By KAREEM COPELAND
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — For the first time all season, Florida State controls its own destiny.
The Seminoles are undefeated, ranked second in the Top 25 and the BCS standings, and have earned a berth in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. Florida State will play in its first BCS championship game if it wins its final four games — and will be significant favorites in all of them.
The last time the Seminoles won the national title was in 1999.
“I don’t think about it, I don’t have to. Everybody else tells you,” coach Jimbo Fisher said. “I try to stay in the moment, live in the moment. … I have enough problems with Syracuse right now.”
The Seminoles (9-0, 7-0 ACC) got the help they needed when Oregon lost 26-20 to Stanford on Thursday. It would have been extremely unlikely for Florida State to leapfrog an undefeated Ducks team.
Running back Karlos Williams was quick to follow his coach and say the team doesn’t pay attention to the hoopla surrounding the constantly fluctuating polls. Fisher has termed conversations about all the what-if scenarios “clutter” and outside distractions.
Alabama and Oregon are clutter. The BCS standings are clutter. The ACC championship is clutter.
Fisher and the Seminoles say all that matters is Syracuse(5-4, 3-2) on Saturday.
Williams, however, admitted he has alerts set on his phone.
“I’ve got the college football app, the ESPN app, of course,” Williams said. “By the time it happens, it pops on my phone. BCS standings came on. I was up here for study hall and went home. By the time I walked in the back door, my girlfriend’s watching it and my son’s looking at the TV.
“It’s something that you always look at and pay attention to. It definitely feels good to be No. 2. It feels good to be back up there where you’re used to seeing that Seminole head.”
Williams explained that the standings and rankings means something, but he has to keep those thoughts in the back of his mind.
Safety Terrence Brooks simply said, “You win all your games, you should be in a good position. That’s really what I’m focused on.”
Alabama opened the season ranked No. 1 and won’t move without a loss. The Crimson Tide finish the season with Mississippi State, Chattanooga and No. 7 Auburn. They would face the Eastern division champion, likely a Top 25 opponent, in the Southeastern Conference championship.
That leaves No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Baylor as the other two undefeated programs with a chance to play in Pasadena on Jan. 6. The Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0) close with Illinois, Indiana and Michigan and should go into the Big Ten title game without a loss. Those three have a combined record of 13-14. Ohio State may not play another ranked team before a bowl game.
The Bears (8-0, 5-0) have the toughest remaining schedule of the three with Texas Tech, No. 12 Oklahoma State, TCU and No. 23 Texas, but probably needs losses from two of the top three to reach the championship game.
Fisher has been able to keep his team focused on the moment in high-profile games against No. 8 Clemson and No. 24 Miami. The Gators (4-5, 3-4) will command that kind of national attention as an intra-state rival from the SEC, despite their losing record.
In the end, Florida State has the easiest path to the BCS championship game with three regular-season games remaining against teams with a combined 10-18 record. The Seminoles would be crowned ACC champions for a second consecutive season with a win against the Coastal Division representative on Dec. 7 in Charlotte.
Fisher has already been asked to compare the 2013 team to the 1993 champion Seminoles.
“I don’t ever reflect on a team till the season’s over and it’s written and it does what it does,” Fisher said. “We’ve got a lot of work between now and then.”