Florida State helps cause with Miami rout, but will need more

Well, Las Vegas got it right (what a shock) and so did the other experts.

Florida State was more than three touchdowns better than Miami, handing the "U" a big fat "L" on Saturday night in Tallahassee.

The final score: 41-14.

Florida State was No. 3 in the Bowl Championship Series standings and Miami was No. 7, but these programs are certainly separated by more than four ranking positions.

The Seminoles improved to 8-0 and got to soak up prime-time glory on a rest weekend for No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Oregon.

The question now is what else Florida State can do if the top teams don't lose.

This wouldn't be a problem if it was next year, because undefeated Florida State would be part of the four-team playoff.

The last year of the BCS, though, allows only two teams to play for the crystal trophy.

An undefeated Alabama is almost a lock to make the title while untarnished Oregon also has the advantage.

Florida State might be the best team in America but could get denied simply because the Atlantic Coast Conference is a much weaker league than the Southeastern and Pac-12.

Here are the troublesome numbers for Florida State down the stretch.

The record of its four remaining ACC opponents is 13-20 while the record of Oregon's four remaining Pac-12 opponents is 23-10.

The good news is Oregon has a tougher path and stands a better chance of losing.

It's hard to imagine a Florida State team this good stumbling against Wake Forest, Syracuse, Idaho or even four-loss Florida.

The Seminoles will then probably likely face Miami again in the ACC title game.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was not perfect Saturday night. He completed 21 of 29 passes for 325 yards but his two first-half interceptions led to Miami touchdowns and kept the Hurricanes within seven points.

Miami's fate depended on scoring off the first possession in the second half. The Hurricanes were forced to punt, though, and that led to the Florida State touchdown that led to an onslaught.

All Florida State can do now is win and hope.

Maybe Louisiana State upsets Alabama next week in Tuscaloosa.

The better chance, though, would be for BCS No. 5 Stanford to upset Oregon on Thursday in Palo Alto.

It's time for Tallahassee to root for the Trees.

Southern Mess

Everything's gone to Hades in Hattiesburg, where the university Brett Favre made famous is stuck in the mud. Marshall dealt Southern Mississippi its 20th consecutive defeat Saturday with a 63-19 win in Huntington, W.Va.

The losing streak is the longest in major college play since the Temple Owls lost 20 in a row in 2004-05.

Southern Miss recorded its last victory on Christmas Eve 2011, a 24-17 win over Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl.

That win capped a 12-2 season in which Southern Miss also shocked No. 7 Houston in the Conference USA title game.

The program quickly went Deep South, though, when coach Larry Fedora left for North Carolina and was replaced by Ellis Johnson. He was fired after going 0-12 last year and was replaced by former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who is 0-8.

Most of the losses this year have been blowouts, although Southern Miss let a chance to beat Florida International slip away when a potential game-winning field goal was deflected and fell short.

Southern Miss might have a chance to end the streak next week when the Golden Eagles play at Louisiana Tech.

Southern Miss is not close to threatening Northwestern's major college record of 34 straight defeats from 1979-82.

Urban renewal

It really is amazing. Urban Meyer improved his coaching record at Ohio State to 21-0 with Saturday's 56-0 win against Purdue.

Since 2003, Meyer is 33-0 at Utah and Ohio State without winning a national title. Meyer's 2004 Utah team finished 12-0 with a Fiesta Bowl win. The Utes ended up No. 6 in the BCS standings in a year undefeated USC and Oklahoma played for the title and undefeated Auburn got left out.

Meyer won two national titles at Florida, however, in 2006 and 2008 with the Gators losing one game each year.

In 2006, Florida lost at Auburn, 27-17, and in 2008 the Gators lost at home to Mississippi.

Hokie headache

Schools entering the weekend looking to use Virginia Tech to bolster their BCS arguments need to move on.

The Hokies dropped to 6-3 after their second consecutive defeat against an unranked opponent.

Virginia Tech lost at Boston College on Saturday, a week after losing to ... Duke?

Only two weeks ago, Virginia Tech was 6-1 and No. 14 in the BCS standings.

Alabama defeated Virginia Tech in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend and proudly pointed to that quality nonconference win on a schedule that also included Georgia State, Colorado State and Chattanooga.

Florida State could get hurt by Virginia Tech's fade pattern.

The Seminoles miss Virginia Tech on the regular season schedule but were hoping to beat the highly ranked Hokies in the ACC title game.

Air/Ground Jordan

Can we give this guy a three-game Heisman, maybe a scaled-down miniature of the bust?

Or at least call him "Mr. Late October/Early November."

It's hard to imagine a player having a better three-game stretch than quarterback Jordan Lynch, who led Northern Illinois (9-0) to a 63-19 win over Massachusetts.

In wins over Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Massachusetts, Lynch has accounted for 15 total touchdowns.

He has rushed for 537 yards and eight touchdowns, passed for 538 yards and six touchdowns and also has a touchdown reception.

Lynch led Northern Illinois to a BCS bid last year, the Huskies losing to Florida State in the Orange Bowl, but he hasn't garnered much Heisman attention.

Maybe it's because voters don't know what position he plays. Three weeks ago, he set the major college rushing record for quarterbacks with 319 yards against Central Michigan.

"I'm a quarterback first, that's my initial job when I am on the field," the fifth-year senior said after Saturday's win. "If I see an open receiver downfield I will make the pass rather than tuck the ball and go for the run. ... If I do not think I will complete the pass, and see a hole, I'll take the yards on the ground."


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