
Northern Illinois crashed the BCS party last year, and the unbeaten Huskies check in at No. 18, a spot behind fellow unbeaten Fresno State. NIU has a surprisingly strong computer profile (No. 13), but the weak Mid-American Conference harms its hopes. Fresno State, meanwhile, should get a lift from the Mountain West.
They’re still celebrating Sunday night in Tallahassee, but for how long? The standings likely won’t look the same in two or three weeks, but if Jameis Winston and his teammates play to their talent level -- not always an easy task for Florida State -- they could be playing for a crystal football.
1dMax Olson and Jake Trotter