TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — No one around the Florida State football team wants to call Saturday’s game against No. 5 Notre Dame a must-win.
Reality could tell a different story.
The No. 2 Seminoles last week dropped from the top of the rankings for the first time since Dec. 1, 2013, despite a 6-0 record. Florida State simply hasn’t been as dominant as during its 2013 title run. Mississippi State passed the Seminoles in the poll with a victory over then-No. 2 Auburn.
An undefeated FSU team should be a lock for the College Football Playoff. That, however, could change drastically with a loss to Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are the last ranked team on Florida State’s schedule — the last chance to make a significant impression on the selection committee.
“I’m sure if Florida State lost this game, the immediate reaction after would be, well, they’re done,” said Danny Kannell, former FSU quarterback and ESPN analyst. “Because they play in the ACC, which is one of the weaker conferences in college football, because the remaining schedule, there aren’t too many tests where they can make a statement down the road as it looks now.”
Notre Dame has those opportunities upcoming against No. 17 Arizona State and No. 22 Southern California. The other undefeated teams in the top five — No. 1 Mississippi State, No. 3 Ole Miss and No. 4 Baylor — all have at least two more ranked teams to play. The Rebels and Bears have three.
“Anytime you play a high-ranked opponent you want to be successful because it gives you tons of credibility,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “There’s no doubt about it. We don’t look at it as an end-all game. It’s a very important game.”
Winston meets FSU deadline
Quarterback Jameis Winston complied with the first deadline in Florida State’s code of conduct hearing process, the adviser for the Winston family said Friday.
Lawyer David Cornwell said Winston will cooperate with the procedure but will not “waive of our right to challenge any aspect of this process.”
Winston is facing a hearing to determine whether four sections of the code of conduct have been violated: two for sexual misconduct and two for endangerment. A former female student said he sexually assaulted her in December 2012.
Winston was required to strike one of three former Florida Supreme Court Justices from a list that will produce the hearing official. He also had to give possible dates for an information session that will precede the formal hearing.
Winston was not arrested in relation to the sexual assault allegations.