Seminoles end SEC’s streak at top of AP poll
By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer
PASADENA, Calif. — Move over SEC. Florida State is back on top.
Florida State finished No. 1 in the final Associated Press college football poll, ending the Southeastern Conference’s record streak of seven national championships.
The Seminoles received all 60 first-place votes from the media panel after beating Auburn 34-31 in the BCS championship game on Monday night in the Rose Bowl.
Florida State’s third AP national title (1993 and ‘99) ties it for ninth-most with rival Florida and Texas.
The Tigers (12-2) finished second in their extraordinary turnaround season, but for the first time since Texas was No. 1 in 2005, the Southeastern Conference is not on top of the final rankings.
Michigan State was third, followed by South Carolina and Missouri. Oklahoma finished sixth and Alabama was No. 7. So the SEC will have to settle for having four teams in the top seven. The SEC has seven ranked teams overall with No. 14 LSU, No. 18 Texas A&M and No. 24 Vanderbilt.
No. 8 Clemson, Oregon and UCF completed the top 10. UCF has never been ranked higher.
No. 11 Stanford, No. 12 Ohio State and No. 13 Baylor finished outside the top 10 after spending much of the season in the elite group.
No. 15 Louisville was followed by UCLA and Oklahoma State.
Southern California is 19th and Pac-12 rival Arizona State is 20th.
Breaking down the final Associated Press college football poll of the 2013 season:
STATE OF FLORIDA STATE
We better get used to Florida State hanging around the near the top of these rankings.
Coach Jimbo Fisher’s national championship program is built to last — at least for a few years. It’s more difficult than ever to sustain a high level of success in college football, to be a national championship contender season after season.
Remember when Bobby Bowden’s Seminoles went 14 straight seasons finishing in the top five from the late 1980s to the early 2000s? That’s not happening anymore.
Only three teams have finished the last three seasons ranked in the AP top 10: Alabama, South Carolina and Oregon. The Crimson Tide has done it six straight seasons. Oregon’s streak of top-10 finishes is four.
Florida State, which finished 10th in 2012, is lined up to be preseason No. 1 in 2013.
The Seminoles will send plenty of talent to the NFL, including some non-seniors — receiver Kelvin Benjamin and defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan are candidates to leave early. But Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston will be back, along with most of his offensive line. Four senior starters on defense will be gone, including All-America cornerback Lamarcus Joyner, but three of four defensive line starters are sophomores, as is cornerback P.J. Williams. Safety Jalen Ramsey was a freshman All-American.
“So I think this (2014) team will look very, very similar to the one you just saw,” Fisher said Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the Seminoles rallied from 18 points down to beat Auburn in the BCS championship game at the Rose Bowl. Florida State was also voted a unanimous No. 1 in the final AP Top 25 of the 2013 season.
Fisher has the recruiting machine humming Nick Saban-style now. About a month before signing day, Florida State’s current class of commitments is ranked fourth by Rivals.com.
At the end of Bowden’s Hall of Fame tenure at Florida State, the Seminoles lost their way.
Maybe it was all the negative recruiting against the aging Bowden? Maybe the program’s structure had become antiquated? Fisher, using the Saban blueprint he picked up during several years working for the Master, has in four seasons as Florida State’s head coach made the Seminoles elite again.
Oklahoma’s victory against Alabama will produce a buzz around the Sooners that is likely to push them up a few extra spots in the 2014 preseason rankings.
Let’s proceed with caution on two levels. First of all, the Sooners aren’t back, because they have never gone away. Since an 8-5 hiccup in 2009, the Sooners are 43-7.
On the other hand, bowl momentum can be overrated. Will beating Alabama really reboot Bob Stoops’ program?
Final AP Top 25
The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press final college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, final records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and previous ranking:
1. Florida St. (60)14-01,5001
3. Michigan St.13-11,3854
4. South Carolina11-21,2478
12. Ohio St.12-28167
17. Oklahoma St.10-359813
18. Texas A&M9-445920
19. Southern Cal10-4299NR
20. Arizona St.10-425816
21. Notre Dame9-425625
Others receiving votes: Nebraska 107, Fresno St. 54, N. Illinois 22, N. Dakota St. 17, Texas Tech 14, Georgia 13, Iowa 13, Mississippi 10, Kansas St. 8, Arizona 5, Navy 3, East Carolina 2, Utah St. 2, Mississippi St. 1.
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